Stellar Line Up for the windsurfers Foiling 100 Challenge

A stellar line up of elite windsurfers is set to embark on the Foiling 100 Challenge – 100 being the distance in kilometres from Malta to Ragusa. This will be the longest single stage windfoil race in the world, and promises to push the boundaries of windsurfing athleticism and showcase the cutting-edge technology of foiling boards. 

Malta Young Sailors Club Commodore Mr Christian Bajada explained that the organizing team of the Malta Young Sailors Club boasts extensive experience in hosting international events such as Euromed and various sailing clinics throughout the year – this is in addition to the local ranking events sanctioned by the Malta Sailing Federation.  

The Club is bolstered by athletes with competitive experience in Olympic and World Championship arenas, ensuring the highest standards of professionalism and excellence in event execution who have been working tirelessly towards this event.  

In the stellar athlete lineup for the Foiling 100 challenge are Jean Paul Fleri Soler, who at 59 years of age is the eldest and most experienced of the fleet. Whilst fairly new to the IQ foil Class, he has represented Malta twice in 1988 (Seoul) and 1992 (Barcelona) Olympic Games and has won the Sicily-Malta Windsurf race three times. 

The Miggiani siblings, Karl (26) and Shaun (22) started sailing in this class four years ago. Karl set a new national sailing record in the final qualifying events leading up to this challenge. Thomas Zammit Tabona, aged 30, has a ton of experience in offshore sailing from a young age, being one of the youngest sailors to race in the Rolex Middle Sea Race and being part of the Elusive 2 crew in 2019.  

Competing alongside the Maltese sailors are three sailors from other countries: Germany, The Netherlands, and Poland. 

German Nico Prien is a professional windsurfer and president of the Professional Windsurfers’ Association. With several Championship titles to his name, he has been competing for the last 16 years and currently competes on the PWA World Tour.   Bob van de Burgt hails from The Netherlands. Competing in for the past nine years, he  is also a professional windsurfer, making his debut in the professional circuit in 2023. He currently ranks 22nd overall.  Polish Kamil Manowiecki is 22 years old is a multiple Polish Champion in various windsurfing categories, Silver medalist in RS:X European Championships and Bronze Medalist in the Formula World Championships. He is no stranger to local waters as he is currently studying locally. 

Principal Race Officer Andrew Wilson, who competed in windsurfing in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta explained the programme of events for the weekend.  The organising team has allocated thre days for the event to take place. Due to the ever changing weather conditions currently being experienced it was decided that the event will take Saturday and Sunday. The weather scenario is still fluid thus the organising team  might even push to race from Ragusa to Malta on Sunday. This potential change will not effect initial plans to race a distance of 100kms.  

Wilson went on to explain the backup system that will be present to ensure a safe passage for the athletes – this includes a lead boat for each participant as well as medical and safety teams on separate vessels to ensure the best response time should they need arise.  

Concluding the press conference was The Hon. Mr Chris Agius, Chairman of Yachting Malta, who warmly greeted those present and shared his enthusiasm about the Foiling 100 Challenge being the kickoff event for the 2024 Yachting Malta Race Week. He highlighted that this year’s event is set to be the largest yet since its inception 2021. He went on to explain that the Yachting Malta Race Week was the idea showcase for all sailing and yachting events in Malta and will include a Dinghy Ranking Regatta, Keelboat races and cruises as well as two recent initiatives – Steering the Course – a programme aimed towards attracting more women into sailing and inclusive sailing which will be taking place on World Sailing approved Hansa 303 class boats.  

Foiling 100 is being sponsored by Yachting Malta Ltd and supported by Visit Malta, Casa Amigos and Enemed.

Further support is being provided by DK Nautical, Gillieru Harbour Hotel, Malta Sailing Federation, Malta Yacht Charters, Mission Critical Solutions, Porto Turistico Marina di Ragusa S&D Yachts, Tenuta Bastonaca, Red Cross (Malta) and Severne.

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