The fourth edition of the Euromed Malta Championship kicked off rather slowly yesterday afternoon when the weather decided not to cooperate with the organisers.
Ironically, following a very blistery day on Wednesday, when the practice race had to be cancelled due to the inclement conditions, today the wind went away completely for the whole of the morning. This caused the organisers to only run one race of the two programmed, when the wind picked up a bit in the afternoon.
In fact, the resultant conditions for the race were rather flukey and the very light wind came from all directions, though it generally stabled from the northerly to westerly directions. Yet it was enough to give the young sailors a good hour's sailing.
The expected tussle in the Optimist class between Malta's champion Benjie BORG (14) and the Dutch champion Nina KEIJZER (13) materialised in this only race run. But it was the Dutch girl who took the first day's honours ahead of Borg who placed third having been pipped by young Hampus APPELGREN (11 years) from Sweden taking second place.
Ireland's Alyson RUMBALL (13) placed 4th followed by Italy's Valentino VALACCHI (14), Malta's Karl CREMONA (12), The Netherlands' Van Veen ANNELOES and Croatia's Tajana GANI (13). The next Maltese sailor in line was Louisa MANDUCA (12), who was placed in 11th position.
Since Sweden's Hampus APPELGREN (who is second overall so far) is still 11 years old, he is sailing as a cadet sailor and is therefore also leading this junior class. In second place is Italy's Ottavio REGGIO (9) followed by Bulgaria's Atanas CHIFLIDJANOV (9). The leading Maltese sailor in this class so far is Sarah MANDUCA (9) in 5th position.
In the other three Laser categories of this year's Euromed Malta Championship, the only overseas participants were in the 4.7 Class where two sailors from the UAE battled it out against seven Maltese teenagers most of whom had graduated from the Optimist class having now passed the age limit permissable. Heading this class on Day One was Christoph PODESTA (13) followed by Matthew Fleri SOLER (14) and Emma MICALLEF (17). Adel KHALID (14 years) was in fourth place while Jan Rossi (15 years) followed him in 5th place.
This class was expected to also see a good number of Italian Laser racers from Sicily but unfortunately the transport company contracted to bring their equipment over was unable to do so and their trailer was too big to transport with the usual regular service with Sicily. Rather disappointingly for everyone concerned, the team therefore had to drop out at the last minute.
In the Laser Standard class, eight Maltese sailors aged between 16 and 43, battled it out for the honours with Mario AQUILINA (27 years) leading on Aaron PODESTA (16), Neil BORG (28) and David DALLI (36).
In the Laser Radial class, five young sailors aged 15 to 24 competed . At the end of the day it was Simon AQUILINA (23 years) who was leading on Zak BORG (15), Alfred FENECH (24), Sebastian RIPARD (16 years) and Andrew SELVAGI (16).
Full results are available on the event website at the address below.