Sailing is one of the most weather-dependent sports, leaving crews at the mercy of the wind and sea swell, often disrupting well laid plans.
The Citadel Sicily Weekend Regatta, which was once again sponsored by Citadel Insurance plc, was proof of this, when original plans to go to Marzamemi had to be changed due to the inclement weather conditions that were forecasted for the weekend making it impossible for the fleet to enter Marzamemi. With crews looking forward to the first offshore race of the season, the Club decided to proceed with the race but changed destination to Scoglitti instead, a scenic little fishing village in the southern part of Sicily.
Race to Scoglitti
Departing on Sunday morning, Race Officer Peter Dimech chose to have two starts, with the Cruisers and IRC Class 2 departing first, followed five minutes after by the IRC Class 1 fleet. The fleet enjoyed a fresh breeze and uneventful start, with all boats keeping well clear of the line. Once on the way to Scoglitti, there were some tactical moves. A number of tacks by Dave Latham's Seawolf of Southampton saw him coming out on top. The rest of the fleet kept generally inshore towards Gozo, before all attempting the shortest route to Scoglitti.Unfortunately, the rough weather caused some damages to Mark Vassallo's Fast Forward and Pier Luca Demajo's Café de Paris resulting in them having to retire from the race and return to Malta. As the fleet started to approach Sicily, wind conditions started to die down, resulting in the majority of the fleet opting to retire since the established cut off time would not have been reached. First to cross the line was Sean Borg's Xpresso, however it was Dave Latham's Seawolf of Southampton to win the race on corrected time.
Race to Malta
The race down to Malta was a better affair, when all boats finished the race by 19:30hrs. After a sedate start from Scoglitti, the fleet had a very close race from 16:30hrs with just three hours separating the whole fleet. Luckily, the dying wind held right till the very end enabling all to finish at a decent time. First to cross the finish line was Jonas Diamantino's Comanche Raider III. Final results, on corrected time saw Sean Borg's Xpresso take top billing, followed by Dave Latham's Seawolf of Southampton and Patrick Vassallo's Allegra.
"After the disappointing conditions that our fleet met with on their way to Scoglitti, it was a relief to see all the boats finishing – despite a couple of boats not reading their sailing instructions and realising what the course was when the boats ahead of them turned the fairway buoy" – Peter Dimech, Race Officer.
The Club is grateful towards the voluntary assistance of Peter Dimech, Richard Dennis and Dennis and Nadya Flores who came specifically from Gozo to assist with bridge, race finish duties.
"This race is one of the flagship races in the Royal Malta Yacht Club's long-standing schedule of competitive races. We believe in supporting and nurturing marine sports and that is why we remain committed to this most prominent season-opener in Malta. We're pleased to continue as title sponsor and look forward to working with the Royal Malta Yacht Club and other stakeholders to build on the success of this great event." Angela Tabone, Managing Director Citadel Insurance.
A Prize Giving evening, held in the presence of Citadel Insurance representatives was held at the Royal Malta Yacht Club.
ResultsMalta – Scoglitti Race
IRC Class11st Place – Xpresso (Sean Borg)
IRC Class 21st Place – Seawolf of Southampton (Dave Latham)
Seawolf of Southampton (Dave Latham)
Scoglitti – Malta Race
IRC Class 1
1st – Xpresso (Sean Borg)
2nd – Allegra (Patrick Vassallo)
3rd – Unica (Jamie Sammut)
IRC Class 2
1st – Seawolf of Southampton (Dave Latham)
2nd – Maltese Falcon (Jonathan Camilleri Bowman)
3rd – Nauti Buoy (Robert Ciantar)
1st- Manana (Peter Ellul Vincenti)
Xpresso (Sean Borg)