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Sailing: The Fifth Gibraltar Morocco Yacht Rally

One of Gibraltar’s most popular marinebased events, the Gibraltar Morocco Yacht Rally took place over the weekend of 2 to 5 June 2006. This was the fifth Rally and each year sees an increasing number of participants this year was no exception with recordbreaking 41 entrants.

For the first time, the Rally was sponsored by Ocean Village and each entrant received crew clothing and a unique Rally pennant courtesy of the developer. “But its not just about the crossing to Morocco,” enthused rally organiser Derek Pennington. “Our Rally has the reputation of being the world’s most sociable yachting event.” The Rally got off to a great start with the HMS Sabre of the Gibraltar Squadron signaling the commencement of the Rally off the North Mole at Friday lunchtime. It was a spectacular sight as all boats were required to have a sail up at the start.

Ocean Village’s involvement could not have come at a better time, following the recent announcement of their plans to purchase Marina Bay and continue their investment in the marina and surrounding facilities. It is their vision to improve the marina area and facilities to compete with other Spanish Mediterranean yacht marinas, which are often overcrowded.

On the eve of the start on Thursday 2 June, Greg Butcher, Chairman of Ocean Village, addressed the Skipper’s Briefing at The Ship in Marina Bay. “When I was asked to support the Rally, I had little hesitation. It is events such as these yacht rallies, regattas, even powerboat racing and other marina based activities that I would like to promote and plan to stage in and around Ocean Village in the future. Indeed, Gibraltar deserves events such as these and they give us the opportunity to show the wider community our wonderful marina and the facilities we are developing here.”

He continued “I believe we can and should compete with other Spanish Mediterranean yacht marinas and be able to promote Gibraltar as one of yachting’s prime destinations.”

There was one alteration to the weekend’s activities…the popular dinghy races and water games in Marina Sir had to be cancelled due to the marina having a visitation of hundreds of jellyfish ! However, this did not damp enthusiasm for other activities such as the Moroccan Feast on arrival in Morocco on Friday evening and a huge BBQ on Saturday evening on the quayside of Marina Smir, during which there was the prizegiving ceremony. Two specially engraved trophies made by Gibraltar Crystal were presented to the first sailing yacht to arrive in Morocco, Allan McCashin’s Bombay Sapphire, and the first motorboat, Stephen Olivares’ Liskana. While these two trophies were proudly received, there were also prizes for the best cocktail, youngest and oldest skippers, first dolphin sighting and even best female crew !

A fantastic mix of serious yachting, fun and socialising, the GibraltarMorocco Yacht Rally has gone from strength to strength and there are already enquiries being made for the next one with every anticipation of an even bigger event.


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