The Seajet Malta Sailing League proceeded with a regatta earlier this month when the SB20 fleet joined the Royal Malta Yacht Club Winter Sailing Race keelboat fleet.
The format was a change from the usual SB20 race regattas.
Instead of the windward-leeward course with multiple races per day.
On the first day the boats raced a longer out-and-back course up the East Coast of Malta, whilst on the second day the fleet took part in a number of inshore races.
On the first day, the fleet took its place on the start line, just between Valletta and Tigne Point. All boats got off the line smoothly with Cage Architects Team Chiara leading as the teams skirted as close to the Tigne Point rocks as could be safely allowed.
Sayonara Baby rounded Għallis cardinal mark first. From then on decisive tactical moves took place, teams wary after Sayonara Baby ended up damaging some of their equipment after the mark.
Careful Now took a more conservative approach, with Team Chiara, having to risk it all for the win. Careful Now’s experience of Marsamxett’s shifty winds gave them an advantage, enabling them to cross the line first.
Despite Sayonara Baby’s damages from previous day, the true spirit of yachting was on display as all teams worked together to ensure that all the boats would be ready for the morning start.
The first big tactical move of the race was made by Team Chiara, who tacked early to gain pace out to sea.
But smoother water inshore proved to be optimal, and Sayonara Baby rounded the windward mark first, followed closely by Careful Now, Chiara, and Panda Powder.
Intense sailing took place, with Team Chiara showing their class, gaining on both leaders and setting up an exciting battle. As inshore tactics took place, each boat was fighting for every advantage, resulting in lead changes all the way.
It all came down to the final downwind leg and any mistake would prove costly.
Careful Now sailed a deeper course again, but the boat speed of Sayonara and Chiara saw them catch up on the lead as the finish approached.
Sadly for them, neither Sayonara Baby nor Team Chiara were ahead enough to take any risks, which made all the difference.
A large thundery squall after the first race led to safety concerns and racing was called for the day, putting a disappointing end to an otherwise fantastic weekend of racing.
Careful Now, helmed by Andreas Bohnsack, Greg Szabo and Guy Baranyay emerged overall winners of the weekend.
“All racers agreed that this was some of the closest and most thrilling racing that had ever taken place in the Malta SB20 Class. It was hard-fought, fair, and embodied the true spirit of the SB20,” said Steve Carter, president SB20 Malta Association.
“We are pleased to see newcomers to the class and kudos go to Sayonara Baby who on their debut gave a formidable performance.”
The next regatta of The Seajet Malta Sailing League will take place on March 25 and 26 in St Paul’s Bay.
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