Friday, 18 March 2016 20:39

Candidate 2018 - Marsala visit report

Report of the President's visit to Marsala, Sicily in February 2016, for their candidacy for the 2018 Finn World Masters.

Situated on the furthest corner of Sicily the town has evolved over many years, the earliest settlements date back to the Punics, Romans, Arabs and Normans. Evidence of the history is scattered around the area and provides a fascinating place to visit. At the end of the 18th Century several families of English Merchants settled down in the town and so the wine industry began. Marsala is famous for its wine, a high quality spirited brew, similar to sherry/port or mead; it has taste of its own and is very nice too.

Just a short way down the coast is the fascinating Stagnone Lagoon, a mecca for kitesurfers. There are also the salt pans, windmills and Islands of Mozia and Long Island.

Sailing Club

Established in 1973 the club has hosted a number of Championships including the Italian Finn Masters.

The club is located around 1,000 meters from the bustle of the town. The club, the Circolo Velico Marsala, has facilities adjacent to the open sea. The north-westerly aspect provides a great viewing point to the race course, with slipway access from three locations.

On the right hand boundary is a large amount of open space and it is proposed to place the motorhomes here in a secure open area overlooking the sea. There is also a compound area for trailer storages.

Currently there is a large long metal building to the south of the club, which has shower and changing facilities, although it was pointed out that a new building will be in place by 2018.

The outdoor bar and restaurant facilities are more than adequate and it is proposed to host the annual dinner at the club in the outdoors restaurant area.

The club has the use of the facilities of a large school across the road and in previous events has held the prizegiving and opening ceremonies in the grounds here.

There is ample parking around the club.

A ladies programme will be held for Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

Accommodation

The nearest accommodation to the club is rental apartments. The town seems to be geared up for holiday rentals and the small research that we did, shows it to be very reasonably priced. Whilst we were there we stayed in a 2-bedroom apartment close to the club, in a small block of other apartments that was currently being used by a youth Laser sailing team from Palermo. The access to the club is around 100 metres away.

There are also a number of hotels in and around the town, but it’s important to note that this is not a recognised holiday hotel resort. Holidays here seem to be self-catering apartment based.

The hotels that we did visit were all making use of an existing buildings such as a winery or a Convent. They were very nice, but you may need a car to get to the club, around 1km distance. There are many more nice and interesting places to stay further afield.

As mentioned earlier, there is motorhome and touring caravan facilities next to the club, but there are no campsites in the area for tents.

Bars and restaurants

The town has a huge number of bars and restaurants, many in the pretty Venetian styled streets and plazas. The Sicilian’s love their food and wine and this is apparent everywhere. A typical evening out would be no more than €20 a head, fresh pizza at €6, some splendid fresh fish dishes and of course the local wine at very reasonable prices. It’s safe to say that you could eat out at a different restaurant every day, for lunch and dinner.

Transport

The two closest airports are Palermo (100 km, 1hr drive). There is a smaller airport is at Trapani Birgi (10km 20 min drive). Both have a large number of budget airlines from across Europe.

There is also a train from Palermo to Marsala, and a bus from Palermo and Trapani.

Beaches

The beaches in the area are located to the southern side of the town around 5km away. There are a number of Lidos which looked like they accommodated sunbeds and outdoor bar areas. We did visit out of season so you may want to do more research in this to satisfy your partners for their holiday.

The club will also have sunbed facilities, adjacent to the sea.

Extending your stay

Should you wish to extend your stay there are many places worth a visit. I can recommend the lagoon area with the fascinating salt pans. It’s also possible to catch a small foot passenger ferry and visit the neighbouring Islands in the lagoon. It’s a must to visit Floria Winery, where the famous Marsala wine is produced. We were also taken to the amazing Baglio Oneto resort, with a commanding hiitop view of Marsala and Trapani, and which produces, as do many establishments here, its own wine and olive oil. There are many historic sites in the area and the Sicilian countryside is vast and beautiful.

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