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Kayaking

Kayaking is the use of a kayak for moving across water. It is distinguished from canoeing by the sitting position of the paddler and the number of blades on the paddle. A kayak is a low-to-the-water, canoe-like boat in which the paddler sits facing forward, legs in front, using a double-bladed paddle to pull front-to-back on one side and the other in rotation. Most kayaks have closed decks, although sit-on-top and inflatable kayaks are growing in popularity as well. Kayaks were created thousands of years ago by the Inuit known as Eskimos, of the northern Arctic regions, they used driftwood and sometimes the skeleton of whale, to construct the frame of the kayak, animal skin seal skin was used to create the body. The main purpose for creating the kayak, which translates to "hunter's boat" was for hunting and fishing; the kayak's stealth capabilities allowed for the hunter to sneak up behind animals on the shoreline and catch their prey. In the 1740s, Russian explorers led by Vitus Bering came in contact with the Aleutians, who had taken the basic kayak concept and developed multiple designs for hunting and environmental conditions.

They soon recognized the Aleutians were skillful at hunting sea otters by kayak. Because otters were a popular commodity in Europe and Asia, they would exploit and kidnap Aleutians and keep them aboard their ships to work and hunt. By the mid-1800s the kayak became popular and the Europeans became interested. German and French men began kayaking for sport. In 1931, Adolf Anderle was the first person to kayak down the Salzachöfen Gorge, believed to be the birthplace of modern-day white-water kayaking. Kayak races were introduced in the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936. In the 1950s, fiberglass kayaks were developed and used, until 1980s when polyethylene plastic kayaks were introduced. Kayaking progressed as a fringe sport in the U. S. until the 1970s, when it became a mainstream popular sport. Now, more than 10 white water kayaking events are featured in the Olympics. While kayaking represents a key international watersport, few academic studies have been conducted on the role kayaking plays in the lives and activities of the public Kayaks can be classified by their design and the materials from which they are made.

Each design has its specific advantage, including performance, manoeuvrability and paddling style. Kayaks can be made of metal, wood, plastic and inflatable fabrics such as PVC or rubber, more expensive but feather light carbon fiber; each material has its specific advantage, including strength, portability, resistance to ultraviolet and storage requirements. For example, wooden kayaks can be built by hand. Stitch and glue, plywood kayaks can be lighter than any other material except skin-on frame. Inflatable kayaks, made from lightweight fabric, can be deflated and transported and stored, are considered to be remarkably tough and durable compared to some hard-sided boats. There are many types of kayaks used in flat whitewater kayaking; the sizes and shapes vary drastically depending on what type of water to be paddled on and what the paddler would like to do. The second set of essentials for kayaking is an off-set paddle where the paddle blades are tilted to help reduce wind resistance while the other blade is being used in the water.

These vary in length and shape depending on the intended use, height of the paddler, the paddler's preference. Kayaks should be equipped with one or more buoyancy aid which creates air space that helps prevent a kayak from sinking when filled with water. A life jacket should be worn at all times, a helmet is often required for most kayaking and is mandatory for white water kayaking. Various other pieces of safety gear include a whistle for signaling for help. Proper clothing such as a dry suit, wetsuit or spray top help protect kayakers from cold water or air temperatures. "Sit on top" kayaks place the paddler in an shallowly-concave deck above the water level. This style is used for non-white water activities as most find it harder to stay inside the kayak while preventing them from "rolling" which allows the user to upright themselves if they flip over. There are some benefits to sit on tops such as the ability for a "dry hatch" these are a compartment, that runs the length of the kayak, which in addition to providing more buoyancy allows for the kayaker to store various equipment in.

"Sit on top" kayaks use "through holes" which allows any water that got in the boat to make it through the deck and dry hatch to drain. "Cockpit style" involves sitting with the legs and hips inside the kayak hull with a spray deck or "spray skirt" that creates a water-resistant seal around the waist. There is a wide range of "cockpit style" boats which allow for more user control of the boat as they are able to push against the walls of the boat to tip in order to complete maneuvers. A common variant of "cockpit style" kayaks are "play boats" these are very short kayaks in which the user does tricks and maneuvers: "Inflatables" are a hybrid of the two previous configurations; these boats are subject to more instability due to the way the boat sits higher in the water. They are used in a more commercial setting, they are affectionately called "Duckies". "Tandems" are configured for mul

Brussels Cycling Classic

The Brussels Cycling Classic is a semi classic European bicycle race, one of the oldest races on the international calendar. Paris–Brussels was first run on 12 August 1893 as an amateur event over a distance of 397 km, Belgian Andre Henry took the inaugural victory from compatriot Charles Delbecque with France's Fernand Augenault coming in third; the race did not return to the racing calendar until 1906 when it was run as a two-day event on 3 and 4 June. The first stage of this 1906 event was run from the Paris suburb of Villiers-sur-Marne to Reims over 152 km and was won by France's Maurice Bardonneau. Albert Dupont took the more challenging second stage on the following day from Reims to Brussels over 239 km to take the overall race victory from compatriots Jules Patou and Guillaume Coeckelberg; the following year the race reverted to being a one-day race and established itself as one of the Spring Classics with a date towards the end of April, between Paris–Roubaix and Gent–Wevelgem. The event lost its prestige during the 1960s when the race was beset by traffic problems between the two capitals and the Dutch promoted Amstel Gold Race took its place on the classics calendar.

