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REPORT: Half a century of Optimist in Galicia

REPORT BY ROSANA CALVO, HEAD OF COMMUNICATION AT MRCYB

 

· Five decades after having organized a regional Optimist competition for the first time in Galicia, the Monte Real Club de Yates celebrates this February in Baiona a new edition of the Galician Championship of the class

· On board the “Canario” and the “Tortuga” the brothers José and Javier de la Gándara together with Santiago Campos were the winners of that first edition of the competition held in the bay of Baiona on August 22 and 23, 1970

· In the Optimists brought first from France, then from Barcelona and finally built in the Ferramentas and in Lagos for the Sailing Schools of La Foz and the MRCYB, many current sailors learned to sail

· Although the materials have evolved over time, the philosophy with which the Optimist was created remains intact and remains a simple boat that allows the little ones to enjoy the sea and sailing

 

Group of Optimist in the bay of Baiona in 1970 – Photo from the archive of Javier de la Gándara

 

At the end of this month, the Monte Real Club de Yates de Baiona will commemorate the half century of life of the Optimist class in Galicia by holding a new edition of the Galician Championship that the club itself hosted for the first time in 1970.

On board the “Canario” and the “Tortuga”, the brothers José and Javier de la Gándara were the winners (first and second respectively) of that first edition, which was held on August 22 and 23, 1970 under the name of “ I Regional Optimist Regattas – Galician Championship”.

17 young sailors from the Sailing School of La Foz, the Real Club Náutico de Sanxenxo, the Real Club Náutico de Vigo, the Club Náutico de Panxón and Monte Real itself met during those two summer days in the bay of Baiona to compete several tests in a triangular field of Olympic route.

Javier de la Gándara and his Turtle preparing for the I Galician Optimist Championship – Archive photo Javier de la Gándara

After the Gándara brothers, third place on the podium of that first Optimist championship went to “Anduriña IV”, manned by Santiago Campos; Pablo Vasconcellos was fourth aboard the “Bayona II”; and “Don Ramón”, by Ramón Alonso, from RCN Vigo, signed the fifth position.
A special prize was then also awarded to the youngest sailor, which went to Pablito Pereiro for “demonstrating -according to the chronicles of the time- great skill handling his mini boat to perfection”.

With the celebration of the first Galician Optimist Championship, the Monte Real Club de Yates gave, at the beginning of the 70s, the great impulse for the consolidation of a class that arrived in Galicia some years before the hand of Pepe Gándara , the father of the historical Javier de la Gándara.

Gándara learned about this new type of boat in the American magazine “Popular Mechanics Magazine” (distributed in Spain under the name “Mecánica Popular”), in which some simple plans were published with which, in principle, anyone with some tools And with a bit of skill, you could make your own Optimist out of wood.

Training of the first Optimists in the Bay of Baiona – Photo from the archive of Tomás R. de Robles

After seeing them already built in Barcelona, Gándara decided to bring them to Galicia. The first Optimist who sailed in Galician waters in the year 68, he called “Don Andrés”, in honor of his young son. In 1969 there were already 15 units of these new sailboats, known as the “Ferramentas”, because they were built by a carpenter from Ladeira known by that name, with sails of nylon manufactured in an awning company in Vigo. They were boats with which, during the first years, they only sailed in the summer months. Barely a year later, with the Optimists already established as a small fleet at the Monte Real Club de Yates, the First Galician Optimist Championship was held.

Press clipping of the First Optimist Championship of Galicia in 1970

The press at that time congratulated the Baionese club for “contributing to creating numerous young skippers who in the future will constitute the crews of the numerous cruise ships that the sports units of the Vigo estuary have”, it said verbatim. So it was. Because those children are today some of the outstanding sailors who sail in the Galician estuaries.

Both the Spanish Sailing Federation and the Galician Sailing Federation of the time, chaired by José Ramón Fontán, helped consolidate the class in Galicia by subsidizing the purchase of numerous units. Some boats that went from the 3,000 pesetas (about 18 euros) of the first “Ferramentas” to the 8,000 pesetas (about 48 euros) that were paid for those of higher quality and the 10,000 pesetas (60 euros) that they cost at the beginning of the 70s

In the autumn of 1971, only one year after the celebration of the first Optimist Galician championship, nearly thirty units participated in the class competitions in Baiona, and it did not take much longer for the optimist to exceed 60. In Galicia there were around 200 optimists (currently there are about 400, of which about 120 participate in official competitions). Among the young sailors of those early years were José, Ángel and Javier de la Gándara, Pablo Vasconcellos, Jaime Varela, Alberto Torné, Rodrigo Andrade, César Casqueiro, Fernando Yáñez, Genoveva Pereiro, Ignacio Retolaza, Alfonso Zulueta and Piluca Presa, among others. Many.

