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14 December 2006, 10:01 am
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EUROMED Regatta 2006
Malta

The Malta Young Sailors Club will be seeing off the year 2006 on a high note as they will once again be hosting the EUROMED Malta Championships now in their 7th editions. The five day championship will take place from 15 to 21 December with racing in Optimists and Lasers
The main contest will be the Optimist Class challenge where the Optimist Sailing Dinghy, the internationally recognised one design single handed sailing craft, will be raced. Eligible to participate in this Class, the largest junior class in the World, are 'sailors' under the age of 16 years. The winners of the past six editions were: 2000 - Lisa TAIT (13 years old) - Ireland; 2001 - Ton THORN - (13 years old) - Sweden; 2002 - Matthew Fleri SOLER (14 years old) - Malta; 2003 - Valentino VALACCHI (14 years old) - Italy; 2004 - Henrik GRIM (14 years old) - Sweden and 2005 - Okan ARIN (12 years old) - Turkey.

Concurrently with the Optimist Class Championship the 2006 EUROMED will also comprise a Lasers Class Regatta for over-16-year-old competitors, all of whom are past Optimist sailors.

For the first time in the event's history the Championship will be staged in the picturesque Mellieha Bay over a 4 km course with the recently launched Adira Sailing Centre as the official Championship headquarters. The adequate facilities of this Centre will be providing for both the launching and for the safe parking of participating boats.

The EUROMED Championship has a great potential in the sport-tourism concept where foreign young sailing enthusiasts, possibly accompanied by other family members, fly to Malta to participate in a pleasant and challenging event while at the same time spending part of their Christmas holidays here. In this regard the Malta Young Sailors Club collaborates with Air Malta, which is also the Official Carrier of EUROMED.

The number of foreign participants could have been higher but a large number of sailors have this year opted to contest the Optimist World Championships being held in Uruguay which takes off on the 27 December. It is of general practice that participants travel to the venue of such important Championships a number of days prior to the start to attend training camps.

This year's fleet of participants hails from Norway, England, Bulgaria, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy and Monaco. It will be the first time that sailors from Norway and Monaco will be taking part. The presence of sailors from Monaco is most significant because in June 2007 our Optimist sailors will be taking part in the Games of the Small States of Europe which are being held in Monaco. Ella STOGGALL from Great Britain will be the youngest sailor in the racing fleet.

The local sailors taking part in this year's edition are presently undergoing their final preparations under the watchful eyes of Jean Paul Fleri Soler, the Malta team coach.

Once again one of the highlights of the local organisation structure is the International Jury team to run the technical aspect of the Championship. This will be led by Peter Valentino as Jury Chairman with the rest of the panel being Luciano GIACOMI from Italy, Costas TSANTILLIS from Greece, both of whom have been part of the Euromed team before, Margriet PANNEVIS from Holland and Jean Luc MICHON from France who is the past ILCA president. Mr. MICHON has been brought over by the Malta Laser Class Association. Jovin RAUSI will also be part of the jury as a national judge.

The 7th EUROMED Malta Championship programme sets off on Friday 15 December with registration of participants while on Saturday 16 at 13:30 (local time) a most regarded practise race is held which helps to put one and all in a competitive spirit. The Championship presents competitors with 11 races with the first race on each day, as from Sunday 17 starting at 10:.00.

Undoubtedly a main protagonist of any sailing event is the weather but previous experiences have shown that, be it gust, hail or high seas the international fleet of youngsters will surely face the music gallantly to make this 7th EUROMED Malta Championship another pleasant and exciting sailing manifestation.

Anna ROSSI (As Amended by ISAF)
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