2015 Medcomms Coastal Race Report

2015 Medcomms Coastal Race Report

An attractive scene was to be enjoyed at Marsamxett Harbour last Saturday morning when boats taking part in the Royal Malta Yacht Club’s first race for 2015 hoisted their spinnakers for what was described as an almost perfect race due to the relatively constant wind.

Starting in Marsamxett Harbour, fourteen boats racing in three different classes sailed towards the Valletta Harbour Fairway Buoy heading towards the tuna pens situated off St. Paul’s Bay and sailing towards and around the Island of Comino and heading back to the Tuna Pens and the Valletta Fairway Buoy before finishing off in Marsamxett Harbour.   

“We are very pleased that the, well attended, first race of the year took place in excellent weather especially since we had some challenging weather conditions in the last races of 2014.”  said Godwin Zammit, Royal Malta Yacht Club Commodore. “Naturally we are grateful towards Medcomms Malta who have been supporting the Club for a number of years”.

Participating boats were split into three classes – IRC Racer 1 Class, IRC Racer 2 Class and IRC Cruiser Class.  Whilst weather conditions were generally good, a few boats broached on the downwind leg and although no serious damage was reported, four boats were forced to retire from the race.

IRC Racer 1 Class

First Place

Elusive BOV

Arthur Podesta

Second Place


Jonathan Gambin/Matthew Scicluna


Overall and IRC Racer 1 Class Winners, members of the crew sailing on Elusive BOV commented about their first race of 2015 which saw them battle it out against a good number of seasoned competitors. 

With a reasonable good wind varying between 14 -22 knots, it was upwind all the way to Comino with a lot of tacking up along the coast of Malta. Wind was fluky which meant that it was changing directions varying approximately 20 degrees.  Most boats took advantage of the wind shifts. Tacking away from the coast meant that boats experienced higher waves which tend to slow the boats a bit down so many opted to stay close to land, tackling smaller waves.   However higher waves were inevitable upon reaching the St. Paul’s Bay fish farms. Spinnakers were once again hoisted close to the Cominotto Cardinal Buoy and kept up all the way down to the Fairway Buoy, where it was a close reach to the finish.


IRC Racer 2 Class  

First Place


Alfie Manduca/Matthew Farrugia

Second Place


Ray Schembri

Third Place

Time Out

Mario Sant


Matthew Farrugia, skipper of Lightning and winner of the IRC Racer 2 Class commented that conditions for Saturday’s race were almost perfect – sunny, not too cold, a strong breeze, and manageable waves. The wind was a little unsettled at the start, but once the crew rounded the Fairway buoy and started heading to Comino, the breeze steadied out at 15 to 18 knots. The crew sailed close to shore on the northbound leg, to take advantage of the wind-shifts and gusts coming out of the valleys, and to avoid the offshore current. As the crew rounded Comino, the wind began increasing slightly but by the time Ahrax point, off Mellieha, was reached the wind had increased to 20 – 22 knots. An exhilarating run down to the finish, surfing down the waves and regularly reaching speeds in excess of 12 knots saw Lightning and its crew securing first place in their Class.


IRC Cruiser Class  

First Place


Sean Borg

Second Place


Chris Selvagi

Third Place


Sandro Musu’


For young Sean Borg, Xplane’s experienced skipper and winner for the IRC Cruiser Class racing is all about fun.  The crew, made up of a group of friends, were in super party mode with music blaring throughout the race and a few practical jokes thrown in for good measure.  Starting off in a bit of a light patch, this changed a few metres away from the Fairway Buoy.  A constant upwind towards Comino enabled the crew to gather speed. When overtaken by two faster boats, the team decided to go for a big, 180 sqm A sail in the superfast downwind conditions. With wind speeds over 30 knots at points in time, boat speed was solid over 10 knots. Reaching a maximum speed of 12.9 knots, this was an extremely fast speed for a boat that weighs 14 tonnes.  Safety being a priority the team decided to put the kite down 5 minutes before rounding the Fairway Buoy, losing the team a few minutes, however this tactic was something all boats had to carry out, which enabled the Xplane Crew to keep the strong lead.  Borg thanked his team, with a special mention going to Chris Fenech for hanging on the rope outside the boat while solving a problem on the A Sail in windy conditions.

The 2015 Medcomms Coastal Race Prize Giving ceremony was held at the Royal Malta Yacht Club. Commodore Godwin Zammit congratulated the winners and together with Mark Gaglione, Medcomms Malta representative, distributed prizes to the winners in the three classes.

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