Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Seven days of thrilling racing

October 29, 2012


On the morning of October 20, 2012, the Saluting Battery, high up in Valletta, signalled the start of the 33rd Rolex Middle Sea Race.
A record entry of 83 yachts from 19 countries started the 606-mile race witnessed by thousands of spectators crowded along the bastions overlooking the Grand Harbour.
The Slovenian Maxi, Esimit Europa 2, was to take line honours for the third consecutive year. However, it would be seven days before the last yacht would cross the finish line.
It was on day four that the 100-ft Maxi, Esimit Europa 2, crossed the finish line at 01:13.15 CEST. Jochen Schümann showered the Maxi crew with champagne dockside at the Royal Malta Yacht Club.
“That was a tough one,” explained Schümann. “We got caught up by Ran and Stig in the first parking lot at Stromboli but it was by no means the last.
“Our goal was line honours and it was impossible to relax during any part of the race.
“We are delighted to have taken line honours and finish off a great season in style.”
It was nearly seven hours before Niklas Zennstrom’s JV 72, Ran ,crossed the finish line, setting the bar for the rest of the fleet to better after time correction. Ran put in a magnificent performance to lead a highly competitive Class 1 and lay claim to an overall win but overall victory was to escape them.
In the early hours of day five, a massive thunderstorm and torrential rain engulfed Malta. Nick Lazos and Periklis Livas’ Farr 52, Optimum 3 Aspida reached the finish line at 03:00 to lead Class Two and the Rolex Middle Sea Race overall.
However, the Greek team’s tenure on this extraordinary race was very short-lived. At 04:18 Eddie De Villiers’s Welbourne 46, Hi Fidelity, completed the race to take the overall lead.
In driving rain with thunderbolts lighting up the bastions, the South African crew looked astonished to find out that they were hot favourites to win the overall prize.
“We didn’t have a clue how well we were doing until we finished, it is unbelievable,” exclaimed Hi Fidelity’s owner, Eddie De Villiers.
“The crew have been absolutely fantastic, I cannot give them enough praise. This has been one hell of a race, we have had just about everything thrown at us.
“Coming through the Comino Strait there was a terrific amount of thunder and lightning, it was all around us and the wind touched 37 knots.
“To come through the finish and find out that we have such a great result is amazing!”
By the afternoon of day five, it became clear that none of the yachts still racing could better Hi Fidelity’s corrected time and the latter were announced as the overall winners.
The team from South Africa became the ninth different country to provide a winner of the Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy joining yachts from Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, the United Kingdom and the United States.
In the early hours of day six, Josef Schultheis’ and Paolo Semeraro’s Xp44, XP-ACT, crossed the finish line. The team had come close to beating Hi Fidelity but had to settle for a win in Class 3 and third overall.
XP-ACT had three Maltese crew on board. However, Artie RTFX, with an all-Malta crew, became the first Maltese boat to cross the finish line and win Class 4.
Artie RTFX co-skipper Christian Ripard spoke dockside: “We did our best, it was a great race and everybody did a great job working really hard but we just kept on getting stuck in patches of no wind, which was very frustrating.”
On day 7, the Rolex Middle Sea Race came to a fairytale conclusion for the Irish Two Handed team racing Dinah.
There were emotional scenes at The Royal Malta Yacht Club as Irish sailors Barry Hurley and Andrew Boyle sailed home in their 35ft yacht to win the double handed class, finishing just 25 minutes inside the time limit after seven days of tense racing.

Under starter’s orders… the Mdina Grand Prix

October 12, 2012


It was pedal to the metal as the Mdina Grand Prix got under way yesterday with the Mtaħleb Hill Climb.
A convoy of classic cars left the Hilton in St Julian’s at 8.30am, turning heads across the island as they sped towards Mtaħleb for the start of this year’s event.
There were more than enough classic vehicles taking part to rev the engines of vintage car lovers, including eight Bugattis, a 1933 Alfa Romeo 6C and a convertible Porsche 356.
Many of the participants have come from overseas especially for this popular street race, now in its fourth year.
The action continues today with the Mdina Glass Concours d’Elegance, which will once again be held in the Silent City’s Cathedral Square.
Live classical music and car owners in period outfits will add to the festive atmosphere.
Tomorrow morning’s practice will take place on the 2.2-kilometre track below the Mdina bastions: an exciting circuit featuring fast straights and demanding corners. Drivers will be timed in the afternoon to determine the winner.
The race climaxes on Sunday with 80 cars vying to take the chequered flag first. Participants will have two runs in the morning and two in the afternoon to determine who will be spraying the champagne on the final podium.
Demonstration runs by classic motorbikes and supercars are also expected on Sunday.