Manuel Pereiro, Javier de la Gándara, Ramón Alonso, Pablo Vasconcellos, Jose Antonio Marquez and Jaime Varela – Archive photo Javier de la Gándara

The Spanish Optimists were built in Barcelona (La Industrial Velera Marsal), in Palma de Mallorca (the Copino and Darder shipyards), in Torrejón de Ardoz (Spanish Taylor) and here in Galicia, in the prestigious Lagos de Bouzas Shipyard (Vigo), from which a large part of the units that sailed from the year 70 left. They were Optimist that were made in the image and likeness of the first boats of this type born in Clearwater (Florida).

There, in 1947, a group of children “haggled” through the streets of Clearwater with small boxes of soap and a candle that they made themselves. The mayor of the city decided to ban these races in the streets, so that they would not bother people, but he met with a boat designer, Clark Mills, and asked him to turn the soap boxes into a boat for children as soon as possible. cheap possible.

And that is how the Optimist was born, the first gaff sailing boat and a single crew member that over time became increasingly famous, both nationally and internationally. In 1954 “the puddle jumped” and the first ones in Europe began to be built, specifically in Denmark; in 1962 the Optimist Class Racing Association was born in England; and soon after the European Optimist Association was formed. Finally, in 1995 the Optimist was accepted as an international class.

The first Optimists were made of wood – Photo from the archive of Tomás R. de Robles

Although the materials with which they are built have evolved over time, the truth is that both the shape of the Optimist and its philosophy remain intact. It was born as a simple boat that would allow children to enjoy the sea and sailing and, more than half a century later, that purpose has not changed.

Celebrating this idea and the five decades since the first Optimist Championship held in Galicia in 1970 is the aim of the Galician Optimist Championship – Baitra Trophy that will be held at the Monte Real Club de Yates at the end of February.

(Report: Rosana Calvo, head of communication at the MRCYB / Photos: Archive of the MRCYB and provided by Javier de la Gándara, César Casqueiro and Tomás R. de Robles / Documents: Astilleros Lagos / Press clippings: Archive of Javier de la Gándara and newspaper library of Faro de Vigo)

 

The Turtle and the Canary of the Gándara and the Eolo de Casqueiro – Photo from the archive of Cesar Casqueiro
Optimist Team (October 1971)- Photo from the archive of Cesar Casqueiro
Some of the first Optimists that sailed in Baiona 50 years ago – Photo archive MRCYB
In the foreground the Turtle by Javier de la Gándara – Photo from the archive of Tomás R. de Robles
Pablo Vasconcellos aboard The Scotsman, one of the first Optimists in Galicia – Photo archive MRCYB

The Rías Baixas will witness this Saturday the dispute of the Comunica Trophy

 

· More than 200 sailors aboard the 31 participating sailboats will compete in the first major cruise competition of the Monte Real Yacht Club in 2018
· Among the contenders for the title, the Oral Group of Pedro Pazos (Sanxenxo) and the Balea Dous of Luis Pérez (Rodeira) repeat winners of the previous edition
After leaving Sanxenxo (1:00 p.m.) and Vigo (2:00 p.m.), the fleet is scheduled to start crossing the finish line in the bay of Baiona at five in the afternoon

The Rías Baixas will witness tomorrow, Saturday, the dispute over the Comunica Trophy, one of the most outstanding cruise events in the spring nautical calendar in Galicia, in which more than 200 regattas will participate aboard the 31 sailboats registered so far. This is the first major cruise trophy of the Monte Real Club de Yates in 2018, which also has the collaboration of the Real Club Náutico de Sanxenxo and the Real Club Náutico de Vigo, hosting the departures of the fleet in front of their facilities.

The double start, from Sanxenxo and from Vigo, is the main novelty of this year’s Comunica Trophy, and it will take place one hour apart. At one in the afternoon the horn will sound in the vicinity of the Juan Carlos I marina, in Sanxenxo; and an hour later, at two o’clock, it will be the start in front of the port of Vigo. Both fleets will end up coming together on a route that will end in the bay of Baiona.

Among the contenders for the title we will see the winner of the previous edition in the cruiser-regatta category, the Oral Group, from the Real Club Náutico de Sanxenxo, who returns to the competition with Pedro Pazos at the controls and eager to repeat victory. The winner of the previous year in the cruise category will also compete, Luis Pérez’s Balea Dous, who will try to win one of the trophy prizes from the Real Club Náutico de Rodeira.