The race was not run between 1967 and 1972. When the race returned in 1973 it was staged on a midweek date towards the end of September, just before Paris-Tours; the 1973 race was won by Eddy Merckx. In 1996 the race was switched from its midweek date back to being run on a Saturday; the most individual wins stood for a long time by Octave Lapize and Felix Sellier. Lapize won in 1911, 1912 and 1913 and Sellier in 1922, 1923 and 1924. Lapize could have been a four time winner but was disqualified after crossing the line first in the 1910 race when he and two other riders did not observe a mid race neutralised section, Maurice Brocco who crossed the line in fourth place was declared the eventual winner. In 2007, Robbie McEwen broke the record by winning his fourth race, bettered this again with a fifth win in 2008. In 2005 the race was set to change its name to the Grand Prix Eddy Merckx when an agreement was reached by the race organisers to amalgamate the two events. However, the deal fell through at the last minute and Paris–Brussels retained its name and the Grand Prix Eddy Merckx, a two rider time trial event, disappeared from the racing calendar.

In 2013 the race became the Brussels Cycling Classic and took place in Belgium. Octave Lapize’s second victory in 1912 had an element of good fortune about it, Lucien Petit-Breton and Cyrille van Hauwaert had broken away and the race looked certain to be decided between them when both riders were knocked off their bikes by a police horse allowing Lapize to overtake and claim victory; the 1921 race won by Frenchman Robert Reboul was made controversial by the fact that a group of riders chasing a 15-man breakaway was sent down the wrong route by the race director. One of the riders sent the wrong way in that 1921 race was Felix Sellier who made up for that disappointment by triumphing in the next three editions of the race, his three victories were not without difficulties however, in 1922 he survived a fierce attack from a cloud of insects, in 1923 he had to catch a break that had gained a fifteen-minute advantage and in 1924 he suffered two punctures in the latter part of the race just as the vital break was forming.

The victory by Belgian Ernest Mottard in 1930 featured one of the great escapes in the history of the race, Mottard broke away from the peloton with 130 miles remaining and stayed away until the finish. Ireland’s Shay Elliott was unfortunate in 1958, he had a lead of over a minute with only three miles remaining when he smashed the frame of this bike with no team car near at hand, he was offered a touring bicycle by a spectator but was caught by the chasing bunch and finished well down the field with Belgium‘s Rik Van Looy taking final victory; the 1963 edition of the race was made memorable by a small breakaway forming well before the border into Belgium, a rare event in itself. The break established a 13-minute lead and included Britain’s Tom Simpson, expected to win, being the best sprinter in the break, however his gears slipped in the final sprint and he lost out to France’s Jean Stablinski; the 1966 edition of Paris–Brussels was to be the last for seven years, as the race was beset by traffic problems to the route and a loss of prestige as the Amstel Gold Race took its place on the Spring Classics calendar.

However, the 1966 race was made memorable by Italian Felice Gimondi who had won the 1965 Tour de France and seven days earlier had triumphed at Paris–Roubaix. Gimondi was the favourite for the race and a marked man, he lived up to his billing by breaking away with the help of team mate Dino Zandegu and winning the race in what was a record time. Marc Demeyer claimed a close victory from Roger De Vlaeminck and Roger Rosiers in 1974 in the town of Alsemberg which hosted the finish of the race between 1973 and 1980. Gimondi’s record time lasted until 1975 when Freddy Maertens won the race in what was a record average speed for a professional race and being awarded the Ruban Jaune for averaging 46.11 km per hour throughout the 285.5 km course. Felice Gimondi won again in 1976, ten years after his first victory, once more breaking away while the sprinters watched each other; the 1983 race saw. The 1994 race saw a breakaway by Sean Yates, Rolf Sørensen and Franco Ballerini, animosity existed between Yates and Sørensen after a shirt pulling incident in the Tour de France of that year, however, Sørensen dropped his breakaway companions and triumphed.

The 1983 victory by Prim saw the start of the trend of the Paris

Pinto's Loggia

Pinto's Loggia or Pinto's Lodge, is a loggia in Qormi, Malta. It was built in 1772 to commemorate the 31st year of Manuel Pinto da Fonseca's magistracy, it is now a landmark and symbol of Qormi. Pinto's Loggia was built in 1772, marking the 31st year of the reign of Manuel Pinto da Fonseca as Grand Master of the Order of St. John. Qormi had been granted city status as Città Pinto on 25 May 1743, the city still bears Pinto's coat of arms as its symbol; the structure is supported by four columns, it is decorated with Pinto's coat of arms and a Latin inscription. According to tradition, Pinto used to sit in the loggia to shade himself while watching horse racing, but its original purpose is still unclear; the loggia was part of a large farmhouse complex which included stables for the Grand Master's horses, but the farmhouses were demolished in 1981 to make way for modern houses. The Parish Church of St. Sebastian was built in the vicinity of the loggia; the loggia was restored in 1987 again in 2018 by the Local Council.

A street market is held in the street and square near the loggia every Saturday morning, it serves as a backdrop for the annual Ħal Qormi Day. Grima, Joseph F.. Il-Gran Mastru Emanuel Pinto de Fonseca. Armar San Sebastjan. Qormi. P. 99