Terrorist attack destroys Desafío's club in Spain

The Real Club Marítimo del Abra yacht club’s building with the signs of destruction very clear.

Valencia Sailing reports on a terrorist attack on Real Club Marítimo del Abra, located in the northern Spanish city of Bilbao. The club is the new home of Spanish 2007 America's Cup Semi-Finalist Desafio Espanol, skippered by New Zealander John Cutler.

Although this terrible and tragic event took place early on Monday morning, at 00:50 am more precisely, I report it today, after deliberating with other Spanish sailing journalists on whether any publicity should be given to these cowardly attacks.

As most of our readers probably know, Desafío, the former Challenger of Record of the 33rd America's Cup, decided last month to abandon the newly formed CNEV (Club Náutico Español de Vela) and instead represent a well-respected and traditional yacht club. As a result, Desafío chose to fly the colors of Real Club Marítimo del Abra, located in the northern Spanish city of Bilbao. Officially, the reason the team opted for that yacht club was that it was the first one in the alphabetical order of all Spanish clubs although it is strongly believed it was a decision by Iberdorla, the syndicate's main sponsors, whose headquarters are a few kilometers from Abra.

On Monday morning, at exactly 00:50 am, a car bomb exploded right in front of the yacht club's main building. According to the initial press reports, there were at least 60kg of explosives inside the van that was parked on the city's boardwalk, just 10 meters away from the building's entrance but also very close to a number of adjacent houses.

The Basque terrorist group ETA had warned the police at 11:55 pm on Sunday that a bomb would explode within the following hour in front the club's premises. And so it did and according to witnesses the explosion was heard miles away. Unaware of the bomb threat, people in the vicinity thought a nearby chemical factory had exploded. There were no victims since the police had managed to evacuate the area but material damage was severe.

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