Among the J80 participants will be some of the monotypes that at the end of the month will compete in the Spanish Championship of the class held in Baiona, such as Javier de la Gándara’s Okofen, Fernando Yáñez’s Cansino or Luis de Mira’s Namasté . And in the Figaro class we will see some of the youngest sailors, since the sailboats will be crewed mainly by students from the Monte Real Club de Yates Sailing School.

If everything goes according to plan, the navigation of the fleet will be more or less agile and the fastest ships could have completed the journey in just over three hours, so that from five in the afternoon they would begin to see the first candles in the vicinity of the Baiones breakwater, where the finish line will be placed.

For all those who wish to follow the competition, the Juan Carlos I marina and the beaches closest to that area will be the points with the best visibility to see the departure of the fleet from Sanxenxo, while the departure from Vigo can be seen from the surroundings of the boat. The Costa de la Vela, the westernmost of the Morrazo peninsula, will be another of the places from which to enjoy sailing the sailboats, as well as the interior of the Bay of Baiona, the end point of the route.

 

Friday, April 20, 2018

From 10:00 to 20:00:

Enrollment and registration
Presentation of documentation
Delivery of Instructions

Saturday, April 21, 2018

13:00 – Start test SANXENXO-BAIONA

14:00 – Test start VIGO-BAIONA

19:00 (approx.) – Awards Ceremony at the MRCYB

 

Sanxenxo, Vigo and Baiona united by the Comunica Trophy

 

· The cruise competition of the Monte Real Yacht Club changes its format this year and adds the Sanxenxo-Baiona coastal route to the Vigo-Baiona route that was being held

· Both tests will be held next Saturday afternoon and one-design sailboats of the J80 and Fígaro class will also be able to participate

· The visual communication company of A Guarda Comunica sponsors and names for the second consecutive year the trophy that opens the cruise calendar in Baiona

 

The Comunica Trophy will unite this Saturday the fishing towns of Sanxenxo, Vigo and Baiona in what will be the first major cruise competition organized by the Monte Real Yacht Club in 2018.

With the collaboration of the Real Club Náutico de Sanxenxo, the Real Club Náutico de Vigo and the Galician Sailing Federation, the Baiona club changes the format of the trophy this year and adds a new coastal route to the Vigo-Baiona route, between Sanxenxo and Baiona.

There will therefore be two starting points with different distances to the same arrival point. The sailboats that listen to the starting line in the port of Lilac will have to complete about 18 miles to the bay of Baiona, and those that do the same from the Vigo yacht will have a journey of about 12 miles ahead of them.

If the wind is allied with the organization and allows the scheduled program to be fulfilled, the regatta committee will start at one in the afternoon for the Sanxenxo fleet and at two for the Vigo fleet, and will set some obligatory points of passage until the finish line, which will be located near the Baiona breakwater.
In addition to cruiser and cruiser-regatta type sailboats, J80 and Fígaros class one-designs may participate in the competition, which will take place in real time; and there will also be an Open class for boats with less competitive capacity.

In the absence of several days for the registration period to close, which will remain open until the day before the development of the tests, some of the most outstanding sailing cruisers in Galicia have already confirmed their presence in the competition, such as the Fend la Bise by Jean Claude Sarrade, current Galician champion of solitaire and two; La Burla Negra, by Juan José Martínez; or the Bosch Service Solutions, of Commodore de Canido, Ramón Ojea. A large number of J80s will also participate, as they continue to prepare for the Spanish Championship of the class to be held in Baiona at the end of April.

Once the trophy tests are finished, the prizes will be awarded to the winners, in an event that will be held at the Monte Real Club de Yates and in which, among others, representatives of the organizing club and Comunica, the sponsoring company, will participate. It is a visual communication firm that offers its services throughout Galicia from the municipality of A Guarda, where its headquarters are located.

In the last edition of the Comunica Trophy, the Oral Group Galimplant, from the Real Club Náutico de Sanxenxo, skippered by Pedro Pazos; and the Balea Dous of the Real Club Náutico de Rodeira, led by Luis Pérez; in the Cruise-Regatta and Cruise categories respectively. In the one-design competition, the prizes stayed in Baiona, with the victory of two boats from the Monte Real Club de Yates. Manuel María Cunha’s Marías won in the J80 class, and Silleiro, with Santi Meigide in the lead, in the Figaro class.

Friday, April 20, 2018

From 10:00 to 20:00:

Enrollment and registration
Presentation of documentation
Delivery of Instructions

Saturday, April 21, 2018

13:00 – Start test SANXENXO-BAIONA

14:00 – Test start VIGO-BAIONA

19:00 (approx.) – Awards Ceremony at the MRCYB

 

>>>> NOTICE OF RACE COMMUNICA TROPHY

 

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