I love you Malta – grazzi, says Laura

August 3, 2012


Italian star who has sold over 45million albums across the world performs some of her greatest hits at a sparkling concert in Ta’ Qali where she got a warm welcome

Italian singer Laura Pausini returned to the Maltese islands to give yet another show-stopping performance on Wednesday night.

Numerous fans packed the open-air grounds at the MFCC, in Ta’ Qali, to welcome back the artist who had given a successful concert here in 2009.

The singer performed some of her most popular hits such as La solitudine and Strani amori and numbers from her latest album, Inedito.

Video projections and costume changes complemented the performances.

The artiste showed her warmer side as she interacted with the audience continuously during the one-and-a-half-hour show. She also dabbled in Maltese, telling the crowd “inħobbokom” (I love you) on a number of occasions and “grazzi ħafna” (thanks a lot), among other phrases.

“It was a fantastic show,” said one fan, “despite some minor hitches”. The concert began about half an hour late because of some lighting problems. “This left the stage somehow dark,” according to the concert-goer.

Ever since winning the 1993 edition of the Sanremo festival with La Solitudine, Pausini has sold over 45 million albums throughout the world, winning three Latin Grammy Awards.

She is not only loved in Italy but also Spain, France, The Netherlands and as far away as South America.

Her latest world tour, titled Inedito like her latest release, is directed by Marco Balich, creator of the Winter Olympics’ ceremonies in Turin in 2006 and the inauguration of the Juventus stadium last summer.

The set was designed by Mark Fisher, who has worked with Pink Floyd and U2.

Night at the popera

July 9, 2012


Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja returned to his Floriana stage on Saturday night for a concert before thousands of people on the Granaries.
The annual concert by the internationally-renowned tenor is held every summer, bringing together pop and opera. The formula is a crowd-pleaser year in, year out.
This year’s line-up included the Neapolitan singer-songwriter Gigi D’Alessio and Irish heart-throb and former Boyzone lead singer Ronan Keating. Both performed duets with Mr Calleja. The 200-strong HSBC children’s choir also took part.
Among the best received numbers were Hallelujah, sung jointly by Calleja, Keating and the choir – which got an encore – as well as Because You’re Mine, You Raise Me Up and Brindisi.
Keating’s single When You Say Nothing at All, which was featured in the film Notting Hill and peaked at number one in several countries, got a huge cheer from the audience.
The choir was particularly applauded for its beautiful rendering of the Anvil Chorus, which kicked off the second part of the concert.
Several of the musical arrangements were made by Kevin and Paul Abela
Mr Calleja was also joined on stage by soprano Gillian Zammit and Amber, fresh from the Eurovision Song Contest where she was part of Kurt Calleja’s team.
The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra was directed by the internationally acclaimed conductor Steven Mercurio, who has collaborated with Mr Calleja on his new album, a tribute to opera star Mario Lanza.
The concert included a moving tribute to Lucio Dalla, who was in Malta last year shortly before he passed away suddenly.
The concert was organised by NnG Promotions and supported by HSBC, Vodafone and Allied Newspapers.

Record-breaking 80 entries registered Previous best was 77 in 2008

October 13, 2011

A record has been broken even before the start of the Rolex Middle Sea Race on October 22, it was announced yesterday.

Days before final registration for this year’s event, entries have risen to a record-breaking 80 and there are still a few days to go before the last entry can be accepted.

New entries from Italy, Serbia, Slovenia and the UK have pushed the numbers up to 80, three more than the previous record of 77 in 2008.

“We can accept late entries up until October 17 and we do expect one or two more, said Georges Bonello Dupuis, Commodore of the Royal Malta Yacht Club.

“As it is, entries for this year are incredible and we are really looking forward to seeing them all berthed outside our headquarters… the place will be buzzing,” he added.

A handful of boats are here, including previous RMSR line honours and overall winner, Alegre together with back-to-back Rolex Fastnet winner Ran 2.

Other arrivals include the UK Swan 57 Yellowdrama, who’ll be fighting for the new Nautor Swan Cup, Echo, Doppelbock (Germany and UK) and Filando and Tyke from Italy.

