The Gibraltar-Morocco Yacht Rally is now into its 14th year, and this spring sees the usual excitement building as the organisers prepare for what has become known as a fun and friendly sailing event that has continued to grow in stature over its lifetime.
The main headline sponsors are Ocean Village Marina, where the Rally will begin, and Boatshed Gibraltar, who are one of the most successful brokerages in the global Boatshed group. Also the Gibraltar Tourist Board has offered its full support to help promote the Rally, which undoubtedly boosts Gibraltar’s image as a sailing destination in the eyes of the world.
In addition to being quite a competitive sailing event, the Rally also offers the participating sailors a weekend of fun whilst they are berthed in Port Marina Smir, Morocco. With the Rally falling on the last weekend of June it is hoped to attract as many as 50 yachts, and what makes it really interesting is the variation in type and size of boats that will be involved. Entry is open to both sail and motor yachts from modest day sailors through to fairly large vessels of over 20 metres. Competitors are charged a modest entry fee.
Thanks to Gregory Butcher, Chairman of Ocean Village, the event will get underway at Dusk Champagne Bar at 7pm on Thursday 26 June. Visiting yachts will be offered a free night’s berthing at Ocean Village Marina.
Next morning, on Friday 27 June, Ocean Village will be awash with the atmosphere of sailing camaraderie and breakfasting crew. Competitors will be expected to line up under starters orders at 1pm, between the RAF runway centreline buoy and one of the Gibraltar Squadron patrol boats, and the yachts will get underway for their 25 nautical mile trip to Port Marina Smir.
On Saturday the fun and games include a fancy dress competition and, for the first lucky 30 competitors to have signed up, a free trip to enjoy the delights of Tetouan. Others will have ample time to venture off alone and enjoy Smir’s beautiful golden beaches – complete with the occasional dozing camel.
On Saturday evening there will be a prize giving, with trophies awarded for fastest, and the more dubiously prestigious slowest boat. And amongst other awards, there will be prizes for the best fancy dress.