InternationalYacht Paint Marzamemi Weekend – not all about racing
The Marzamemi Weekend is one of the most anticipatedweekends on the Royal Malta Yacht Club calendar – not only because it is thefirst offshore race of the season and thus attracts a large number of participantsbut also because Marzamemi is one of Sicily's prettiest seaside villagessituated on a little promontory and organised around the extremely picturesquePiazza Regina Margherita.
Early on Friday morning, thirty three boats in fourdifferent race Classes – IRC Cruisers, Racer 1, Racer 2 and RMYC Cruisers, setoff on the 60 nautical mile course in light but testing wind conditions, resultingin quite a few retiring boats along the way.
For Anton Calleja, skipper of Lartista, claiming overallvictory and a first in Class, was not just about winning but also a trip downmemory lane. “This was of course, not my first Marzamemi experience anddefinitely not my first victory. I always look forward to this race, but I cansay that this year's was somewhat special, because I managed to get on board Lartistathe same crew members I used to sail with, when I started participating in theRMYC races several years ago on my former Boat "Spirit of the Winds".Placing first in my class and winning overall was definitely a greatsatisfaction for me and my crew.I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organisers, thesponsors and all the participants who congratulated us”.
Otra Vez, skippered by Edward Gatt Floridia and hisrelatively novice crew secured Line Honours being the first boat to reachMarzamemi after approximately eight hours of sailing. Otra Vez also secured firstplace in the IRC Racer 1 Class. Gatt Floridia, who returned to the MarzamemiRegatta after an absence of five years, and his crew enthused about theirexperience. “Whilst wind conditions for the race up were far from perfect,night life in Marzamemi has gone up a few notches since we were last there, andthe rowing regatta was tough but great fun. All in all a fantasticweekend and we are already looking forward to the next edition”. Secondto cross the finish line in the class was Jamie Sammut’s Unica followed closelyby Sonke Stein on Oiltanking.
In the IRC Racer 2 Class Windriven, skippered by PerSahlberg crossed the finish line first. Second place went to Time Out skipperedby Mario Sant and third place when to Nauti Boy skippered by Robert Ciantar,who chose the Marzamemi Race purposely for his return to racing. “The race upto Marzamemi was characterized by a gentle westerly breeze which enabled us toreach modest speeds slightly in excess of 7 knots and at times speeds as low as2knots. The last leg, round capo Passero to Marzamemi, presented us withthe usual beat of a much stronger breeze. The Sunday race back to Malta sawcrews left with no option but to retire and motor back due to the lack of wind”.
In the IRC Cruisers Class Anton Calleja took first place onLartista, followed by Mark Vassallo on his First 40.7, Fast Forward. Ian Pace and his crew on Mawimba secured thirdplace. Vassallo commented on the race “We had a great race up andalthough light winds prevailed there were a few interesting tactical calls tobe made. Managing 15 to 18 knots on our port beam at Capo Passero made fora fast reach to the finish. Once tied in Marzamemi, as usual, the hostingclub looked after us very well. It was a pity that on Sunday, on the raceback, the wind completely shut down with the leading pack about 45 miles fromMalta.”
Reaching Marzamemi approximately eleven hours after thestart was a case of pure determination and perseverance for Mario Debono andhis crew on Janissah. The crew chose not to retire and were the only boat tofinish in the RMYC Cruisers Class. Mario Debono commented that the fun factorwas the main reason for participation, especially since Janissah is stillwaiting for its gennaker. “We were not an out and out racing crew,however we got going, and whilst we encountered some problems with our in-mastfurler, we ended up with a necessary trip up the mast and a delayedstart. Reaching Capo Passero, we were welcomed with the famousSicilian katabatic wind of Marzamemi which saw us pick up speed enabling us tocross the finish line like a train”.
The Annual Palio del Mare Rowing Race organised by YachtClub Marzamemi also took place on Saturday afternoon and saw five Maltese teamscompete against four seasoned and very competitive Italian teams. In the end itwas Team Unica from Malta who won the overall race leaving their Italiancounterparts quite stunned with their strength, determination and rowing prowess!
However the International Yacht Paint Marzamemi Regatta wasnot just about racing and competition. One can truly say that the Maltesecrews contributed to a lively social scene over the weekend partying well intothe night or rather early morning on Friday and creating a fun buzzing eveningon Saturday during the course of the dinner organised in the pretty piazza.
A fun and chilled Prize Giving ceremony, complete with aJazz Band and free flowing wine and canapés was held at the Royal Malta YachtClub. Andrew Magri Overend from MacMedLimited, local representatives of International Yacht Paint, presented winnerswith their prizes. The Royal Malta Yacht Club is grateful towards InternationalYacht Paint for supporting the Club’s racing initiatives for a number of years.
More information on the Royal Malta Yacht Club’s RacingCalendar can be found on www.rmyc.org