In spite of the difficulties that COVID-19 has placed around most sporting events, the Royal Malta Yacht Club hosted a successful BOV Autumn Regatta earlier this month.
The annual event, which usually takes place in Gozo, was based around the eastern coast of Malta, without the social gatherings usually associated with this event.
In a weekend marked with very little wind, the club, under the direction of Race Officer Peter Dimech, still managed to hold six races for the SB20 and J92 classes, five races for the Racing classes and four for the Club Cruiser class.
Jarhead, the J109 owned by the Jarhead Young Sailors’ Foundation and skippered by Zach Zammit, went on an unbeaten run, winning all five races in their class throughout the weekend.
Their performance saw them win the overall BOV Regatta Trophy for the first time.
“Wind was very light and tactical throughout the entire weekend. The courses consisted of medium distance round the cans outside the Sliema area and therefore it required a number of sail changes to get around the course even due to the big wind shifts,” Zach Zammit, the Jarhead skipper, said.
“The team did really well to tackle some complicated sail changes; but the boat never stopped moving which shows from the consistency of the results.”
Races started from the mouth of Marsamxett harbour at Tigne Point.
The fleet set sail towards the Fairway buoy and heading up north towards St Julian’s mark and back to the RMYC.
The finish line saw a mix of IRC and Club rated boats finishing together just inside the stipulated time limit.
Winners for the day were Aaron Gatt Floridia’s Otra Vez (IRC Class 1), Zach Zammit/ Jarhead Foundation’s Jarhead (IRC Class 2) and Simon Camilleri’s XL for the Club rated Class.
Saturday was once again marked with little wind.
The RMYC rated boats set off for their first and only coastal race of the day at 11:05. The course was set to the Għallis North Cardinal mark and back.
This time it was Georges Bonello Du Puis’ Escape to take the honours on corrected time.
Meanwhile for the IRC Rated boats, a shorter course was set to allow for two races to take place. The course took them from the start line around the fixed marks of Fairway Buoy and St Julian’s mark, before finishing back on the water start finish line.
Honours for the day went once again to Otra Vez and Jarhead.
Joining the fleet on Saturday and Sunday were the SB20 and J92 Classes, who had separate starts on a short windward – leeward course.
Unfortunately, the J92 Pep, skippered by Mark Camilleri, had to retire after one race with technical problems, leaving J Lance (Tom Ripard) and Alecto (Charles Cronin) to fight it out between them.
The SB20 fleet enjoyed some keen racing, with many close encounters at the marks, and finishing close to each other.
Sunday’s course was laid further offshore, with a windward leg of almost two miles out to the Fairway Buoy, round an inflatable mark at Dragonara with a finish at the water laid line. The Club-rated class managed to fit in two races on the day, with XL and Kevin Pisani Zammit’s Dimm sharing the day’s spoils.
The IRC fleet had a slightly longer course with the inclusion of St Julian’s mark and a laid mark about half a mile to windward.
Racing took around an hour and a half to two hours.
In IRC 1, the day’s winners were Otra Vez (Race 4) and Jonathan Gambin’s TonTon (Race 5), whilst in IRC 2 Jarhead continued to maintain it’s winning streak having remained unbeaten throughout the whole weekend.
The SB20 Fleet were again quite well matched with all seven teams taking part.
Outlaw and the current leaders on the circuit Careful Now were being pressed by the two Sailcoach teams. Eventually, it was Careful Now, Outlaw and Seriously Bonkers – skippered by Sailcoach crew who took the top three places.
The J92 Class was won by J Lance. With both contenders finishing in a tie, it was J Lance who broke the tie having won the last race.
Worth mentioning was J Lance’s sporting gesture when they asked for a restart of the fifth race when they noticed that Alecto had suffered slight damage to a headsail.
“We can consider ourselves fortunate to have been able to host the BOV Autumn weekend particularly at a time when most sports are holding back from hosting competitions. Of course strict protocols had to come into play for the safety of all, but there were no objections from the crews who seek every opportunity to race,” said Peter Dimech, Rear Commodore (Sailing) and Race Officer.
“Our gratitude goes of course to Bank of Valletta for supporting this event once again and of course all the volunteers – Martin Azzopardi, Simon P. Grech, Mark Napier, Alana Meadows, Anna Rossi and Adrian Gauci Borda, who gave their time to assist with race management duties”.
“It is indeed a pleasure to witness the skills of such a young crew, who went on to win the race against one of the largest fleets ever to participate in this race” said Charles Azzopardi, Executive PR and Marketing at Bank of Valletta.
“We take this opportunity to thank the Royal Malta Yacht Club whose impeccable organisation, despite the current situation, made the race possible, and to all the participating crews who followed health authority regulations while enjoying the weekend of sailing.”