Grand Harbour Freedom Day
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Malta’s Regatta has been going since the Middle Ages

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The Regatta has been held in Malta since the Middle Ages.

The first professional rowing challenge started in 1955.

Today, traditional regatta races are held twice a year, on 31 March to mark Freedom Day and on 8 September to celebrate Victory Day.

The Victory Day Regatta marks the end of the Great Siege of Malta in 1565 and the end of French occupation on Malta in 1800, as well as the armistice of the Fascist regime in Italy in 1943, which saw the end of the Italian bombardment of the Maltese Islands during the Second World War.

The programme offers four to five hours of spectacle, with the best crews forming part of the rowing teams from the cities bordering the Grand Harbour.

Cospicua, Kalkara, Marsa, Marsamxett, Senglea, Vittoriosa and also Birzebbuga take part in 10 races using traditional Maltese boats.

The top three placings in each race are awarded a number of points and at the end of the regatta, the club with the highest number of points is presented with the Aggregrate Shield.

The clubs can be recognised by their traditional colours which include red, white and blue for Birżebbuġa; light blue for Cospicua; green for Kalkara; red and blue for Marsa; yellow for Marsamxett; red and yellow for Senglea; and red for Vittoriosa.

The race course is set up in the Grand Harbour where the magnificent Fort St Angelo provides an imposing backdrop to the sleek rowing boats.

Over the years, tens of thousands of spectators have gathered along the water’s edge and the surrounding bastions to watch the races.

Our archive film footage dates back to 1969 and shows Lady Dorman, the wife of Governor-General Sir Maurice Dorman, presenting trophies to the winning team.

Have you ever taken part in the Regatta? We would love to hear your memories.

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