Filando’s 14-man crew are here for the first time to take part in a race that they consider “the best offshore regatta in the Mediterranean.”

Many of the entries will arrive this weekend, including the brand new 85-foot Nautor Swan Berenice, from Italy.

While good weather over the weekend will ease the passage of arriving yachts, Bonello Dupuis cautioned: “I expect one or two might have problems but fingers crossed that everyone arrives here safely… they will certainly receive a warm welcome.”

The Rolex Middle Sea Race is organised in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and has been sponsored by Rolex since 2002.

75 Attractions in One Night

October 2, 2011


The usually quiet evening streets of Valletta were turned into a vibrant festival of the arts, history and culture on Saturday, as Notte Bianca went through its sixth edition.

The capital’s streets and buildings were illuminated especially for the occasion, with 75 attractions and places of interest to choose from and about 500 people taking part.

Theatre lovers got a sneak peak into Renzo Piano’s as yet unfinished roofless theatre and were able to watch performances in the opera house ruins.

On the musical front, the sounds of rock, blues, indie, jazz and traditional music coming from several squares and gardens mingled with marching bands and orchestras.

A number of museums were also open to the public free of charge.

At the Lascaris War Rooms, which are currently undergoing renovation, the Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna tour guides joked about how they rarely saw Maltese people down in the underground chambers during the rest of the year but were overwhelmed by the number of locals on the night. Numerous bars and restaurants took advantage of the hungry crowds and stayed open beyond their normal hours.

While the organisers had appealed to visitors to enter Valletta through different routes other than Republic Street due to the ongoing construction works, it seems that not everyone followed their advice, with large crowds attempting to make their way through the narrowed passage that used to lead to the capital from City Gate.

The bottleneck proved too much for some, with one elderly woman seen whacking her way through the crowd with her walking stick.

Meanwhile, an Arriva spokesman said the company ferried more than 30,000 passengers on its special services between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. during Saturday’s event.

While there were large crowds, Arriva and Transport Malta had staff on hand to direct those wanting to take the bus to the relevant stops and mobile ticket sellers to help make boarding quicker.

Special routes labelled A to K were put on for the evening to make sure all passengers could make the journey home.

Air show booms despite bus driver strike – Times of Malta

September 26, 2011

The aerobatic teams from two countries – the Swiss Airforce PC7 and the Italy’s famed Frecce Tricolori – gave spectacular displays as part of the 19th Malta International Airshow over the weekend. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

The aerobatic teams from two countries – the Swiss Airforce PC7 and the Italy’s famed Frecce Tricolori – gave spectacular displays as part of the 19th Malta International Airshow over the weekend. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

The last day of the Malta International Airshow welcomed as many visitors as it had in previous years despite the fact that public transport between Valletta and the event was stopped due to industrial action.

Joe Ciliberti, president of the Malta Aviation Society, which organises the yearly weekend airshow, said it had its own transport arrangements from the capital city and was never banking on Arriva.

The General Workers’ Union said its industrial action was due to the company’s “intransigence”, calling on Arriva to continue discussions to find a solution so it would not have to resort to further action. It apologised for any inconvenience caused to the public, while thanking the workers for their solidarity and for following its directive.

Meanwhile, cars streamed to the airshow, where visitors could enjoy a wide variety of aircraft, including helicopters, business jets and a World War II vintage Dakota DC-3. The static display at Malta International Airport included anything from diminutive microlights to Hercules transport behemoths.

But one of the main attractions remained the Libyan participation, with its air force’s Mirage F1, flown to Malta by a defecting pilot in February, the BAe 146 and Antonov 26 – civilian aircraft that played crucial, behind-the-scenes, military roles during the Libya uprising.

The 19th edition also saw several firsts, including the aerobatic teams from not one, but two countries.

Next year’s air show celebrates its 20th anniversary, as well as the 70th of the end of Malta’s involvement in World War II, so it is intended to be a special event.

For further information, kindly contact 77 Great Estates on (00356) 2721 7777; (00356) 9944 7444; skype: info.77GreatEstates or

Zucchero scores a hat-trick – Times of Malta

August 1, 2011

It may have been Zucchero’s third concert in Malta last Saturday but neither Italy’s best-selling artiste nor his audience seems to have tired of his performances.

The 55-year-old Italian singer, whose career spans three decades and more than one generation, energetically took to the open-air stage at the Malta Fairs and Convention Centre in Ta’ Qali as part of Chocabeck World Tour 2011.

In his trademark gritty and textured voice, he belted out songs from his latest album by the same name and also a number of timeless hits that are still as popular and arousing as they were when released years back.

Zucchero and his 13-piece live band thrilled the audience and seemed equally pleased to be back, returning on stage with an encore that included an extra, unplanned song.

He completed his concert, organised by Stand Out Events, with his international hit, Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime, and one of his greatest, chart-topping tracks, Senza una donna, both sang in English, as well as a tribute to his friend, the late tenor, Luciano Pavarotti, with Miserere.

The concert was a mixture of his soft and sensitive songs and the more upbeat and boisterous tracks, all performed with emotion, getting the audience to sit in silence, or stand up and dance, depending on the mood he aptly conveyed.

For further information, kindly contact 77 Great Estates on (00356) 2125 2455; (00356) 9944 7444; skype: info.77GreatEstates or

Santana entertains – The Times of Malta

July 26, 2011

Photo: Matthew Mirabelli­­

Mexican guitarist Carlos Santana – rock, salsa and jazz fusion pioneer – last night gave a concert to a packed audience at MFCC in Ta’Qali, previously scheduled for the Granaries in Floriana.

Forecast near-gale winds caused a last-minute change of concert venue.

Santana gave an excellent performance, which was very well received by the packed crowd.

The only sore note in the concert was when a section of the crowd started booing when TV personality Lou Bondi’ was shown on the big screen. Santana, who had been speaking at the time, looked shocked, thinking the booing was against him.

For further information, kindly contact 77 Great Estates on (00356) 2125 2455; (00356) 9944 7444; skype: info.77GreatEstates or

Furnibo, Jolly Drive win in Malta – Article from Times of Malta

June 13, 2011

Jolly Drive on their way to winning the second round of the Malta Ocean Grand Prix, yesterday. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

It was to be a war of attrition as the boats lined up for the second round of the UIM Malta Ocean Grand Prix, yesterday.

With teams battling sweltering heat and rough waters, the result was adrenaline-fuelled racing from start to finish in both the Evo and SuperSport classes.

In SuperSport, the FPT-powered Jolly Drive boat, of Federico Montanari, Alfredo Zanardo and Giambattista Gabriele, took early command, gaining traction off the line and leading their rivals at the first turn.

Despite a rather slow start, fellow Italians Karelpiu kept the pressure, closing the gap on the lead boat.

The lead then changed hands five times before Karelpiu forged ahead and the race win looked a formality at the half-way stage.

However, this is endurance racing and with the chequered flag almost in sight, driver Giuseppe Schiano di Cola fainted at the wheel, overcome with heat ex-haustion.

With his Fountain boat at a standstill it opened the door to Jolly Drive to take the win although the Valletta Ocean Grand Prix crown was won by Karelpiu who had secured victory in Saturday’s race.

Di Cola recovered swiftly following prompt attention from medics.

The close-fought action continued in the Evo class with Furnibo, piloted by Pierre Colpin and Frank Hemelaar, taking another scintillating win to claim the Grand Prix victory.

The Belgium team had fought hard with Swedish-Americans Lucas Oil throughout, both boats trading the lead on numerous occasions.

The first four laps were nail-biting and a tight finish looked a certainty until Lucas Oils lost power in one engine and were forced to limp home as the German Searex team closed in.

Despite the Hercules Sagemann boat being hampered by ignition problems before the race – causing the team to start from the back of the field – Douglas Verbanck and Siegfried Greve kept a steady nerve to eventually finish the race in second place.

British boat Silverline, of Drew Langdon and Miles Jennings, was forced to retire on the first lap with a broken torque sensor, a disappointing end to their weekend racing.

Attention now turns to Rounds 3 and 4 of the UIM Ocean Grand Prix World Endurance Championship, which takes place in Den Helder, Holland, over the weekend of August 5-7.

Evo Class: 1. Furnibo 40; 2. Lucas Oil 28; 3. Hercules Sagemann 23; 4. Silverline 12.
SuperSport Class: 1. Karelpiu 36; 2. Jolly Drive 32; 3. SIF 12.

For further information, kindly contact 77 Great Estates on (00356) 2125 2455; (00356) 9944 7444; skype: info.77GreatEstates or