Freedom Day Regatta this Thursday

Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 14:24

The traditional Regatta Races are national events held twice yearly on 31st March and on 8th September. As of March 2010 the organising of these events were passed under the portfolio of the Hon. Parliamentary Secretariat for Youth and Sports and the Malta Sports Council (KMS-Kunsill Malti għall-iSport). Details about the Freedom Day Regatta were given during a media conference addressed by Mr. Bernard Vassallo, Chairman, Kunsill Malti għall-iSport, and members of the KMS Regatta Organising Committee including Ms. Margaret Mercieca, Mr. Pierre Camilleri, and Mr. Sinclair Cassar.

The programme which is expected to start at 1pm will offer four to five hours of spectacle, with the best crews forming part of the rowing teams from the cities bordering the Grand Harbour, including Cospicua, Kalkara,  Marsa, Marsamxett (Valletta), Senglea, Vittoriosa and also Birzebbuga, will participate in 10 races under two different categories using typical traditional Maltese boats like the ‘frejgatini,kajjikki and ‘dghajjes tal-pass and tal-midalji’. These boats were traditionally normal working watercraft which plied the local harbour. Over the years these boats have evolved into racing craft with certain modifications. These are also examined and weighed before the start of and end of the races. The first three placings in each race are awarded a number of points and at the end of the Regatta, the club with the highest number of points, in the respective categories, is presented with the Aggregrate Shield.

In the past small flags in different colours were tied to the forestems of racing boats for purposes of recognition. The colours were allotted by the Collector of Customs. Colours have changed considerably over the years. However, today the clubs can be recognised by their traditional colours which include Birzebbuga (Red-White-Blue), Cospicua (Light Blue), Kalkara (Green), Marsa (Red-Blue), Marsamxett (Valletta) (Yellow), Senglea (Red-Yellow), and Vittoriosa (Red).

The 1,040 mtr race course is set up in the Valletta Grand Harbour where the magnificent Fort St Angelo provides an imposing backdrop to the sleek and colourful Maltese boats. It is expected that a good crowd of spectators and supporters will converge along the waterfront and the surrounding bastions to watch the races, which is sure to be a colourful and spectacular event worth watching. The races can be viewed from the water edge of the three cities (Birgu, Cospicua, and Senglea) or Valletta and are expected to finish at 6pm. For this occasion, Pinto Wharf 4 and 5 on the Valletta side is open to the general public.

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