18 September 2021 – Sanxenxo, Spain – The spectacular final race of the Xacobeo Six Metre European Championship 2021 proved to be an absolute cliff hanger. Initially the fleet was postponed for lack of wind, but the race committee had faith and with just one minute to go before the 15:00 first signal cut off they put the fleet under starters orders for race seven. What followed was a glorious champagne sailing finale to a wonderful championship that confirmed Rainer Müller’s 1987 Pelle Petterson designed Thisbe, helmed by Michel Teweles, as the 2021 Six Metre European Champion and Open Division winner, while Jose Cusi’s 1947 Arvid Laurin designed Bribon 500, helmed by Pedro Campos, stormed through to reclaim the Classic European Champion title.
Going into the last day Thisbe’s nearest rival was Patrick Monteiro De Barros’s Seljm, as Michel Teweles explains, “We are really happy. We chose the right strategy in the championship and have reached the last day of the competition with a truly satisfying result. The most important thing was that Patrick De Barros did not win the last race, so we worked to control the start and the first part of the race and when we checked that everything was in place as we expected the race was won for us.” From the start it was clear the right was likely to pay so Thisbe drove Seljm hard out to the left and both boats rounded the first mark well down the pack, allowing Thisbe to relax and enjoy the sail.
For the rest of the Open Division there was a big ruck at the committee boat end, Philppe Durr and Rainer Müller’s Junior, which went into the day lying third overall, avoided the drama by starting halfway down the line before tacking onto port early. Meanwhile Violeta Alvarez Landaluce’s Stella took the alternative approach of hanging back at the committee boat and starting a few seconds late on port. Both strategies worked and Junior led Stella into the first mark. With clear air on the rest of the fleet the two enjoyed a great duel which was only settled on the line as Stella finally surged through to win by mere inches. Following them home were Henrik Andersen’s Evelina and Mark Smith’s Valhalla, who both took their best results of the series. Whilst Thisbe was able to sit back safe in the knowledge of victory, Seljm did all she could to work her way back up the fleet, but she could do no better than eighth. As a result, Junior takes the Open Division silver medal and Seljm the bronze.
The Classic Division took two attempts at starting, but once underway those who went right made big gains. Sadly, overnight leader Aida, owned by Escotet/Botas and helmed by Javier De La Gandara Alonso, and third placed Alibaba II, skippered by Miguel Lago Cereceda, did not capitalise on the big right shift and both boats rounded the first mark mid-fleet. There were no such errors aboard International Six Metre Class President Louis Heckly’s Dix Août or the Sanxenxo based Bribon 500 who both sailed faultlessly to finish first and second respectively. Ossi Paija’s Astrée III finished third and Alicia Freire Sánchez’ Titia, helmed by Mauricio Sánchez-Bella Carswell, was fourth. Aida’s seventh place was just sufficient to put her on the second step of the Corinthian podium with Astrée III on equal points but taking the bronze medal on count back.
After racing the crews enjoyed a spectacular alfresco prize giving dinner and ceremony on the terrace where they honoured their champions, enjoyed the company of their fellow competitors and were able to thank their hosts, the Real Club Nautico Sanxenxo and the authorities and people of Xanxenxo and Galicia, for creating such a special event and making everyone feel so welcome.
The perpetual Coppa Giovanelli and the Xacobeo 21 Trophy were presented to the overall Xacobeo Six Metre European Champion 2021 Thisbe, crewed by Michel Teweles, François Brenac, Jm Monnard, F Narbonne and M Fischer.
The perpetual President Woodrow Wilson Trophy and the Juan Sebastián de Alcano Trophy were presented to Xacobeo Classic Six Metre European Champion 2021 Bribon 500, crewed by Pedro Campos Calvo-Sotelo, Alberto Ricard Viejo Puga, Roi Alvarex Perez, Iñaqui Castañer and Alejandro Abascal.
