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Watch: Elusive 2 win Zhik Double Handed Figure of Eight Race

Photo: Alex Turnbull/RMYC

Aaron Podesta and David Anastasi, racing on Elusive 2, emerged winners of the last competitive sailing race for 2021.

Dubbed as one of the longest- standing regattas of the Royal Malta Yacht Club racing calendar, the Zhik Double Handed Race, presented by RLR Yachting, was originally scheduled to take place earlier on in December but the extreme weather conditions, particular the high swells on the day, saw the race being postponed.

Race Officer Georges Bonello Du Puis set off the fleet in one start from Marsamxett Harbour on a southbound, 85 nautical mile course.  

Six boats undertook the challenge of what is considered one of the toughest races on the Royal Malta Yacht Club calendar. 

The majority of which were seasoned competitors in double-handed racing.

The least experienced were the crew of Jarhead Foundation’s Jan, skippered by Patrice Pace and Alex Ziegler, whilst one of the youngest members of the fleet was 16-year-old Kristian Borg Nicolas at the helm of J-Lance.

Taking the lead in a flying start was Jonathan Gambin’s Ton Ton Laferla Insurance, who was closely followed by Elusive 2 and the Ripard’s Calypso. 

Elusive 2 went on to overtake Ton Ton Laferla Insurance just before Munxar Buoy where the Podesta/Anastasi duo went for an early kite hoist that helped them pull away slightly.

Upwind leg

After passing Filfla it was a tough long upwind leg all the way to Comino, where a shifty wind entailed crews to make many tacks along the cliffs.

Elusive 2 maintained their position in front to complete the course in just below 17 hours.

Second to finish was Sean Borg’s Xpresso, whilst Ton Ton Laferla Insurance was the third boat to finish the race in front of the Royal Malta Yacht Club.

First in elapsed and corrected time, Elusive 2 were declared winners of the race.

With ratings coming into play it was Gambin’s Ton Ton Laferla Insurance to pip Calypso to second place, with just three minutes on corrected time. 

Prizes, consisting of a selection of the latest Zhik merchandise, were presented to the winners by Thomas Ripard, representing RLR Yachting.

“This race might not present one of the largest fleets on the club’s racing calendar but it definitely shows competitive and resilient spirit. Racing a boat between two people for over sixteen hours, in not the easiest of conditions, is certainly not for everyone,” said Georges Bonello DuPuis, Race Officer.

“It was great to see that all the boats who were on the starting line, finished the race safely and thank them for being part of this race. Thanks also go to RLR Yachting who have been supporting this race for many years”.

The Royal Malta Yacht Club racing calendar for 2022 is scheduled to commence on Sunday, February 6, with a short coastal race.

More information can be obtained on the club’s website – www.rmyc.org

Zhik Double Handed Race results: 1. Elusive 2 (Aaron Podesta/David Anastasi); 2. Ton Ton Laferla Insurance (Jonathan Gambin/Gerald Gambin); 3. Calypso (Sebastian Ripard/Stefan Debattista).

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