Windy conditions see four boats sink in Tal-Midalji race
Vittoriosa and Cospicua shared the honours in the Victory Day Regatta that provided a lot of emotions in an edition that was severely influenced by the windy conditions and choppy waters at the Valletta Grand Harbour.
Given the difficult weather condtions, the Għaqda Regatta Nazzjonali were unsure whether it was possible to stage the regatta on Friday.
However, after consultation with the clubs, it was decided that the race would go ahead as planned despite the difficulties facing the rowers on the day.
The two Cottonera rivals were neck and neck through the Category A proceedings with Vittoriosa holding a slight eight-point lead before the final race of the day.
But Cospicua refused to throw in the towel and managed to finish second in the final race, just ahead of Vittoriosa to ensure both clubs finished on 54 points and share the shield for the next 12 months.
The first race of the day from the top category, Tal-Midalji, provided some drama as four crews finished without their boats.
Cospicua and Vittoriosa battled for victory with the former crossing the line ahead of their rivals. But after completing the distance, both the Cospicua and Vittoriosa boats sunk in the waters, with their crew being rescued from the water.
Marsamxett managed to place third in the race but the same cannot be said of Marsa and Senglea.
In fact, both the Marsa and the Senglea boats sank midway through the distance with both crews being rescued by the safety officials of the race.
In the Frejgatini race, it was Marsa duo Owden Caruana Smith and Cayvon Gatt, who prevailed ahead of Kalkara with Vittoriosa settling for third place.
In the third race, Tal-Pass Ta’ Bit-Tnejn, the spectators witnessed the end of the winning run of Senglea duo Clive Casha and Dennis Thornton who had won the race in each of the last 18 years.
But this time they had to bow to Vittoriosa duo Clyde Cutajar and Clayton Darmanin who stormed to victory ahead of Vittoriosa and Marsamxett.
Vittoriosa seemed to take a major step towards their first shield for almost 40 years when Christian Camilleri and Nigel Sant topped the Kajjiki race ahead of Cospicua and Senglea.
In fact with this win, Vittoriosa held a slim eight-point lead over Cospicua ahead of the final race.
But Cospicua refused to throw in the towel and in the final race they managed to beat Vittoriosa for second place, behind race winners Senglea, to ensure they finished level on points with their rivals in the overall standings.
In Category B, Cospicua were the clear winners of the category after managing three wins on the day to finish well clear of their nearest rivals Kalkara.
Cospicua were the most consistent team in this category as after placing second behind Kalkara in the opening race, Tal-Pass B’Żewġ Imqadef, they went on to take the honours in the next three races, namely Kajjikki, Tal-Midalji and Frejgatini to move on the brink with one race to spare.
Mel Magro, Charvon Gatt, Cleaven Falzon, and Damien Attard completed the job for Cospicua in the final race of the day, Tal-Pass B’Erbgħa as they finished just ahead of Kalkara and Vittoriosa to secure overall victory.
Vittoriosa tasted more success in the Victory Day Regatta as Shazel Grima and Glynnis Mizzi reconfirmed their dominance in the women’s race with another commanding victory.
In fact, Grima and Mizzi built a commanding lead at the start of the Frejgatini race, and from then on they easily administered their advantage to finish well clear of Cospicua and Birżebbuġa and retain the women’s shield for another year.
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Race 1: Women’s race Frejgatini – 1. Vittoriosa; 2. Cospicua; 3. Birżebbuġa.
Race 2: Category B Tal-Pass B’Żewġ Imqadef – 1. Kalkara; 2. Cospicua; 3. Marsamxett.
Race 3: Category A Tal-Midalji – 1. Cospicua; 2. Vittoriosa; 3. Marsamxett.
Race 4: Category B Kajjikki – 1. Cospicua; 2. Birżebbuġa; 3. Kalkara.
Race 5: Category A Frejgatini – 1. Marsa; 2. Kalkara; 3. Vittoriosa.
Race 6: Category B Tal-Midalji – 1. Cospicua; 2. Birżebbuġa; 3. Vittoriosa.
Race 7: Category A – Tal-Pass Ta’ Bit-Tnejn – 1. Vittoriosa; 2. Cospicua; 3. Marsamxett.
Race 8: Category B – Frejgatini – 1. Cospicua; 2. Kalkara; 3. Birżebbuġa.
Race 9: Category A – Frejgatini – 1. Vittoriosa; 2. Cospicua; 3. Senglea.
Race 10: Category B – Tal-Pass B’Erbgħa – 1. Cospicua; 2. Kalkara; 3. Vittoriosa.
Race 11: Category A – Tal-Pass B’Erbgħa – 1. Senglea; 2. Cospicua; 3. Vittoriosa.
CATEGORY A: Vittoriosa; Cospicua 56; Senglea 26; Marsa, Marsamxett 12; Kalkara 8.
CATEGORY B: Cospicua 80; Kalkara 48; Birżebbuġa 24; Vittoriosa 14; Marsamxett 6.
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