For a second day running light airs dogged the 40 strong fleet challenging for the Xacobeo Six Metre World Championship 2022 in Sanxenxo and no races were completed. Overnight thunderstorms and very strong winds had gone through by the planned 13:00 start time, but although a first attempt to get the fleets underway was made it was not to be with the wind dying off to almost nothing, so the fleet was sent back to the dock for a lunch break and to await further instructions.
A little after 16:00 the race officer called the teams out to the inner racecourse again and the Open Division got race three underway, but in the closing minutes of the sequence for the Classic Division the wind once again began to fade and so the race was abandoned for both fleets. The race officer held the boats on the water until early evening but with no sign of stable breeze and thunderstorms on the horizon his only option was to call it a day.
Two races have been completed so far and five races are required to validate the Championship. The Race Committee has published a change to the schedule for tomorrow’s penultimate day to bring the first start time forward to 10:30, as the current forecasts indicate the best chances of a reasonable sailing breeze are in the morning or later afternoon. The forecast for Saturday’s final day is a little more promising and with a final start cut off time of 16:00 hopes remain high that at least five races can be completed.
In the overall standings the Open Division is still led by five points by Dieter Schoen’s brand new Judel/Vrolijk designed SUI142 Momo. On eight points apiece behind her are Jamie Hilton’s USA125 Scoundrel, Johan Larson’s SWE199 Rebecca and defending champion SUI77 Junior, owned by Philippe Durr and Rainer Müller.
In the Classic Division Spanish America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean Race veteran and multi-class champion Pedro Campos Calvo-Sotelo continues to lead by a narrow two-point margin. The first ever Romanian Six Metre team sailing ROU65 Essentia, owned by Catalin Trandafir, is lying in second place, and on equal points with Essentia but lying third on countback is International Six Metre Association President Louis Heckly.
Although the weather is disappointing, the crews continue to enjoy their time in Sanxexo on the beautiful Atlantic coast of Galicia. Much of the talk amongst the sailors has been about the current resurgence of interest in the class, and in particular the construction of several new boats in recent years with more due for delivery in time for the Six Metre European Championship 2022 which will take place in Cascais, Portugal from 2 to 10 September. The class does not typically host a Europe based Worlds and a Europeans in the same year, but the loss of a season to Covid meant that the programme has been compressed and so this year the teams will get two bites at the championship cherry. Already some 20 boats have confirmed their commitment to attending the Cascais event and rumours abound that at least two more brand new boats are likely to compete.
Alongside the new boats joining the fleet it is also exciting to see new young faces racing Sixes too. They are a technically challenging boat to race well and the circuit takes in some of the best venues available, so its perhaps unsurprising that a new cohort of Olympians, match racers, dinghy champions and Ocean Race sailors are keen to join their veteran counterparts in the fleet.
Bernardo Freitas has been a national champion in the Optimist, 420 and SB20 classes, he’s won the Dragon European Grand Prix, represented Portugal at the Olympics in the 49er and raced in Volvo Ocean Race, the World Match Racing Tour, the Extreme Sailing Series and the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. In the Six Metre he sails with Hugo Stenbeck’s Sophie Racing Team and he summed up the appeal of the fleet saying, “The Six Metre is a very fun boat to sail. It’s an old design, but there’s a lot to play with, it’s very technical, very sensitive. Mixing up old talented sailors with young talented sailors can bring a better performance and we gain experience from them too.”
Aboard Meerblik Bear we find 2020(21) 470 Olympic Bronze Medallist Nicolas Rodriquez Gracia-Paz who is also clearly loving this opportunity, “Experience saves you many mistakes or anticipate problems. On the other hand young people are bringing new ideas, energy, strength, attitude. It’s the combination of all these factors. So its undoubtedly a very nice learning experience. The beauty of sailing is there is so much variety, and variety is the spice of life!”
Another hugely talented young sailor racing this week, this time as part of the Swiss Ginkgotoo crew, is top Australian match racer Torvar Mirsky, who won the 2017 World Match Racing Tour. More recently Torvar has discovered the joy of a very different kind of boat, racing to great success in the Dragon fleet and now with the Sixes. Whilst they may not offer the high-speed thrills and spills of their modern counterparts, the challenge of these extraordinary classic keel boats and the chance to race with and against their heroes is clearly an opportunity the younger generation cannot resist.
With two more days to go until the championship concludes on Saturday 18 June all we can hope is that the weather gods smile on the fleet, and we get the chance to see these glorious boats and their exceptionally talented crews back in action again.
Provisional Overall Top Five After Two Races
- SUI142 – Momo – Dieter Schoen – 1, 2 = 3
- USA126 – Scoundrel – Jamie Hilton – 7, 1 = 8
- SWE119 – Rebecca – Johan Larson – 5, 3 = 8
- SUI77 – Junior – Philippe Durr – 4, 4 = 8
- POR4 – Seljm – Patrick Monteiro de Barros – 3, 7 = 10
- ESP16 – Bribon 500 – Pedro Campos Calvo-Sotelo – 3, 1 = 4
- FRA111 – Dix Août – Louis Heckly – 2, 4 = 6
- FIN80 – Astree III – Ossi Paija – 6, 2 = 8
- USA96 – Hanko III – Thomas Kuhmann – 4, 5 = 9
- GBR33 – Nirvana – Andy Postle – 7, 3 = 10
Photo Gallery – All images © María Muiña / Xacobeo 6mR Worlds