Pedro Campos paid tribute to Bribon 500s regular skipper saying; “In the first place, I want to dedicate this triumph to our skipper, King Juan Carlos I, and we hope that all the crew can rejoin us as soon as possible. I also have to congratulate the entire crew, because we went from less to more throughout the entire championship and they never doubted the power of the team to defend the title.”
The August Ringvold Memorial Trophy, which is presented to the highest placed Classic yacht built to the First (1907-1919) or Second (1919-1933) International Rule which retains its original underwater configuration, was awarded to the beautiful 1930 Alfred Mylne designed Valdai of Dirk Stolp and Tom Owen.
The Lucie Trophy, which is presented to the highest placed yacht which includes a woman as helmsperson or crew, went to Stella, helmed by Violeta Alvarez Landaluce.
The Baum and König Vintage Trophy, which is presented to the highest placed yacht that uses white/cream sails and has a wooden mast, was won by Acacia, a 1929 Gustaf Estlander design, owned by Mauricio Sánchez-Bella Carswell and skippered by Marcos Perez Gonzalez.
There were also prizes for the boats finishing in second to fifth place in each division and special thank you mementos for each of the crews.
As well as looking back on what has been a truly exceptional championship, the International Six Metre Class can also look forward to returning to the Real Club Nautico Sanxenxo next year. From 10 to 18 June 2022 the club will host the International Six Metre World Championship, when an even larger fleet is expected to be present.
From 2 to 12 September 2022 the fleet will continue its love affair with Europe’s southern Atlantic coast as they make their way to the Club Naval de Cascis in Portugal for the 2022 European Championship. Traditionally the World and European Championship are not held in Europe in the same year, but the Covid pandemic meant that the schedule had to be revised for one year only.
Final Top Ten Results
1. SUI111 Thisbe – Rainer A Muller – 3, 5, 2, 3, 3, 1, (14) = 17
2. SUI77 Junior – Philippe Durr/Rainer Müller – 8, (10), 1, 4, 2, 3, 2 = 20
3. POR4 Seljm – Patrick Monteiro De Barros – 7, 3, 3, 1, 5, 4, (8) = 23
4. SWE137 Filippa – Richard Göransson – 2, 2, 4, 8, (11), 8, 5 = 28
5. ESP16 Stella – Violeta Alvarez – 6, 11, 8, (15), 1, 2, 1 = 29
6. SWE114 Notorious – Claes Henningsson – 1, 1, 7, 5, (10), 9, 10 = 33
7. SUI132 Sophie Racing – Hugo Stenbeck – 4, 9, 9, 2, 4, 5, (15) = 33
8. FIN78 Evalina – Henrik Andersin – (15), 4, 11, 12, 9, 10, 3 = 49
9. SUI140 Ginkgo Too – Jan Eckert – 11, 6, 6, (13), 7, 6, 13 = 49
10. ESP70 Maybe XIV – Eugenio Galdon Brugarolas – 9, 7, 10, 11, 8, (12), 7 = 52
1. ESP16 Bribon 500 – Jose Cusi – 6, 3, (10), 2, 1, 1 = 13
2. GER59 Aida – Escotet/Botas – 1, 1, 4, (8), 3, 3 = 12
3. FIN18 Astrée III – Ossi Paija – 2, 2, 2, 4, (8), 6 = 16
4. FRA111 Dix Août – Louis Heckly – 5, (10), 7, 5, 2, 4 = 23
5. K48 Caprice – Javier Manzón – 3, 5, 1, (7), 5, 5 = 19
6. GBR50 Alibaba II – Miguel Lago Cereceda – 4, 6, 3, 1, (11), 2 = 16
7. ESP72 Titia – Alicia Freire Sánchez – (10), 9, 8, 3, 4, 7 = 31
8. KC19 Saskia II – Pierre Guex/Reiner Müller – (12), 11, 9, 6, 7, 11 = 44
9. GBR40 Valdai – Dirk Stolp/Tom Owen – 7, 14, 5, (15), 10, 8 = 44
10. E26 Acacia – Mauricio Sánchez-Bella Carswell – (15), 15, 6, 9, 9, 9, 8 = 56