The Royal Malta Yacht Club hosted an offshore race to Licata and Ragusa over the weekend, offering crews a 172 nautical miles race which turned out to be way more challenging than predicted.
Although the Club’s initial plan was to race to Lampedusa, the Race Committee decided to change the course to Licata due to the logistical challenges being encountered in Lampedusa. The course, starting from Marsamxett Harbour took the fleet towards Licata and Ragusa before heading back to the Royal Malta Yacht Club.
The fleet were engaged in a light start from Marsamxett Harbour, which saw Sean Borg’s new Cape 31 yacht Jubatus make its offshore debut, as it led the fleet out of Marsamxett Harbour. The race turned into a thrilling adventure as the fleet approached the Licata mark, when the wind unexpectedly picked up to a fierce 25 knots. Until then all boats were in a pretty straight line all up the way to Licata.
On the final stretch to round the Licata mark, Jubatus rounded the mark only to have to manoever the boat to avoid a squall taking them further offshore. The other boats on the fleet ended up getting stuck in a lull, resulting in the remaining boats catching up. It was an approximate two hour wait until the wind filled again allowing the fleet to engage in a downwin sail from Ragusa to Malta in about 10 to 12 knots of wind.
Jubatus continued to sail ahead, maintaining a commanding lead and finishing well ahead of the rest of the fleet, crossing the finish line in front of the Royal Malta Yacht Club after nearly 21 hours of sailing. Whilst the crew of Jubatus all have offshore racing experience, this was their first offshore race on the new boat.
“ We were still opening sails from their boxes just before the race. And as we were expecting to do around 16 knots in the dark, reaching around 23 knots was not much of a pleasant surprise, but the boat sailed well and only a few things went wrong, well except for us being battered by strong waves was pretty harsh but overall it was a great start and we couldn’t be happier. ”Sean Borg, Skipper – Jubatus
When taking into consideration time correction, Jubatus emerged winner of the race followed by Jarhead, the Jarhead Young Sailor’s Foundation J/109 which was skippered by Claudio Bugeja, followed by Horst Huelsey’s Be Free.
This is the first time that we hosted this offshore course, which proved to be a thrilling race, where crews had to engage in a test of skill, courage, and determination, which was a good test before the Rolex Middle Sea Race taking place later on this month. ”Adrian Gauci Borda, Rear Commodore (Sailing) – Royal Malta Yacht Club
Race Management duties were undertaken by Michelle Caruana and Piero Picone.
The Royal Malta Yacht Club is now gearing up for the Rolex Middle Sea Race, where 109 boats are expected to start the 606nm race on Saturday 21st October. The Royal Malta Yacht Club will be represented by 10 boats including Artie III (Lee Satariano), Elusive II (Aaron, Christoph, Maya Podesta), Geisha (Stefan Debattista), Gozo Dream (Noel Grech,) JYS Jan (Claudio Bugeja), OpenPayd Be Free (Horst Huelsey), Otra Vez (Aaron Gatt Floridia), Spirit of the Winds (Simon Xuereb), Ton Ton Laferla Insurance (Jonathan Gambin) and Unica (Jamie Sammut).