The Clube Naval de Cascais is renowned as one of Europe’s top regatta destinations. With a purpose built marina next to the club house, large underground car park, a highly experienced and professional shore and race management team, crystal clear sailing waters just a short sail from the club, and a well deserved reputation for great hospitality, we can look forward to a fantastic Six Metre European Championship 2022 from 2 to 10 September.
The weather in September is ideal for Six Metre sailing with glorious sunshine, average daytime temperatures in the mid 20s centigrade and winds typically of around 14 to 18 knots. Whilst the famous sea breezes do still develop they tend to be less strong at this time of year when the sea is at its warmest.
Getting to Cascais is very straight forward with excellent motorway and rail links to the rest of Europe, plus Lisbon international airport only a 45 minute car ride away. The venue also offers a wonderful range of accommodation options from top of the range hotels and resorts to self catering villas and apartments.
Cascais is a very upmarket seaside resort with superb shopping, great bars and restaurants, wonderful beaches and plenty to do near by. For the golfers there are a number of top flight courses locally. If history is your thing a trip to the 10th Century hill town of Sintra, a UNIESCO World Heritage Site, is well worth it and Lisbon itself is a fascinating cosmopolitan city.
The warm up regatta for the European Championship will be the HM King Juan Carlos Trophy which will take place from 2 to 4 September. Registration for the Europeans will also take place from 2 to 4 September and on 5 September there will be an official championship practise race and in the evening an Opening Ceremony to formally start the championship.
Championship racing will take place from 5 to 10 September with up to 8 races scheduled and there will be daily drinks and food for the competitors after racing and a final Prize Giving Ceremony on 10 September.
The Notice of Race and details of how to enter online can be found at www.cncascais.com.
A spectacular final day of racing for the 40 strong fleet from 15 nations saw Switzerland’s Momo, helmed by owner Dieter Schoen and crewed by Markus Wieser, Dirk de Ridder, Ross Halcrow and Victor Manuel Marino Prieto, win the Xacobeo Six Metre World Championship 2022 in Sanxenxo with a race to spare. Second place went to fellow Swiss Philippe Durr and Rainer Müller’s Junior, with Portugal’s Patrick Monteiro de Barross’ Seljm third.
The Classic Xacobeo Six Metre World Championship 2022 was won Louis Heckly’s Dix Août with crew Loic La Garrec, Bill Hugues Leclerc, Frederic Baratay, Jonas Lambalet and Bernard Divorne. Second Classic was Sanxenxo’s own Pedro Campos Clavo-Sotelo sailing Bribon 500, while fellow Spaniard Francisco Botas Ratera’s Aida took the final place on the Classics podium.
The concluding day of the competition produced the most reliable wind of the series with 8-12 knots from the southwest. The Open Division got race six underway cleanly at the first attempt and then the Classics came to the line. As the VHF operator counted down to the start gun there seemed to be some confusion and several boats appeared late to start. In fact, checks subsequently confirmed that a timing error had been made and so the Classics race was abandoned as the boats came down the first run.
Meanwhile in the Open Division Momo hadn’t got off to a great start, but before long she had taken the lead, which she proceeded to defend and extend to the finish. Behind her Johan Larson’s Rebecca took second by a comfortable margin with Seljm third, John Harald Orneberg’s Scoundrel One fourth and Violeta Alvarez’ Stella fifth. With a race to spare Momo had secured victory and the Six Metre World Cup, but the remaining podium positions were still wide open.
With Momo safely back at harbour and celebrating, the Open Division’s seventh and final race was all about deciding the remaining podium places. Junior had gone into the day in second overall, but a disastrous race six left her with a lot of work to do. However, there’s a reason why Junior is one of the most successful Sixes ever and the crew dug deep to claim an elegant final race win from Staffan Lindberg’s Jane Anne with Otto Pohlmann’s Meerblick Bear third and Hugo Stenbeck’s Sophie Racing fourth. That race victory put Junior onto the coveted second step of the podium, with Seljm in the bronze medal position, Stella fourth and Rebecca fifth.
Back ashore a delighted Dieter Schoen explained that “We have had a great week and we have done very well. Even when we’ve had bad starts, like today, we’ve always ended up getting to the first mark in a good position, so I think we’ve had a perfect week as a team. The club has been a very good host and the race committee in general did a good job. The two days that we couldn’t sail they didn’t get nervous, and they took risks, so I think everything went very well”, concluded the skipper of the Momo.
