Baiona and Galicia prepare to lift the curtain on the 52 Super Series
The 52 Super Series fleet arrived in Baiona this week and with it the countdown to the start of the ABANCA 52 Super Series Baiona Sailing Week starts to feel very real. The preparations for the proud Galician town and the historic yacht club, the Monte Real Club de Yates de Baiona, have been going on for many, many months making ready to host the world's leading grand prix monohull circuit which has travelled to Galicia for the first time.
Supported by partners such as private bank ABANCA and regional funding from Xacobeo 21 22 celebrations, the local organisers have pulled out all the stops to ensure this first 52 Super Series regatta ever to be staged in Galicia is not just a success on the water but is a visitor attraction to the area.
There will be a race village adjacent to the MRYCB which will be open to the public while the race fleet will be moored on the main ponton close to the village. Within the village there will be a big screen which will show the live stream tracking with commentary and comment throughout. There will be a second screen in the club. Throughout the week of the event there will be entertainment and exhibitions for race village visitors.
The beautiful club itself is sited within the majestic Monterreal Castle, a 14th century walled fortress that also houses an impressive Parador Nacional (a state run hotel). The picturesque fishing village forms part of the Camino Portuguese part of the famous Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) which is one of the most important tourist attractions of the famous Rías Baixas which is a paradise for nature lovers, for lovers of Celtic traditions and a world-acclaimed centre of gastronomy in which seafood, fish and wines such as Albariño stand out.
The actual race area is out at the entrance to the Ría de Vigo and is protected by the Cíes Islands (A National Park which includes the best beach in the world, according to the English national newspaper The Guardian).
Platoon's double world championship winner Victor Marino grew up in the area and did a lot of his early competitive sailing and training from Baiona. Of the race course and the late May winds, Marino says
"Late May the usual wind is the NW'ly (the Portuguese trade wind) averaging 15-16kts something like that. The area is more protected than Cascais because of the islands so the waters are flatter and normally you don't get the big waves that Cascais does. But it is a very even race course with little shifts, nothing big or random. And so there is no real advantage I can give as 'local knowledge!"
"I am so looking forwards to having the 52 Super Series on my home waters, it's a bit of a dream come true. The weather comes and goes this time of year here depending on the systems, one week it can be bad and one week good. So while I don't feel the pressure to perform well on my waters with Platoon – we are in good shape, have changed little from before and have the same crew and everything, we know it we sail our best we can do well, but I feel real pressure that we get good weather!"
Nine TP52s are lined up on the pontoon in Galicia ready to start training from early next week. The official practice race is on Monday 23rd May and racing runs to Saturday 28th.
José Luis Álvarez, the president of the MRCYB, is ready to welcome the sailors and visitors to the club:
"To have been chosen by the Super Series to open the 2022 season is a source of pride for the club, but also a huge responsibility. Monte Real is used to organising big events, but this competition is a new challenge for us, at all levels. The club's staff have been working hard for months to ensure that everything goes perfectly and we are sure that it will be what we want it to be: a milestone in the history of the sport in Galicia, an unforgettable event for sailing enthusiasts, a new opportunity to show how we do things at Monte Real and a unique opportunity to promote Baiona, the Rías Baixas and Galicia way beyond our own borders."
Conditions permitting, a potential long distance race would go into the Vigo Bay
Baiona was the first port to receive the news of the New World on the 1st of March, 1493
Baiona is part of the Portuguese Way, one of the different versions of the Camino de Santiago (2022 is Xacobeo, big year for The Way and very important for the regional authorities, who promote the event)
MRCYB is located within the Montereal fort (XIV century)