There was eager anticipation for the commencement of the 2023/2024 Malta SB20 Seajet Malta National Sailing League, which was part of the programme hosted by the Royal Malta Yacht Club’s recently held Dinghy Regatta weekend.
The end of the 2022/2023 Sailing league had not been without action and drama. Careful Now, which suffered a dramatic mast failure in June, made a return to the water with a brand-new rig. Meanwhile, the Maltese Musketeer has changed hands and is now helmed by Ramon Sant Hill, Additionally, experienced skipper Jan Rossi has acquired his own SB20 and will be entering the upcoming series of races.
The SB20 Malta fleet had long been waiting in anticipation for the start of the league, however Mother Nature threw a series of curveballs going back to early October when races had to be cancelled due to a lack of wind and subsequently the November races suffered the opposite fate causing races to be cancelled on the first day due to strong winds.
The fleet’s patience was finally rewarded on the Sunday when the fleet was met with ideal conditions for SB20 racing. To make up for the lost time, the fleet had an early start, enabling them to host four races.
After a prolonged summer break, uncertainty loomed regarding each team’s form. Sayonara Baby, the boat that displayed the most improvement at the end of the last season, carried their winning streak into the new season by securing first place in the opening race. The second race showcased the prowess of the three boats favouring the starboard side of the upwind leg, as they carved out a substantial lead over the rest of the fleet. MYSC, Maltese Musketeer, and Careful Now engaged in a fierce battle over the remaining legs, with MYSC ultimately emerging victorious.
Timo Bonnici, who had strategically added Sebastian Ripard to his already adept crew, demonstrated the benefits of experience as the wind softened for the final two races, and they were unbeaten for the remainder of the day. As the wind dropped, the scales tipped in favour of the lighter crews, best exemplified by the all-lady crew on Team Panda, skippered by Gabriella Mifsud. They performed exceptionally well in the last two races, pushing MYSC all the way and clinching second place both times.
“Amidst close calls, protests, and heated competition, the spirit of camaraderie within the fleet shone brightly. Kudos go to all the competitors who made the first day of racing an exhilarating and enjoyable affair. As the SB20 Malta Association gears up to host the European Championships in 2024, the winds of change are blowing, and it’s evident that the journey toward the European Championship is gaining momentum.” remarked Steve Carter, President SB20 Malta Association. “In the world of SB20 sailing, every race is a chapter in an epic adventure, and as the season unfolds, we eagerly await the next thrilling instalment.” He concluded
The Malta SB20 Association extends its heartfelt thanks to the RMYC for the invitation to participate in the RMYC Dinghy Regatta. Special appreciation goes out to Martin Azzopardi, Steve Carter, Paul Masters, and the invaluable on-water team who made this event possible. Finally, the Association acknowledged the generous support of Seajet, brought to you by Dockshop, for supporting the 2023/2024 league.
SB20 Seajet Malta National Sailing League Day 1 Results
1st – MYSC (Timo Bonnici)
2nd – Sayonara Baby (Craig Farrugia Vella)
3rd – Team Panda (Gabriella Mifsud)