Gozitans challenge and bring Barbarossa Cup back to Gozo
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Last Saturday, the 5th edition of the Barbarossa Cup challenge was held outside Marsamxett harbour. This is an annual yacht race between teams from the Imperial Gozo Yacht Club and the Vikings Sailing Club. The latter had won this event four years in a row. The closest the Gozitan sailors had come was in 2010, when the yacht First Class had finished first, but the Vikings Sailing Club at that time had a better overall team result.
Nevertheless this year a small group of Imperial Gozo Yacht Club members still travelled to Malta, with the challenge resting upon the yacht Illusion I, to face three Vikings Sailing Club defenders, the yachts L’Artista, Time Out, and an H-Boat.
The start of the race was a close one, especially between the two larger Vikings yachts. Although the wind was a promising force 3-4 for the first leg of the course, it soon started to die down and the race officer shortened the course, by eliminating the third rounding of the fairway buoy outside the Grand Harbour.
This still left the difficult return to the finish line in the typical afternoon becalmed conditions, where for some periods the yachts were not moving at all. As a new breeze picked up while two larger Vikings Sailing Club yachts were already inside Marsamxett harbour, these finished very close to each other, while the Gozitan yacht benefited from the breeze for a longer period.
On corrected time, the final results had the yachts in the following order: Illusion I, then Time Out, then L’Artista, while the H-Boat had retired.
As next year the Vikings are sure to come to Gozo to mount a strong challenge, both clubs look forward to this race as a team sport event, apart from a chance for various members of both clubs to get together and continue their long-standing friendship.
The Barbarossa Cup was sponsored in 2008 by Barbarossa Cruises of Xewkija Gozo which specialised in cruises around the Maltese Islands.