Having had to wait while the Open Division finished race six to prevent congestion, the Classics eventually got their own race six underway again. Going into the race Ossi Paija’s Astree III and Dix Août were tied on points and Bribon 500 and Aida were also still in with a realistic chance of victory. With the 16:00 final start cut off meaning this would be the last race of their series the fight was on and what an exciting race it was to be.
The Dix Août team, which was founded by Louis Heckly’s father, has twice been runner up at the Worlds before but has never won. With victory now so close they were determined not to let the opportunity slip through their fingers again, and a great start and first beat saw them lead at mark one by a narrow margin with the pack hard on their heels.
Dix Août kept her lead down the first run and by the leeward gate she was still just holding her own but with Andy Postle and Brian Pope’s Nirvana, Aida, Mauricio Sanchez-Bella Carswell’s Titia, Juha Salonen’s Toy and Catalin Trandafir’s Essentia (who had been forced to return at the start having been OCS) in hot pursuit.
Despite multiple challenges including a last-minute surge from Aida right on the line, Dix Août clung onto her lead by a whisker to claim the Djinn Trophy and become Classic Six Metre World Champion 2022. Bribon 500 finished the race in fifth allowing her to slip into second overall, just ahead of Aida. Overnight leader Astree III had her worst race of the series with an eighth so dropped down into fourth place overall with Titia fifth and Essentia sixth.
Back on the dock an emotional Louis Heckly spoke from the heart saying, “The feeling is absolutely fantastic. We have been racing for this title for years with my late father, who passed away, and we only managed to give him two world runner-up titles. Now we’ve done it, so it’s a fantastic feeling and we’re very happy. Coming to Sanxenxo twice for the Europeans last year and the World Cup this year was absolutely exciting. Great food, great organisation and great kindness from everyone around us. Everyone wanted to make things easy for us, and that was really appreciated by all the crews”, concluded the French skipper.
After racing the sailors came together in the Real Club Nautico de Sanxenxo’s dining room, which has spectacular views of the racecourse, for a delicious gala dinner and to honour their champions. In addition to the presentation of the Six Metre World Cup and the Djinn Trophy for the Classics, several additional special awards were presented.
The Shipshape Trophy for the winner of the Open Division Practice Race was won by Paul Smith’s Valhalla and the Maharajah of Djeezupuhr Trophy for the winner of the Classic Division Practice Race went to Bruno Engel’s Saskia.
The IYRS Astor Cup, for the highest placed boat which includes a crew or helm aged 25 years or under was presented to Aida and 24-year-old Jaime de la Gandara Pez. Aida made her racing debut at the 1936 Olympics representing Argentina, narrowly missing a podium position and finishing fourth. For the next twelve years she sailed with various owners in Norway and Denmark, until in 1948 she sailed in her second Olympic competition achieving tenth place for Denmark. She continue to race regularly around Scandinavia for the next 50 years, changing hands periodically, until Katrin and Björn Storsberg moved her to Germany and restored her to competitive condition. In 2016 she was purchased by her current owner and joined the growing Galician fleet.
The new Tim Street Trophy, for the highest placed Classic yacht which holds a certificate under the provisions of Appendix A, was presented to Dirk Stolp’s Valdai. Valdai was designed to the Second Rule in 1930 by Alfred Mylne and built by the Bute Slip Dock Co on the Clyde. Under various ownerships she was club raced and cruised for many years, but by 1995 she was lying neglected on the River Deben in Suffolk, England. She was found by Six Metre godfather Tim Street and moved to Aldeburgh Boat Yard where preliminary restoration work was undertaken before she was sold to Sir Robert Owen who had her beautifully restored to fully racing trim by Tom Owen’s yard in Fowey. Valdai also won the KSSS Cup, for the highest placed Classic built to the First (1907-1919) or Second (1919-1933) Rule.
The Lucie Trophy, for the highest placed yacht which includes a woman as helm or crew, was presented to Violeta Alvarez of Stella. Violeta has been a staunch supporter of the Six Metres in recent years, as the driving force behind the impressive new Six Metre Archive and as the skipper/helm of the Classic Eric and more recently Stella, racing regularly with both the British and Spanish fleets.
Thanks must go to the Real Club Nautico de Sanxenxo, the event sponsors, the region of Galicia and the Spanish Six Metre Fleet for a truly exceptional championship. The race committee led by Race Officer Alejandro Martín de Pazos did sterling work in often very challenging conditions and the organisation of the event has been exemplary.
