Otra Vez and Kontiki claimed the honours in IRC Class 1 and IRC Class 2 respectively in the 2017 edition of the BOV Gozo Regatta.
Following initial concerns that the BOV Gozo Weekend Regatta might be cancelled due to the lightning storm that hit the Maltese islands on Friday morning, the weather eased off and the race committee took the decision to proceed with the start for the passage race from Malta to Gozo as scheduled at 1500hrs.
Elusive II, skippered by the Podesta siblings took an early lead with the rest of the fleet in hot pursuit. The stiff south easterly breeze was just right for the passage up to Gozo, resulting in all boats berthing in Mgarr Harbour by 1800hrs.
Throughout the weekend, the fleet enjoyed little or no rain and steady wind conditions varying between 18 and 20 knots on Saturday, increasing to a maximum of 25 knots on Sunday. North easterly swells of over one metre added to the action on Sunday.
IRC Class 1
On Saturday morning, the IRC Class 1 fleet were set a course for three windward/leeward races. Whereas the first race resulted in being somewhat short, an increased lap on the second and third races made up for the variance. The programme for Sunday consisted of two races of one lap each around Comino. Throughout the weekend it was very much a tightly fought race between Otra Vez and Elusive 2, the latter valiantly attempting to retain last year’s title. Winning three races each, Otra Vez and Elusive 2 put in very close racing all the way, resulting in a tie for first place which could only be decided on the result of the last race, which was won by Otra Vez, skippered by Aaron Gatt Floridia, thus giving them the victory.
IRC Class 2
The Fleet raced a total of four races over the weekend – two races on Saturday, circling Comino in the opposite direction of the IRC Class 1, and one race of two laps on Sunday morning. Friday saw a good start from Ray Schembri’s Sailaway. On the last race of the weekend Sailaway just managed to lead Maltese Falcon II, all the way around Comino on both laps but at the end it was the Maltese Falcon II to emerge as the final race winner. However in the end it was Kontiki, skippered by Ferdinand Grech, that won the overall Class despite suffering damage in the last race.
A Prize giving evening was held at the Royal Malta Yacht Club in the presence of Godwin Zammit, RMYC Commodore and Stefan Abela from Bank of Valletta’s PR & Marketing Department.
“The association between the Royal Malta Yacht Club and Bank of Valletta goes a long way and the Gozo Weekend Regatta is always popular, due to the way the Club combines the racing programme with social activities for the crew and their families. The weekend’s weather conditions provided crews with a tough challenge which put them and their boats to the test as they fought until the very last breath,” Godwin Zammit, Commodore, Royal Malta Yacht Club.
“It was a pleasure witnessing close-quarter racing with the crews pitting themselves against the wind and sea conditions apart from the other boats,” said Mr Abela. “Our congratulations go to Kontiki and Otra Vez for notching their names on the BOV Gozo Regatta trophy and to all crews and to the Royal Malta Yacht Club for making the race happen.”
The next race on the Royal Malta Yacht Club Calendar will be the Double Handed Figure of Eight Race which will take place on Saturday 2nd December 2017.
IRC Class 1
Aaron Gatt Floridia
Aaron, Christoph, Maya Podesta
IRC Class 2
Maltese Falcon II
Jonathan Camilleri Bowman