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Maltese sailors excel in Yachting Malta BSC International Regatta

Photo: Alex Turnbull

The Yachting Malta BSC International Regatta drew to a close on Sunday afternoon when the final races for the four-day sailing bonanza took place.

Hosted by Birzebbugia Sailing Club, and supported by the Malta Sailing Federation and Yachting Malta, the regatta, now in its fourth year, played host to approximately 100 sailors from nine nations, including Slovenia, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Japan, Germany, Tajikistan, Lithuania, Turkey, and Malta.

While the weather conditions allowed both the ILCA and Optimist fleets to race each day, the varying conditions presented a challenge for the race officers, Miguel Amaral (Optimist Class) and Bojan Gale (ILCA Class), who adapted to the changing circumstances.

In total, the ILCA Class completed 12 races, while the Optimist Senior, Cadet, and Beginners fleets completed 11 and 10 races respectively.

Maltese sailors showcased consistency throughout the weekend, dominating the leaderboards in five out of six classes, with class leaders asserting their dominance from the outset.

Timmy Vassallo (MYSC) continued on his unbeaten run in the ILCA 4 until the very end, winning the class with a significant lead over second-placed Laidon Buhagiar (BSC) and Harry Fairbairn (MYSC).

Buhagiar, despite a slow start, steadily climbed the leaderboard throughout the regatta.

In ILCA 6, Benjamin Vassallo (MYSC) held onto his top spot, extending his lead over Matthew Debono (MYSC), with Lacey Aquilina (BSC) settling for third place after a tight battle for second place.

The ILCA 7 class saw Shaun Aquilina’s (BSC) unbeaten run briefly interrupted on Sunday morning by Julian Elwood (BSC), but Aquilina bounced back to secure victory comfortably ahead of Crispin Peresso (BSC) and Elwood.

It was an all-BSC podium in the Optimist Beginner class, with Jeremy Decelis winning nine of the 10 races and keeping a good lead ahead of Ella Grech, who featured consistently in second place.

The third place on the podium was taken up by Juanita Darmanin.

The Optimist Cadet class saw international sailors dominate, with Tajikistan’s Villiam Osipovs leading the fleet from the outset, followed by Emir Tombuloglu and Inic Gulsoy both from Turkish club Galatasaray.

The Optimist Senior fleet provided intense competition, with Andrei Zhakov (BSC) maintaining his lead throughout. Jonas Micallef (RMYC) and Matthias Spiteri (MYSC) battled it out for second and third place, adding excitement to the largest fleet in the regatta. Micallef prevailed to take second place.

Mario Aquilina, Commodore of Birzebbuga Sailing Club, expressed pleasure in hosting the international regatta, emphasising its significance in fostering friendships and camaraderie among sailors and enthusiasts.

Prizes were awarded to the winners at the Clubhouse in the presence of Michael Mifsud, CEO of Yachting Malta, and Matthew Pisani, Vice Chairman of SportMalta.

GSSE legacy

Earlier on Sunday morning a significant moment for sailing in Malta unfolded as four GPS Buoys and four RHIBs were presented to Birzebbugia Sailing Club, Malta Young Sailors Club, Royal Malta Yacht Club, and Vikings Sailing Club.

This allocation was a result of investments made by SportMalta through NDSF Funds for the Games of the Small States of Europe in June 2023 and forms a part of the legacy of these Games.

Presiding over the presentation was Dr Clifton Grima, Minister for Education, Sport, Youth, Research, and Innovation, who expressed his satisfaction, highlighting how this equipment not only streamlines volunteers’ efforts but also contributes to the sport’s increasing environmental sustainability.

Matthew Pisani, vice-chairman of SportMalta, reiterated the organization’s dedication to supporting sport organisations, while Michael Mifsud, president of the Malta Sailing Federation, emphasized the transformative impact of these buoys on dinghy sailing in Malta.

Mifsud went on to thank Strand Marine Ltd for their support towards the acquisition of Suzuki outboards installed on the RHIBS.

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