The next major event in the International Six Metre calendar is the European Championship which will be hosted by the Clube Naval de Cascais, Portugal from 2 to 10 September. Further information about that event can be found at http://www.cncascais.com
The wind returned to Sanxenxo for the fourth day of the Xacobeo Six Metre European Championship 2022 and after two frustrating breezeless days the fleet was able to enjoy three fiercely fought races, races three to five in the eight-race series. Conditions were light to moderate and at times shifty, making for a complex day on the water with plenty of opportunity for both big gains and big losses. Across the two divisions there were six different race winners, a few surprise results and even a visit from the local dolphins.
In the Open Division Dieter Schoen’s Momo from the Segelclub St Moritz did an impressive job of consolidating her lead, adding two second places and a sixth to her scorecard. Twelve points behind and jumping up the leader board from fourth to second is defending champion Philippe Durr and Rainer Müller’s Junior of the Club Nautique de Versoix, who got the wrong side of a big first beat shift to finish tenth in race three, but then followed up with a fourth and third. Rounding out the Open Division top three currently is Sanxenxo based Stella, being skippered this week by Juan Deben Tiscar. Stella also got the wrong side of the shift in race three and finished eleventh, but then won race four in style and was sixth in race five, giving her 29 points overall, four points behind Junior.
Ossi Paija’s Astree III of the Nyländska Jakt Clubben had a fantastic day in the Classic Division with two podium finishes – a third in race three and a confident win in race four, followed by a sixth in race five. As a result, this team move up from third to first overall. Just one point behind them lies Louis Heckly’s Dix Août of the Yacht Club de France, while three points adrift in third place is Francisco Botas Ratera sailing Aida for the Real Club Nautico Coruña.
Overnight Classics leader Pedro Campos Calvo-Sotelo aboard Bribon 500 started the day in fine form with a fourth and finished with a win, but he was disqualified from race four for being over the line early under the U Flag penalty system. Despite this Bribon 500 lies fifth overall, ten points adrift of the leader, and will no doubt be looking forward to the completion of race six tomorrow when the single discard will be introduced.
Back ashore a happy Classics Fleet leader Ossi Paija summed up his day saying, “Today it was fantastic to go back sailing and it was pretty stable wind so we had three good races, two good results and one not so good, but we are quite happy.”
Other race winners today were Andy Postle’s Nirvana from the Royal Western Yacht Club which won Classic Division race three, Staffan Lindberg’s Jane Anne of the New York Yacht club which won Open Division race three and Jeremy Thorpe’s Battlecry from the Royal Yacht Squadron which won Open Division race five. Also exciting to see today was a fifth place in Classic race three from the Sanxenxo based, Cesar Elizaga Viana owned Ian, the oldest boat in the regatta which was built in 1929.
With the pressure on to catch up the schedule to secure the championship, which requires a minimum of five races, the Real Club Nautico de Sanxenxo race committee’s decision to bring the start of racing forward paid off and by 11:30 racing was underway in a building south westerly. Skies were initially overcast with misty low cloud and the wind built to around 12-15 knots, but then the sun began trying to burn off the cloud and when it did the wind started to shift left and drop, but then the cloud would roll back in again and the wind would go right and increased. Figuring out whether the sun was in the ascendance so left would pay or the clouds were winning so right was right was the key to success.
As the final race of the day got underway the sun broke through in earnest and slowly the wind began to decrease again. Fortunately, the race committee was on the case and although the Open Division successfully completed the full two lap windward leeward course, the wise decision was made to finish the Classic Division at the end of the second beat before the wind dropped off any further.
Back ashore the sailors were relieved to have a valid championship and to have enjoyed some of the intense racing for which the Six Metre class is famous. Momo’s owner Dieter Schoen was very happy with his day and spoke about what brought him to the class and his brand-new boat. “I had a 5.5 Metre and before I had a Maxi 72 and for me it was clear I would stay with smaller boats. The 5.5 was a little bit too small for me and so we said we’d go for a Six Metre. So we talked to Vrolijk and Tobias Kohl, who also designed the other race boats we had, and we talked with [Christof] Wilke who built us the 5.5, an excellent boat yard in Switzerland and Tobias is a good boat designer, and Momo came out. We also got support and help from Philippe Durr of Junior about how the boat should look. I’m sailing with Markus [Wieser], Cheese [Dirk De Ridder], Ross [Halcrow] and Victor [Manuel Marino Prieto] now for I would say five or six years and we know each other quite well. The whole team I think is quite a good team and I’m sailing with excellent sailors, they are sailing on a lot of boats and we have a good relationship to each other and that’s the reason why we are sailing together again. It’s a competitive class with a lot of development that you can do on the Six Metre and this I like too.”
