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SB20 Class fleet competes in the Grand Slam Spring Cup

Maltese sailors took part in the Grand Slam Spring Cup. Photo: Joseph Saraiva Mendes

Sixteen of Malta’s top SB20 Class sailors recently travelled to Portugal to participate in the SB20 Class Grand Slam Spring Cup.

Considered a major event on the 2024 sailing calendar, the Cup brings together the cream of European sailing elite to compete in this regatta where all race on the single design SB20 keelboats.

Racing took place in the bay of Cascais, located on the Atlantic coast of Portugal and was spread over two days.

The fleet was engaged in three round-the-can races per day.

Although all Maltese sailors are seasoned sailors in their own right, racing in Atlantic waters and amongst so many SB20s was a first for most of them.

Whilst the Maltese fleet chartered boats from Cascais, they made use of their own sails and other required equipment which was shipped purposely from Malta.

In view of their inexperience in such conditions, Maltese crews took advantage of the first races to get to grips with the conditions which consisted of winds coming from one direction, waves from another and a strong tidal current from yet another direction. These are conditions that one does not come across in the Maltese waters.

As the races progressed however the Maltese sailors worked their way up to mid-fleet, with the two best-performing Maltese boats skippered by Brian Flahive and Saul Vassallo.

Training stint

Class president Steve Carter said: “ All of the contingent are accomplished and experienced sailors, hailing from all local sailing clubs namely Birzebbugia Sailing Club, Malta Young Sailors Club, the Royal Malta Yacht Club and Vikings Sailing Club.

“In view of the forthcoming SB20 European Championships, which will take place in Malta, this trip proved to be an invaluable training experience for the Maltese sailors all of whom will be representing Malta in these Championships in October.”

Carter went on to thank SportMalta for providing financial support as well as the Malta Sailing Federation,
under which auspices the European Championships will be held.

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