In a few days time, a fleet of yachts will participate in the first edition of the Oiltanking Vega Offshore Race. The fleet will head due North, bound for the Vega Oil Platform, situated some forty nautical miles away from Malta. Many skippers and crew will be using this race as a training session for their sailing Everest in a months’ time, the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Although on a much shorter scale, the Oiltanking Vega Offshore Race has its own difficulties. Unlike the Middle Sea Race, there will be no watch system and with a course of eighty nautical miles up and down through the Malta Sicily channel, one could easily encounter a wide variety of weather patterns, making sail changes even more frequent.
Preparations are essential and speed and safety will be every skippers main priority. All sailors go out to enjoy themselves but winning is first on everybodys’ wishlist.Epic battles will certainly be seen in the J-Class yachts. J-122 Sister ships “Artie” and “Otra Vez” will certainly pace each other whilst big brother J-133 "Oiltanking Juno", skippered by Sonke Stein, will be hoping that his larger stable mate will give him that extra distance he needs to beat the smaller J-122’s on corrected time.A sure favourite for this race will certainly be Jonathon Gambin on board "TonTon Surfside". He has campaigned his Dufour 44 with a strong and dedicated crew and will surely do his best to retain his top spot. If push comes to shove and the weather Gods play a pivotal role during next Saturdays race, then one can also expect the Moondance boys to fight for a top podium spot whilst Jonas Diamantino on board Commanche Raider will also be working his highly experienced crew to the limit.
Local artist and sculptor, Anton Calleja will be campaigning “L’Artista” a brand new Beneteau 35. This will be Anton’s’ first offshore test on board his boat and we expect to see the true potential of this Farr design in offshore sailing. Expect Anton to go head to head against Ray Schembri on board his Elan 37 “SailAway” Ray and his formidable crew have always performed well offshore and the Vega race should not be any exception.
The race starts on Saturday at 0930hrs from Marsamxett Harbour. Dependng on the weather boats are expected to finish by nightfall.
The prize giving will be held on Sunday, 2nd Octoberon the RMYC terraces after Sunday lunch @ 3pm.