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Malta Young Sailors Club to host the Round Malta Windsurfing Challenge

The Round Malta Windsurfing Challenge will be held this weekend. Photo: Paul Ellul

The Round Malta Foiling Challenge, hosted by the Malta Young Sailors Club between April 13 and 14, is the final challenge that windsurfers need to complete as part of their qualification process for the forthcoming Foiling 100 event taking place in May.

Windsurfing foiling is a new evolution of windsurfing, involving the use of a board with a hydrofoil, which is a fin-like structure that extends below the water and lifts the board out of the water at higher speeds.

Incidentally hydrofoil windsurfing has been added to the Olympic Games, making its debut in Paris 2024 and will also make an appearance in Los Angeles 2028.

In recent years, there has been a significant surge in the popularity of this sport, evidenced by the consistent rise in racing fleet numbers.

The Round Malta Challenge takes participants around a 75-kilometre stretch of the Mediterranean Sea.
While the last windsurfing record for this distance, set in 1995 by Carmelo Abela, stands at an impressive 5 hours and 21 minutes.

To put things into perspective, the round Malta sailing record – established by Lee Satariano’s Artie III in 2019, stands at just 4 hours and 44 minutes.

This sets the stage for an exhilarating show as the speed at which foiling occurs will – with the right weather conditions – most likely break the existing record.

The Round Malta Challenge will see a starting and finish point in St Paul’s Bay, near Gillieru, tracing a route to St. Paul’s Island, before rounding Malta’s coastline.

Amongst the competitors are some of Malta’s foremost home grown talents: Jean Paul Fleri Soler, winner of the first Malta-Sicily Windsurf Race in 1984 in a time of 5hrs 56mins 35secs, Shaun Miggiani, Karl Miggiani, Thomas Zammit Tabona, and Sebastian Ripard.

The Miggiani siblings and Thomas Zammit Tabona are no strangers to these challenges having also taken part in a similar crossing two years ago.

These sailors are poised to take on the challenge and etch their names in the annals of water sports history.

With an estimated completion time of under 3 hours, the pace is set to be blistering, with participants anticipated to reach an average speed of 22 to 24 knots.

“This event has an added layer of significance as it is the final qualifier for the Foiling 100 Malta – Sicily Race. It will certainly be a showcase of not only the sailors’ skill but also the technological advancements windsurfing equipment over the years,” said Chris Bajada, Commodore, Malta Young Sailors Club.

In a statement, the Malta Young Sailors expressed their gratitude towards the generous support of sponsors and volunteers including Yachting Malta, Casamigos, courtesy of M. Demajo Wines & Spirit Ltd., and Visit Malta.

“All play a vital role in supporting the event, ensuring logistical and operational excellence throughout,” said Chris Bajada, Commodore Malta Young Sailors’ Club.

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