ITALY (eTN) – The Italian calendar of sailing boat races and trophies has been enriched by the Ignazio Florio Challenge Trophy (IFCT) whose 5th year celebration will take place from September 15-18, 2010 on the Island of Favignana in Sicily.
The number of competing boats is foreseen to be around 40 due to limited space at the harbor. Participation is upon invitation, however, anyone may apply at www.ycf.it and wait for a decision from the organizer. Among the top skippers will be Matteo Miceli, who holds the record for Atlantic navigation, and Andrea Fornaro, winner of the Giraglia Rolex Cup 2009. Both will make their run for the Yacht Club Favignana (YFC) colors.
The race promises to offer three days of feasting and amusement, with the climax of the race happening on the night of the pricing ceremony on September 18. Attendance is expected to be around 2,000 people, of which 1,000 guests will be top personalities from the political, institutional, and entertainment sectors, making for an unforgettable island experience brimming with merriment.
Among the many sailing boat events taking place in Italy, this even has perhaps become the most unique. Under the guidance of Ms. Chiara Zarlocco, president of the YCF, it smoothly reached a level of success among not only top Italian champions and sailing enthusiasts but also members of the most prestigious yacht clubs on the peninsula.
Given the fact that sailing boats at sea are all similar, the uniqueness of the YCF is due solely to the venue: Favignana, a small fisherman’s island that acquired celebrity for its centuries old “Mattanza” of the tuna fish (the traditional, but cruel ritual of killing the tuna trapped in nets known as the room of death) for the delight of the Japanese, who imported most of it for their sushi. This centuries-old tradition has been temporarily stopped due to European Union (EU) directives on fishing quotas designed to allow re-population of the sea. The lack of the Mattanza, also a great tourist event, has created an unbalance in revenue income for the area. The event, which is a natural and basic source of living for the islanders, is also included in the UNESCO non-material heritage traditions that Chiara Zarlocco, under the hat of trader for the fisheries, is fighting to reinstate. “We organize the Mattanza according the traditional rituals of local generation old music, chants, and, most important, respecting the environment,” said Ms. Zarlocco.
Favignana is where the largest tuna fishery in Sicily can be found. Its magnificent vintage construction, which was smartly restored, has been converted to host top-class conventions and social gatherings. The IFCT is named after the owner of the island and founder of the Marsala Florio brand – a sweet wine – whose family has produced the famed nectar for generations.
Favignana (Aegusa) is part of the Sicilian Aegadian Islands comprising the islands of Levanzo, (Phorbantia), Marettimo the ancient Iera Nesos, and the two minor Formica (ant) and Maraone.
There is evidence of Neolithic and even Paleolithic paintings in caves of Levanzo and to a lesser extent of Favignana.
The three islands are positioned in the Mediterranean Sea off the northwest coast of Sicily, Italy, a few miles opposite the city of Trapani. These islands were the scene for the Battle of the Aegates Islands of 241 BC, in which the Carthaginian fleet was defeated by C. Lutatius Catulus, the engagement ending the First Punic War. With the end of western Roman power, the islands, to the extent that they were governed at all, were part of the territories of Goths, Vandals, and Saracens, before the Normans fortified Favignana in 1081.The islands belonged to the Pallavicini-Rusconi family of Genoa until 1874, when they were bought by the Florio family of Palermo. With a total area of 14.46 square miles, the three islands count some 4,600 inhabitants.
The “Journalists in Stew” competition has been added to this 5th edition of the Ignazio Florio Challenge Trophy to give it added excitement and entertainment. “Only journalists [who] cook with a passion may sit [for] the exam. It will be an experience to watch their raids among cooking utensils and stoves,” said Ms. Chiara Zarlocco. Cooks may dig into the available raw materials offered by the sea and the land of Sicily to select their ingredients, adding just a bit of imagination and desire to impress in the kitchen.
The award is an affirmation of the international competitiveness of “Made in Italy, Made in Trapani” and in particular, environmental sustainability, creating a relationship of trust and respect with customers through the enhancement of food traditions, and rediscovering and protecting the Mediterranean heritage.
“The cuisine, as [a] cultural matter, has [the] feature of legitimacy and pride. A dish specifically described – and cooked – by a table companion [as] cultured and witty as a journalist can be – can awake interest without pedantry [if] he is ironic and light, without being short for anything. I wonder if our journalists will make it?” concluded the president of YCF.