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RC44 Valletta Cup Hotting up

14 December 2014

For an island steeped in maritime history, and boasting of the one of the finest ‘natural harbours in the World, it is only fitting for Malta to host the opening stage for the Formulae 1 of sailing, the RC 44 Class.

Thirteen teams will, on the 24th March 2015 commence racing, followed by 5 days of intense competition. This event is expected is expected to offer the public a grand view just off The Sliema coastline, with one day when racing will take place in the Grand Harbour, weather permitting.

The event itself started many months ago when a small team of determined and passionate sailing enthusiasts successfully managed to attract the event to our Islands, of which the sailors on board are predominantly and in their majority, America's Cup and Olympic Class athletes, including medal winners.

The event is a joint-venture, and is being co-hosted by the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Business led by The Hon. Chris Cardona and by Yachting Events, under the auspices of the Malta Sailing Federation and the Royal Malta Yacht Club, supported by the Malta Tourism Authority.

In preparation for the event, one of the racing yachts has recently arrived in Malta, that of Team Artemis Racing Youth (SWE 4), owned by Gustaf Lidvall. This team is one of the newest to the circuit, however their potential should not be underestimated, with Australian Olympic champion Nathan Outteridge calling tactics for the youth crew.

Also, the imminent arrival of Mag Racing (POL 44), followed by the rest of the fleet will soon see the setting up of the technical venue, which will be located at Pinto wharf (next to the ex. Customs House).

The teams will then begin to arrive after the holidays. Each team is made up of 8 sailors on board, each supported by their respective shore crews, management teams, coaches, and other personnel.

As with other similar international sailing events, held in Malta, the event is expected to generate significant economic activity, not to mention the benefits for local sailors who will be able to mix and socialise with the visiting contingents.

The event organisers have already prepared a list of social and sailing activities in this regard and Sponsors can also take the advantage of the 9th man on board as well as event VIP hospitality arrangements.

Course laying will be carried out any a team of International Mark layers who carryout this exercise for other major events organised by major clubs like the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and Yacht Club Capri besides others. Local Optimist Class coach and ex National windsurfing champion Jean Paul Fleri Soler and Neil Borg, a passionate Laser sailor and coach, will also form part of the course laying team. Race Officer is Peter Reggio and the Race Committee boat is identical to those used at the 2012 Olympic Games and will be manned by seasoned sailor and expert Tonio Miggiani.

From a local perspective, this event is sure to leave quite a legacy since Maltese national umpires will have the opportunity to join the International Umpire Team.