At the Race Village the Real Club Nautico de Sanxenxo’s legendary hospitality was once again in evidence as the crews kicked back after a great day on the water and enjoyed free live music by Chroma, ‘Lacón con grelos’ (pork shoulder with turnip tops) & drinks.
Up to three races remain to be sailed and the Race Committee has announced that the start time for the final day will be brought forward to 12:00. The forecast looks promising and with a final cut off start time of 16:00 there should certainly be time to run two and possibly all three races if wind conditions permit.
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
The second day of the Xacobeo Six Metre World Championship at the Real Club Nautico de Sanxenxo proved to be long and frustrating for the sailors and race committee alike. The forecast going into the day indicated dull skies and extremely light airs, but with a possible window of approximately three hours when conditions might permit racing. Determined to be ready for any chance that came, the fleet was afloat on the outer course area in good time for the planned 13:00 start. Over the course of the next five hours zephyrs of breeze came and went from virtually every point of the compass, the fleet transferred to the inner course area and the race committee constantly monitored the situation. But all to no avail and eventually the boats were sent ashore to enjoy paella and live music in the Regatta Village.
In the overall standings therefore Dieter Schoner’s Momo continues to lead the Open Division by just two points from Jamie Hilton’s Scoundrel, Johan Larson’s Rebecca and Philippe Durr and Rainer Müller’s Junior, who all count eight points apiece but lie second to fourth respectively on countback. In the Classic Division Pedro Campos’ Bribon 500 leads the pack by two points from Louis Heckly’s Dix Août, with Ossi Paija’s Astree III third and Thomas Kuhmann’s Hankø III fourth.
Despite the lack of racing the crews were appreciative of all the effort that Race Officer Alejandro Martín de Pazos and his team had put into the day. International Six Metre Association President Louis Heckly summed up their feelings saying, “We’re obviously disappointed with the weather, but we have witnessed the great work of the race committee to try at every moment to race. They were constantly reactive, even moving us from the first race area to the second to try to get a race in. But no wind happened and that leaves us with two or three races, weather permitting, tomorrow and we will see how that works. But despite the disappointment on the water, it was super to come back to the terrific hospitality of the club, which has been so welcoming and generous to us all.”
One time Finn sailor Otto Pohlmann, who is based in Palma de Mallorca and joined the class earlier this year after considerable success in Dragons, was also frustrated not to race but admiring of the efforts of the race committee. Pohlmann has purchased the Pelle Petterson designed USA124 Bear, now renamed Meerblik Bear, which was built by Båtbyggarna Ab in Sweden for the 1989 World Cup. The boat underwent a major refit in 2015/16 in preparation for the Vancouver World Championship of 2017 and since acquiring her Pohlmann and his team have been hard at work bringing her up to speed, so are now keen to test themselves against this top-quality fleet. Meerblik Bear’s crew includes Gabrielle Pohlmann, Spanish 49er sailor Albert Torres, double Snipe European Champion Laureano Witzner Perales and Olympic 470 Bronze medallist Nicholas Rodriquez Garcia-Paz, so we will be watching this strong new team’s progress with interest.
Whilst the fleet is gathered in Sanxenxo the International Six Metre Association took the opportunity to hold its AGM, which this year included the presentation of a brand-new trophy, The Tim Street Perpetual Trophy. Over many years Tim Street has played an important role in helping to ensure that Classic Sixes (boats first certificated before December 1965) are still able to level race with their modern counterparts. Inevitably older wooden boats gradually take up water, eventually making it impossible for them to comply with the class flotation rules without significant loss of sail area, which renders them uncompetitive. To encourage the participation of as many Classic Sixes as possible Tim was part of a team that developed Class Rule Appendix A, through which older qualifying boats are allowed to float lower than their original designed waterline without a detrimental reduction in sail area.
The stunning new trophy was initiated by Peter Hoffman and Rainer Müller of the Pacific Northwest Fleet and its creation was overseen by Puget Sound Six Metre sailor Adam Henley, who presented it to ISMA President Louis Heckly at the AGM. Sadly, Tim is not able to be present at this championship, but he will be delighted to know that five boats are competing under Appendix A for his trophy.
The regatta continues until Saturday 18 June and with three more days of racing to come the fleet remains hopeful of completing all eight scheduled races. Five races are required to validate the series and if six or more races are completed a single discard will be introduced. The forecast for day three is for further light airs but all fingers are crossed that sailing will be possible.
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