Elusive 2 concluded their 2023 racing season with a thrilling and successful finale at the Medcomms Round Malta Race. Their victory in a dramatic finish, surpassing Artie III by just one minute eleven seconds, after time correction, heightened the excitement of the event.
The race attracted a substantial turnout, featuring one of the largest fleets ever, evenly split between Cruisers and Racers. This turnout follows the recent trend which saw increased participation in races hosted by the Club.
Under the guidance of Race Officer Martin Azzopardi, the fleet was given a southbound course, taking the fleet towards Munxar and Bengħajsa Cardinal Marks after having passed the Fairway Buoy.
First to exit Marsamxett harbour on the 45 nautical mile course was the IRC Racing fleet. Taking the lead was Lee Satariano’s Artie III, who gained a considerable advantage over the rest. Trailing behind the HH42 were Sean Borg’s Jubatus, the Podesta siblings’ Elusive 2 and Jonathan Gambin’s Ton Ton Laferla.
The race encountered unpredictable conditions, as the fleet commenced under gusts ranging from 15 to 20 knots. As the boats approached the southern section of the island, the wind subsided to a mere 7 knots. Progressing towards the west coast, the sea became tumultuous, marked by confused conditions as waves bounced off the cliffs, creating a swell. Shifting conditions in the South Comino channel presented calm seas and 20-knot winds, culminating in a delightful sailing experience as competitors navigated the final leg to the finish line.
Artie III crossed the finish line first, followed by Elusive 2 and Jubatus. Following time correction, it was the Podesta sibling’s Elusive 2 to pip Artie III for the win. In third place was Jubatus.
“We are thrilled with the outcome of this race. Going back over the past 12 years, our team won ten of these races, which was actually every round malta race we did! – in 2014 we went on another boat and n in 2020 we had to sit it out with a broken boom” explained Maya Podesta, Elusive 2 skipper.
The race welcomed one of the largest cruising fleets in recent years, with a number of new comers joining in. The sortie proved to be another successful race for Kevin Pisani Zammit’s crew on Dimm, who inspite of a halyard failure resulting in the crew not being able use their spinnaker in a downwind leg, were able to keep ahead of the cruising fleet and win their class. In second place was Godwin Zammit’s Inspiration, whilst Ferdinand Grech’s Kon Tiki finished in third place.
Trophies were presented to the winners during a prize giving afternoon at the Royal Malta Yacht Club in the presence of Mark Gaglione, Medcomms representative.
Rear Commodore (Sailing) Adrian Gauci Borda remarked, “The conclusion of this race marked a fitting end to an exceptionally good year of sailing for the Club. The revitalized energy at our starting lines has filled us with great enthusiasm as we look forward to 2024.”