Three firsts on last day lands Alex Esposito the top award

Monday, April 16, 2012, 22:43

by Wilfred Sultana

The Malta Young Sailors Club is keeping to their original mission that of organizing competitive class dinghy sailing for kids.  In fact the Club features annually on the international sailing calendar when it presents local youngsters with the opportunity to compete against foreign sailors in home waters.  This is done at the Euromed Malta Championship where in 2011; the twelfth in the series gave organisers, great pride and satisfaction to secure a record participation of 130 sailors from 10 nations. In this eventMaltatriumphed in 5 wins of the 12 editions, a significant feat to local sailors.

Getting to the Euromed competitive level demands a thorough build-up of on-water training.  Here the Club organises a number of competitive regattas which help the local sailors build up experience and confidence.

One of these main events is the GILL Foundation Regatta held over two days and an established annual appointment which has so far had 14 editions.

The GILL Foundation Regatta is of particular importance to young and moreover to older members of the MYSC, particularly to founder members, as this was the first regatta organized when the club set up. The 2012 Edition was raced inSt. Paul’s Bay and attracted 28 Optimist sailors and 4 Lasers from the Malta Young Sailors Club and the Birżebbuġa Sailing Club.  This annual regatta is held under the auspices of the Malta Sailing Federation and is recognized as a ranking event for the Optimist and Laser categories.

As in all sailing regattas the weather plays its crucial part on the final result, a tricky test for the abilities of all sailors, some as young as seven years old.  Participants cannot be over the age of 15 to sail the Optimist dinghy, otherwise there is no age limit with regards the other categories.

We had very light and shifty winds on Saturday the 1st day of racing which made it very difficult for the heavier sailors. On the last race on Saturday we also had a strong current from the NE which was very unusual for St Paul’s Bay.  On Sunday we started with a nice moderate breeze which gradually increased during the day,” noted Jean Paul Fleri Soler committee member of the MYSC and national coach of the Malta Optimist Class team.

The Optimist Class was divided into three categories where six races were raced over the 2-day Regatta.  The winning sailors in each category were:

Optimist Novice: 1st Jake Satariano (MYSC), 2nd Lucas LeGaut (MYSC), and 3rd Gaby Mifsud (MYSC)

Optimist Cadet: 1st Craig Farrugia Vella (BBSC), 2nd Matthew Micallef (BBSC), and 3rd Shaun Miggani (MYSC)

Optimist Open: 1st Alex Esposito MYSC, 2nd Thomas Bonello Ghio MYSC, and 3rd Zachary Zammit MYSC

In the Laser Class there were only two sailors in the 4.7 and another two in the Radial Class, so the four boats sailed the six races together and were timed at the finish. This resulted in BBSC sailors clinching the podium places namely: 1st Roberto Briffa, 2nd Gary Pace and 3rd Matthew Wallis.

The 2012 GILL Foundation Regatta Shield, the top prize of the day, was won by Alex Esposito of the MYSC following his Sunday performance where he won 1st place in all three races.  Fourteen year old Alex joined the MYSC at the age of seven and has been a most active Optimist sailor ever since.  His young sailing adventure saw him competing in 6 Euromeds, 1 British Nationals in Phlewelli, 2 British End of Season event in Rutlands waters, 1 French Nationals in La Rochelle, 1 Spanish Cup in Majorca, 4 Sicily Cups in Kaucana, 3 Mediterranean Cups in Reggio di Calabria, 1 Sicily Cup in Messina, 1 Lake Garda Meeting and 1 Regatta in Marsala.

The following are all the winners of the GILL Foundation Regatta Shield since its first edition fourteen years ago.

1999 – Sebastian Ripard, 2000 – Zak Borg, 2001 – Matthew Fleri Soler, 2002 – Zak Borg, 2003 – Benji Borg, 2004- Benji Borg, 2005 – Sean Borg, 2006 – Gabriel Pace, 2007- Ella Fleri Soler, 2008 – Thomas Zammit Tabona, 2009 – Thomas Zammit Tabona, 2010 – Edward Fleri Sole, 2011 – Edward Fleri Soler, and 2012 – Alexander Esposito.

The Race Committee for the GILL Foundation Regatta were Peter Dimech, Anna Rossi and Andre Borg.

The regatta was sponsored by GILL, represented in Malta by Gauci Borda Ltd, and a prize-giving ceremony rounded off yet another successful sailing weekend at the MYSC Clubhouse inSt Paul’s Bay.


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