Fleri Soler makes it a 5th Malta win

Wednesday, January 11, 2012, 20:24

by Wilfred Sultana

It is not an illusion of The Twelfth of Never but a vivid portrayal of The Twelfth Successful Story of an event born to give our young sailors a daring challenge and an advantageous opportunity in home waters.

The Euromed Malta Championship 2011, the twelfth in the series gave organisers, the Malta Young Sailors Club, great pride and satisfaction following months of persistent work to secure a record participation of 130 sailors from 10 nations –Italy,Russia, theUnited Kingdom,Monaco,Israel,San Marino,Denmark,Germany,RumaniaandMaltaof course.

Winning six of the eight races in the Championship’s programme Edward Fleri Soler confirmed his current form as Malta’s top Optimist sailor.  This was Edward’s last chance to win the prestigious Award as he turns sixteen next year. He started sailing at the age of seven and contested the first of his six Euromeds in 2005 at the age of nine. The past six years saw Edward winning the Cadet Class (2007) and placing 2nd Overall (2009) in Euromed and was the Optimist National Champion in 2009 and 2010 besides winning many other local regattas.  Edward also took part in a number of overseas events where he attained notable results the like of a 2nd place in the Cadet Class of the 2007 UK National Championships in Wales, and a 2nd (2010) and a 3rd (2011) place in the Mediterranean Cup in Italy.

Edward’s victory marked Malta’s 5th win in 12 editions, a significant feat to local sailors particularly to the Fleri Soler and Zammit Tabona families.  In fact Edward is the third Fleri Soler to win the Euromed.  In 2002 there was Matthew and in 2008 there was Ella; cousin and sister respectively of Edward. The other two ‘Malta’ Euromeds were won by Thomas Zammit Tabona who is the only sailor yet to win the top award twice, in 2006 and 2007. Russia andSweden enjoy two victories each, withIreland,Italy andTurkey having won one Championship each. The youngest sailor to win Euromed was Russian 11-year-old Nikita Ushkov in 2009.

Going through this year’s final results show a mixed national representation of sailors making the podium – Malta (7 awards), Russia (3), Italy (4), the United Kingdom (2), Israel (1), and Monaco (2), a pleasant outcome as was enthusiastically expressed during the prize-giving presentation at the end of the event.

“This was our first Euromed for both Christian and Veronica. The timing of the Event is good; in Denmark the training season ends in November. In combination with the perfect sailing conditions, possible charter boats, nice accommodation and reasonable air fares, it made it an ideal choice for us.

13 year old Christian is experienced and participated in IODA European Championship 2011 in July in Tavira/Portugal and has been sailing/training in several countries. Of course like all participants he had hoped to win the regatta, but he is very satisfied with his 8th place. Veronica is 11 and less experienced but is in a good progress, she is satisfied with having participated and completed. For her the challenge was to handle the boat without help during the periods with lots of wind.  We will consider coming back next year”, related Danish John Torp who accompanied his children on theMalta trip.

For a number of editions now Russiawas always present with a strong group and has won the previous two editions.  Sergey Semenov in charge of the Russia team, this year made up of 11 sailors, remarked that “our strong sailors from the Russian National team could not come this year which made retaining the Euromed title most difficult. Yet we were satisfied with the overall result. We had 2 Russian sailors featuring in the Top 10 of the Open Class with our best performance shown in the Cadet Class where we won 1st and 2nd places in the Open section and winning also a 1st in the Female section. 


We congratulate Malta for its victory. We look forward to be back next year as we hope to continue to make Euromed a traditional friendly meeting presenting excellent competition, an opportunity for training in ideal conditions and sharing a pleasant recreation environment for the international community of young sailors at the event”.

But how do youngsters racing in Euromed, some as young as ten year-olds, perform considering the sailing rules these have to observe and the weather which, like this year, could be quite rough at this time of the year?

“In many ways a dinghy regatta is more demanding on the PRO than one for seasoned skippers and crew. The young optimist sailor is less aware of potential dangers. They tend to overlook wind and sea conditions and ultimately ‘daddy pays’ for any breakages. The PRO has to make decisions keeping in mind the imbalance in the skills and experience of the whole Euromed fleet.

This year the conditions varied from not enough wind to too much. We eventually managed 8 out of 9 races planned for the main fleet but only 6 for the beginners. The mix of classes also causes restrictions to race management flexibility. The young sailors all stood up to the conditions in which we allowed them to race.  Only the younger Optimist sailors had to be kept ashore until conditions abated enough for them. The older lot battled on and did well”, recalled Peter Dimech, Principal Race Officer at Euromed 2011 and a regular PRO to various sailing events involving big yachts and tough matured sailors.


I left the final comment in this after Euromed 2011 feature to John Ripard a founder parent of the MYSC and the Euromed and a person for whom sailing is a sport and a passion at any level whether at racing or as part of the organization.

You are correct in stating that the Euromed was my brainchild over 10 years ago, even though today, fortunately, there are many generous individuals who combine to ensure it is a continuing success. I still offer my assistance and support because to me it is the culmination of the efforts of clubs such as the MYSC and the BBSC who believe in getting youngsters on the water, generation after generation; and it is these youngsters who will eventually represent Malta in the International Sailing arena. Suffice to say that my cousin Christian together with my son Sebastian on board, have just won their class in the prestigious and immensely challenging Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.

This is the hope for sailing in Malta; an annual event attracting over 100 participants from several nations worldwide, giving our kids a unique opportunity to test their skills on a truly International stage. Whilst yes I have been there from the start, I cannot help but mention Anna Rossi for her sheer determination in getting the participants to Malta and of course Jean-Paul Fleri Soler, who not only coaches our winning sailors, but also invests so much time and effort in bringing new children on the water every year, and giving them the skills and courage to aspire to becoming, one day, Euromed Champions themselves.

There are many other unsung heroes all of whom combine to making the Euromed Malta Championship a hugely successful event now in its 13th year, and all deserve a good pat on their back, because without such voluntary assistance it would be an impossible undertaking.”

Well, following such a passionate illumination I can only add the final credits due on such a twelfth achievement: The Malta Euromed Championship was organised by the Malta Young Sailors Club with the cooperation of the Kunsill Malti għall-iSport and the Mellieħa Local Council and held under the patronage of the Malta Sailing Federation.  Mellieha Bay Hotel was the Championship’s Official Hotel while the Point Break beach club was the event’s Headquarters. Good show to one and all!








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