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The 6 Metre European Championship returns to Galicia in Autumn 2024

by Prensa RCNS 3 Feb 09:31 PST 27 September - 5 October 2024
6 Metre European Championship © María Muiña / Sailing Shots

Following the successful organization of the past European and World Championships for the 6 Metre class, held in Sanxenxo, in 2021 and 2022 respectively, with high participation numbers and important social/media coverage in Galicia and Spain, the ISMA (International Six Metre Association) has named the Real Club Náutico de Sanxenxo official hosts of the 6 Metre European Championship to be held from 27th September to 5th October 2024.

The Mayor of Sanxenxo, Telmo Martín, expressed his satisfaction on hearing the ISMA's announcement, "It is becoming more commonplace for Sanxenxo to host international sporting events such as, in this case, the 6 Metre European Championships. It is undoubtedly a recognition of our organizational skill, hospitality and the excellent qualities of the Ría de Pontevedra."

2021 and 2022, two historical years for Galicia

After the compulsory halt in 2020 to sporting activity, where the only event possible was the Trofeo Xacobeo, the Spanish Championships (in November 2020), which were organised according to the strict sanitary measures established at the time by the Xunta de Galicia for outdoors events, the following two years proved to be important landmarks for world sailing in Galicia: The Xacobeo European Championships 2021 and the Xacobeo World Championships 2022.

Irrespective of the sporting results themselves, the organizational and international success of Sanxenxo, and consequently Galicia, as hosts for two such successful events, was clearly decisive for the ISMA directors and an important number of the world fleet in the election of Sanxenxo to host the European Championships 2024.

"We are extremely proud that the world fleet and legislators of the class, have once again awarded Sanxenxo with the privilege of repeating the successful events held in 2021 and 2022," stated Pedro Campos, president of the RCNS.

"It is a great challenge for the club, Sanxenxo and Galicia to repeat the results achieved in 2021, and with only eight months preparation to do so. Yet Spain has always proven its talent, ability and dedication in the preparation and execution of large-scale events."

2015, the year it all began in San Vicente do Mar

The first boat from the 6 Metre class to participate in a competition in Galicia, was at the San Vicente do Mar Sailing Club, where Alicia Freire and Mauricio Sánchez-Bella's "Acacia" (recently restored at the Astilleros Lago boatyard in Vigo), participated in the Illas Atlanticas Regatta. In the following month of September, it was King Juan Carlos himself, on board the same boat, who saw he was able to return to competitive sailing, and as such participated in the first edition of his namesake regatta, which celebrates its ninth edition this year in 2024.

Between 2016 and 2019, the Spanish fleet, both in the classics and Open categories based in Sanxenxo, saw increasing numbers of participants and competitive levels, until "the sporting threshold" was broken in September 2017.

"Bribon", skippered by King Juan Carlos achieved the first international title for Spain, in Vancouver (Canada), and claimed the title once again two years later in Hanko, Finland. In 2018, the team from the Real Club Nautico de Sanxenxo celebrated their first European title in La Trinite Sur le Mer (France).

It was a turning point for Spain in the class; both "Bribon" and "Titia," Freire and Sánchez-Bella's new boat, in the classics category as well as other Spanish teams in the Open category, including Violeta Álvarez's "Stella", built in O Grove (Pontevedra) and Eugenio Galdón's "Maybe XIV," who began to represent Spain overseas.

"Bribon" has been referential in the 6 Metre class ever since (in the classics category) in Spain and internationally, with three world titles (Vancouver 2017, Hanko 2019, Cowes 2023) and three European titles (La Trinite 2018, Sanxenxo 2021, Cascais 2022). Francisco Botas' "Aida," another of the "classics," has also been successful, and were European runners-up in Sanxenxo in 2021. Likewise, Violeta Álvarez's "Stella" has begun to clock up important results in the Open category, with runner-up position at the previous World Championships in Cowes, Isle of Wight.

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