Thursday, June 28, 2012

Morning Mist in Gozo


Ghammar Hill


Jordan Lighthouse


Ta' Pinu


Sunflowers and prickly pears in front of the house




This morning I woke up to a very early morning mist over Gharb, Ghasri and its environs. The same view yet looking so different and beautiful in its own way.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

.......and the Match is On!

Pic taken from www.timesofmalta.com


As I type the England - Italy match for Euro 2012 has just started and quite an exciting start at that with both sides almost scoring.
The roads are suddenly very quiet and I would say almost the entire population is seated somewhere infront of a screen watching a match considered bigger than a World Cup Final. The only thing bigger than a World Cup Final would be a WCF with England and Italy playing in it!

Further to my earlier blog post about the bizarre England vs Italy situation in Malta you can read more about it in today's Sunday Times of Malta.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

England vs Italy - Biggest Match of the Year for Maltese Football Fans


Malta has many peculiarities, one of them being the clear division of the island when it comes to football. You either side with England or with Italy - no in betweens - it is either/or. So this coming Sunday could be considered one of the biggest events of the year on this lump of rock in the middle of the Mediterranean. The beaches will be vacated earlier than usual to ensure being at home on time for the start of the match. Or the other alternative will be to stay on at the beach and watch the match on a big screen at one of the hundreds of bar venues screening the match all over the island. Minutes before the start there will be a sudden hush as you realise the streets are practically empty and the sound of traffic is almost non existent. If you want a quiet Sunday evening walk now is the time to take it! Match over and the deserted streets will spring to life with car horns blowing, carcades parading up and down main roads, especially the Sliema front - this whole celebratory extravaganza lasting into the early hours of the morning.  If you are not into football (like myself) but would like to know which of the two forces won just pop your head out the door/window/balcony and see which flag is hanging outside the car windows.



This peculiar divide of the nation is even worthy of a mention in Wikipedia as shown below.



Football

Malta's "national" sport is football. Many Maltese avidly follow English and Italian matches. Malta also has its own national team; however, every four years the World Cup typically sees Maltese loyalties divided between the teams ofEngland and Italy, and a victory by either of these two teams inevitably leads to spontaneous, and very boisterous street parties and carcades all over the Maltese Islands.




Friday, June 15, 2012

Near Miss Win 2012 Rolex Giraglia



''NEAR MISS'' winner of the 2012 Giraglia Photo courtesy of Kurt Arrigo for Rolex from www.regattanews.com



''Near Miss'' a TP 52, helmed by Karol Jablonski an America's Cup sailor, was declared winner of the 2012 Rolex Giraglia race. They sailed superbly throughout the whole week and showed they are a very impressive team not to be taken lightly.
It was definitley a big boat race this year with ''Esimit'' knocking off 3hours from the old record. Quite an achievement!
The 40 knot winds caused alot of boats to retire - especially the smaller sized ones. Infact there were over 50 retirements from the fleet of 170 boats.

Praise has to be given to ARTIE RTFX who made it in excellent time for just a 40 footer and the other Maltese crew aboard OTRA VEZ came in 2 places behind. Their final positions were 32nd and 34th from the 170 strong fleet. 

The ARTIE crew all agreed it was a tremendously exciting and challenging race and feel satisfied at being at the front of the small boats to make it across the finishing line.

Next stop for ARTIE? The Rolex Middle Sea Race where they will be the defending crew.



Big Boats Dominate in 2012 Rolex Giraglia Race





Photos curtesy of Kurt Arrigo for Rolex on www.regattanews.com



Top is ARTIE RTFX rounding the Giraglia Rock, Esimit on it's arrival in San Remo winning line honours. Near Miss right now is the unofficial winner.


Unfortunately we were unable to follow the race closely since participants did not have tracking devices on their boats this year. Nevertheless, through the various networks of people, facebook and messaging we kept each other in touch with what we thought was going on during the past two days racing of the Giraglia.
It was a wild and exciting race with 40 knot winds. Plenty of retirements and I would imagine breakages too. Fortunately ARTIE did not have any more breakages and had a thrilling race. They have placed 32nd overall and were the 1st small boat in (I stand to be corrected on that!). 
Due to the very high winds it was definitely a big boat race this year - from what I heard last year they had very light winds and the event was won by Foxy Lady a 38 footer.

I got the feeling the ARTIE team were very happy with their performance during this event and it was a terrific experience for most crew members as this was the first big race of this kind outside Maltese homeground (apart from the MIDDLE SEA RACE that is).




Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Start of the Main Giraglia Race Today



Photos by Kurt Arrigo for Rolex. Article taken from www.timesofmalta.com




Maltese boats Otra Vez and Artie compete in the main event of the 2012 Giraglia Rolex Cup today.
The crews of the J/122s are well prepared and are hoping for a good showing for Malta among the prestigious fleet in the 241-nautical mile race from St Tropez to San Remo through La Giraglia.
Yesterday, both crews chose to rest and save their equipment due to very high wind conditions.
Lee Satariano's Artie, co-skippered by Christian Ripard, and Aaron and Edward Gatt Floridia's Otra Vez performed well in the two inshore races earlier this week, placing among the big boats. Artie placed an excellent sixth in the first leg from San Remo to St Tropez.
Forecasts for today show very strong conditions for the first half of the race to the Giraglia Rock and it will be a testing time for boats and crews, Otra Vez's Sean Arrigo told timesofmalta.com.
"Both crews are prepared and the boats are ready for one of the most prestigious races on the yachting calendar," Arrigo said yesterday. "The Maltese boats are giving a good account of themselves, and doing their best to repeat the good performance in the Rolex Middle Sea Race."
The crews of Artie and Otra Vez, who placed first and third overall in last year's Rolex Middle Sea Race, are also hoping their participation in the 60th edition of the Giraglia Rolex Cup will go some way to promoting the 2012 Rolex Middle Sea Race which starts in the Grand Harbour in October.




Monday, June 11, 2012

ARTIE has a good day at the Giraglia 2012



The above pics were taken by Dave Latham who is also racing in the Giraglia onboard his Pronavia 38 ''Seawolf of Southampton''. Dave is a Middle Sea Race regular and runs RYA courses at ATLANTIC CHARTERS in Gibraltar.





ARTIE had a better day today coming in 6th in their class of 72 boats. That makes them 4th overall in their class right now. Wind conditions were strong again today and the forecast for tomorrow is even stronger. There may be a chance that if the wind is too strong they will cancel the race.







First Inshore Race of Giraglia Week 2012


Photo by Kurt Arrigo for Rolex



I think the above photo is amazing - taken by our very own home grown sailing photographer KURT ARRIGO


Yesterday saw the start of the first inshore race in St. Tropez in very breezy conditions. Our lads on ARTIE, unfortunately, it seems did not have such a good start but I reckon they must have made up for some of that as they still managed to come in a very creditable 16th position overall in the race and at present stand 4th in their class.

The other Maltese boat racing - also a J122 like ARTIE - is Otra Vez. It looks like they came in one place ahead of ARTIE yesterday. I am reckoning that there will be another competition going on at the same time as the Giraglia and that will be a private one between ARTIE and OV. Whatever the outcome I am quite sure they will both be able to keep their heads held high and return to Malta proving that our sailors are capable of putting Malta on the map in more ways than one.

Today the inshore race was due to start early at 9am. Forecast for today is also strong winds. As each day comes and goes this week there are many back home eagerly awaiting the results of the day.





Saturday, June 09, 2012

Start of the Giraglia Week - 1st Race Artie Provisionally 6th



Well the first race of the Giraglia week is over and the provisional results are out showing ARTIE to be in 6th place IRC overall. A good result! Winds it seems were up and down throughout the night and morning.
This first race started out from San Remo in Italy at midnight last night and they raced through the night and finished late morning in St. Tropez, France.

They have a tough week of racing ahead. The programme is as follows:

Sunday 10th to Tuesday 12th Inshore racing
Wednesday 13th The Giraglia (around 240 miles long)
Friday 15th  Prize Giving


Bus Riding Cat


THIS SORT OF THING CAN ONLY HAPPEN IN ENGLAND!



Bus riders in Bridport, Dorset, England often have an unusual companion on their way to and from work each day an adventurous, 15-year-old cat named Artful Dodger. Dodger, a beautiful orange tabby, regularly boards the bus at the stop near his house and takes a 10-mile round trip, much to the amusement of the bus passengers and drivers. Sometimes, Dodger even hops on a lucky riders lap for a cuddle. The bus drivers and regular passengers know Dodger, and always make sure he gets off at his stop at the end of each journey.
Some passengers even bring Dodger food and treats each day. Dodgers owner, Fee Jeanes, said she was extremely surprised when she discovered the cat's secret life. One of her daughters friends said she saw Dodger on bus 10 miles from the familys home. Fee tells the London Telegraph, "I couldn't believe it and panicked. I got into my car to go off and look for him and then at that moment the bus pulled up near our house and lo and behold he got off. She soon found out that wasn't the first time Dodger had gone cruising the city by mass transit.
"That afternoon I saw Dodger climb on board another bus and I rushed to tell the driver. I was shocked when she told me Dodger was always on there and liked to sit on the seats because they are warm from where people have been sitting. The bus company, first, told the Telegraph that they dont mind if Dodger hitches a ride with them, saying, "Given this cat is elderly we suspect it would be eligible for free travel, perhaps a bus puss, if such a thing existed."




Sunday, June 03, 2012

Queen's Diamond Jubillee


The Pageant Route taken from www.boat.com


Taken from www.flickr.com

Queen insepcting the Gloriana
taken from The Daily Mail 


The Spirit of Chartwell
Taken from The Daily Mail




Only the Brits can create, or should I say recreate, all the pomp and pageantry of yesteryear. There is nothing quite like the British monarchy and now with the Diamond Jubillee we are fortunate enough to witness all of this wherever we are in the world. Although the main focus, at time of typing, is on the River Thames, there are garden parties, street parties and events of all sorts happening throughout England. It is a rare opportunity when most of the English population comes together to celebrate a remarkable event with a remarkable woman at centre stage.


May I add that there is even  a street party going on as I type in the Citadella in Gozo.You can read more about it on this LINK




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