Single Handed yacht racing is definitely not for everyone – this could be seen last Saturday when the Single Handed Round Comino Race, hosted by the Royal Malta Yacht Club, saw just five boats taking part. The revival of the race generated some interest yet it was only five boats that took on the challenge.
In any yacht race the boat is raced by at least four to five crew members – each having a specific role, creating synergies to obtain the best possible output for the race. In Saturday’s race, skippers had to do all that by themselves.
The fleet list for the Single Handed Round Comino Race was made up of Echappe Belle (Marco Sartori), Lartista (Anton Calleja), Time Out (Mario Sant), Unica (Jamie Sammut) and Xpresso (Sean Borg). Whilst quite a few of these crews have quite a few double handed races under their belts, solo races have not been on the Club calendar for quite a few years now, so this was going to prove extra challenging for them.
Sean Borg, racing on the XP44 Xpresso emerged winner of the race. As the youngest participant and racing on the largest boat this win came as a bit of a surprise, since he had tough competition from the other boats.
The start from Marsamxett Harbour had a very light start, though Mario Sant (Time Out) who was the furthest out from the shore managed to get the breeze first. As the race progressed it definitely was going to be a tough race for all, who not only had to sail their boats but also hoist their sails, make sail changes and do their best to find the best pockets of wind in conditions that persisted in being light throughout.
Further on during the race, as Xpresso exited the South Comino Channel, the wind picked up considerably and made it a tough job for Borg, beating back into the harbour in 12 – 13 knots of wind. Borg’s efforts were well rewarded with him being first to cross the line as well as win the overall race.
“This race ended up being far tougher than expected. Xpresso usually has a crew complement of around ten, so having to do the work of ten people for seven continuous hours is definitely arduous. In all honesty I never thought I would manage to get the sails up and down all on my own but I managed!” enthused Sean Borg after the race. “Would I do it again? Probably not, but one never knows!”
In second place was Jamie Sammut, racing on his Solaris One 42 Unica – kudos go to him as well for not only having raced solo but also managed to provide some excellent footage of the race! In third place was Marco Sartori’s Gib Sea 106 Eschappe Belle.
A Prize Giving evening will take place on Wednesday 19th June at the Royal Malta Yacht Club. For more information on the Club’s events please visit www.rmyc.org.
The Club thanks Race Officer Luca Lacitignola, Michelle Caruana and Piero Picone for their voluntary assistance in Race Management.
The next commitment on the Royal Malta Yacht Club Calendar will be the Dinghy Ranking Regatta, held under the auspices of the Malta Sailing Federation on the weekend of the 18th and 19th May. For further information please visit www.rmyc.org
Photo Credits: Paul Borg Cardona/ Michelle Caruana