The second edition of the Yachting Malta BSC International Regatta was not short of challenges for the Race Officers Bojan Gale (ILCA) and Miguel Amaral (Optimist) who had to contend with very difficult weather conditions.
The regatta, which welcomed 115 sailors representing eight nations was faced with a general lack of wind throughout the four days.
With conditions ranging from 0-5 knots, this resulted in a major headache for the race committee who made use of both offshore courses to find the best spot each day with just about enough wind to race.
In the end, the fleet was able to compete in a total of five races, with the majority of racing taking place on the second day.
The Optimist fleet was the largest fleet taking part, with 27 sailors competing in the Novice Class and 59 sailors taking part in the Open category.
The latter class had the largest amount of international sailors hailing from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Netherlands, Russia, Slovakia, and Turkey. The two ILCA Classes were predominantly Maltese sailors.
In the Optimist fleet, Latvian Artis Graudums had a good start, winning the only race on the first day, however in the end, it was Timmy Vassallo who emerged overall winner having produced a consistent performance throughout the events.
In second place was Jonas Micallef, whilst third-placed was Nathan Montebello.
In the Optimist Novice Category, Katrina Briffa took the honours on the first day.
A not-so-auspicious start for Michael Wilson saw him make up in the subsequent races to emerge winner of the Novice Category. He was followed Jack Vella and Bulgarian David Mitev in second and third place respectively.
There were fewer movements in the ILCA Category placings, with Benjamin Vassallo leading the way in the ILCA 4 Class. He was followed on the podium by Matthew Cachia Debono and Kurt Borg, who claimed second and third place.
In the ILCA6 Class, Matthew Flores was another outright winner, holding on to first place throughout the whole regatta.
Places were being swapped between Jean Paul Zahra and Dimitrios Vertsonis.
Despite garnering equal points, it was Zahra who pipped Vertsonis to second place, due to having one net point less.
“We had hoped for better conditions, which would have allowed for more action on the water however our Race Officers were brilliant in being able to make the most of the conditions at hand,” said Birżebbuġa Sailing Club Commodore Mario Aquilina.
“Our young sailors certainly did not disappoint as they raced with such competitive spirit that augurs well for the future of the sport”.
Although sailing conditions on the days of competition were not ideal, the international guests were able to enjoy the usual conditions enjoyed during this time of the year during a pre-Regatta training camp hosted by the club.
This clinic was lead by world top coach Simone Ricci who guided optimist sailor Marco Gradoni to three consecutive world championships. Ricci was assisted by BSC coaches Ivan Vasilev and Craig Farrugia Vella.
The BSC International Regatta was once again supported by Yachting Malta.
“Sailing is of course open to the mercy of the elements, however, it was satisfying to see that these young sailors made the most of what they had,” John Huber, the Yachting Malta chairman, said.
“For the local sailors, it was a great opportunity to continue with their preparations for the Games of the Small States of Europe, whilst the international fleet could savour the various elements Malta has to offer.”
The Yachting Malta BSC International Regatta was held under the auspices of the Malta Sailing Federation.
Novice: 1. Michael Wilson (Malta Young Sailors Club); 2. Jack Vella (Birżebbuġa Sailing Club); 3. David Mitev (SC Chrerno More Briz – Varna).
Novice Female: 1. Emily Camilleri (Malta Young Sailors Club); 2. Katrina Briffa (Malta Young Sailors Club); 3. Emily Mallia (Birżebbuġa Sailing Club).
Cadet Division (U-12): 1. Nathan Montebello (Birżebbuġa Sailing Club); 2. Corey Joyce (Birżebbuġa Sailing Club); 3. Mehmet Erkut Budak (Istanbul Sailing Club).
Seniors Division (U-16): 1. Timmy Vassallo (Malta Young Sailors Club); 2. Jonas Micallef (Royal Malta Yacht Club); 3. Isaac Azzopardi (Birżebbuġa Sailing Club).
Open Female Division (U16): 1. Emily Fenech (Birżebbuġa Sailing Club); 2. Livia Holesova (YC Limar); 3. Karolina Kolenciak (YC Dynamo Energia Bratislava).
ILCA 4 Overall: 1. Benjamin Vassallo (Malta Young Sailors Club); 2. Matthew Cachia Debono (Malta Young Sailors Club); 3. Kurt Borg (Birżebbuġa Sailing Club).
ILCA 4 Female: 1. Lara Merten (Royal Malta Yacht Club); 2. Molly Ross (Royal Malta Yacht Club); 3. Mia Busuttil (Malta Young Sailors Club).
ILCA 6 Overall: 1. Matthew Flores (Birżebbuġa Sailing Club); 2. Jean Paul Zahra (Birżebbuġa Sailing Club); 3. Dimitrios Vertsonis (Royal Malta Yacht Club).
ILCA 6 Female: Lacey Aquilina (Birżebbuġa Sailing Club).