With perfect weather and clear waters, sailing is considered an integral part of the islands’ identity.
A stroll along one of the many marinas that dot the shores of Malta and Gozo will quickly reveal just how much of a sailing nation Malta is. The sea is an integral part of the Islands’ identity and has been for centuries. Today, sailing in Malta is incredibly popular both for leisure and competition. Masts sway gently in the Mediterranean breeze while row upon row of pontoons with vessels of all sizes line the harbours from Msida to Mġarr.
For the leisure sailor without a boat, chartering is incredibly easy and well catered for.
Most local organisations offer both barebones and fully-skippered vessels, ranging from small dinghies to large vessels upwards of 50 feet. For a short weekend charter, the Maltese Islands are ideal. Their craggy and sheer coastlines reveal a number of bays and inlets that are inaccessible on foot, making these idyllic spots relatively peaceful even at the peak of Summer. The harbour at Mġarr, Gozo has plenty of mooring space and is well sheltered. It’s also home to some excellent restaurants, as well as shops for those extra provisions. Transport on Gozo is also very efficient, with a trip to the bustling capital of Victoria only a fifteen minute journey by bus from the harbour.
If your charter is for over a week, Malta’s location makes it ideal to combine a tour of the islands with a journey to neighbouring Sicily, only 180 KM away. With its excellent location, sailing enthusiasts with more time on their hands can take farther journeys to France, Croatia or Greece.
For the more competitive sailors, the Royal Malta Yacht Club (RMYC) is an excellent place to find out what races are on. While most are open to members only, becoming a member is straightforward enough. Apart from smaller races and family events, the RMYC plays host to one of the most prestigious sailing races in the world, the Rolex Middle Sea Race. This world-class race circuit attracts some of yacht racing’s finest crafts, taking them through breath-taking scenery around the islands of Lampedusa, Pantelleria, Sicily, through the Straits of Messina and back to Malta. Even if you’re not participating, there’s plenty of champagne to be had along the majestic bastions as the flotilla leaves the harbour.