Read why Malta is a 'world-class destination for sailors and yachtsmen'.
COMMODORE GODWIN ZAMMIT of The Royal Malta Yacht Club explains why Malta is a world-class destination for sailors and yachtsmen.
The Maltese Islands are renowned for their stunning seascapes, which range from stretches of golden sand to dramatic cliffs – all framed by the extravagant blue of the Mediterranean Sea. So much so that Malta has been gaining ground in the area since the early 1990s.
“Although Malta’s cruise area is small, it’s a very interesting one, and I would say that there’s around a week’s worth of things to see all year round,” says the Commodore of the Royal Malta Yacht Club (RMYC), Godwin Zammit, who’s held his position for the past five years.
The Commodore, who took up sailing in his late teens, joined the RMYC 21 years ago and, within a few years, got roped into the committee of the Club, which was founded in 1835. Since then, the Commodore has served as Rear Commodore Racing and as the Race Committee Chairman of the Rolex Middle Sea Race, among many other roles in the international sailing world.
Today the RMYC, which still has the patronage of the British Monarchy, continues to follow the British system, by which the President of the RYMC is the Head of State of Malta, currently H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, the President of Malta. Traditionally, however, the Commodore would have been the Admiral of Malta, but the role is today assigned to a person who stands out in the industry and in the sport.
Asked about his favourite areas around the Maltese Islands, the Commodore mentions Golden Bay in the north west and Gnejna Bay in the west of Malta, both of which are surrounded by unspoilt countryside. While, in Gozo, he often ventures to Ramla Bay and Dwejra – “And, while the latter has lost one of its most picturesque landmarks, the Azure Window, it is still worth a visit by boat, particularly the little-known-about lagoon right behind Fungus Rock,” he explains.
The Commodore’s other favourite spot is Comino, the Maltese Archipelago’s smallest inhabited island which is home to the world-famous Blue Lagoon, where the waters are incredibly clear. Once one of the Mediterranean’s best-kept secrets, the anchorages here get relatively busy in the summer nowadays, but the views are gorgeous nonetheless.
“Around the Mediterranean, there are so many beautiful places that, realistically, you’ll be spoilt for choice in this part of the world,” adds the Commodore. “Cruising around on a boat is a great way of seeing the Maltese Islands in all their glory. Personally, however, I enjoy it as I feel at one with nature, and I have to change my plan according to what’s happening around me, which makes the outing that much more exciting.”
Due to its size, Malta’s seascape hotspots can also be seen on a one-day cruise. And, for this, the Commodore’s recommendation is to leave from the East Coast, near Sliema, and head North towards Comino and Gozo, before turning back and taking in all the Hollywoodesque cliffs that lead to Gnejna Bay.
Of course, Malta is also famous for its races, particularly the highly-rated Rolex Middle Sea Race, which is a true challenge for skippers and crews as they have to cope with the changeable and demanding conditions.
“Racing gives you an objective when sailing,” says the Commodore, who is an old-hand at the sport. “It makes sailing more interesting by pushing you to get your knowledge and technique in order. This race is a favourite in the world of sailing, and many of our foreign friends come to Malta just to take part.”
Whatever your plan is when it comes to sailing or yachting in Malta, no one needs to feel left out – be it novice or master. The RYMC, in fact, also has its own Sailing School, which it founded two years ago. Although still new, the school has been fairly successful in getting children and older members to sign up, and it currently has basic courses in sailing with more set to open by the end of this year.
At the RYMC, there are also berthing facilities for visiting yachtsmen with boats of up to 20-metres in length; and the Club accepts members from numerous other yacht clubs from all over the world with whom the Club has reciprocal agreements. Whether you’ll be using the RYMC’s facilities or not, however, it’s important to remember to book a berth as far in advance as possible, particularly as the 2,000 berths around the islands are practically full at any given time of the year.
The beauty of Malta is often amplified when going out to sea, particularly as leaving the more urban areas in the centre behind will give you a unique viewing point of an island that is, geologically and naturally, a wonderful sight to behold. So whatever your preferences, we’d definitely recommend a cruise around the islands!
Island Bay, known by locals as Il-Hoffriet, is situated near Delimara in the South of Malta. The name is derived from the fact that, nestled between the two bays here, is a little island where those in-the-know head to sunbathe.
Fomm ir-Rih, which lies near Bahrija, is the most isolated bay in Malta. While it is possible to get to it on foot, it can only be properly appreciated from the sea.
The Grand Harbour in Valletta may not be a secret spot as such, but it’s worth seeing from the sea, particularly as it’s one of the very few ways to truly appreciate the architecture of the fortifications.
Published TEMPLE Magazine 2018
Copyright: Temple Concierge Ltd.
Content supplied: Royal Malta Yacht Club
Images Copyright: Photos by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo