“We will see who wins the competition. The best will win, for sure. But those of us who have already won with the arrival of the 52 SUPER SERIES are the club, Baiona and Galicia”
“Bringing Baiona to the TP52s means fulfilling one of the most important commitments I made to the partners I represent. It is a dream come true”
“We are a club with small facilities but we have a very good human team, with long and proven experience in organizing events”
One of José Luis Álvarez’s commitments to the members of the Monte Real Club de Yates de Baiona when he assumed the presidency of the club was to once again organize an international regatta at the highest level. The Baionese club, one of the most prolific in terms of sports on the Spanish nautical scene, had been organizing all kinds of competitions practically since its creation, but international events had been significantly reduced in its program of events.
This changed in 2020, in the midst of the COVID pandemic, when in a press conference with masks and safety distances, the club announced that it had managed to become the venue for the 52 SUPER SERIES. After months of negotiations and hard work to meet all the requirements demanded by the organization, Monte Real finally achieved the goal of bringing Baiona to the prestigious TP52.
The date of the event was set for the summer of 2021, but the complications derived from the coronavirus forced it to be postponed for a year, a period that the club took advantage of to seek financial support. He found them in two regular collaborators of Monte Real, the financial entity ABANCA and Turismo de Galicia through Xacobeo, who decided to join the adventure.
Thus, the ABANCA 52 SUPER SERIES – BAIONA SAILING WEEK was born, destined to put Galicia back in the spotlight of world attention, in which it had not stood out since the start of the Sailing Tour of the World from Vigo, in 2005.
Today, 17 years after that milestone, Galicia once again writes a new page in the history of sailing with the celebration of the Super Series, something that fills the president of Monte Real with pride, with whom we spoke a few hours after the start the competition.
What does the arrival of the 52 SUPER SERIES mean for the club in general and for you in particular?
For the Club it represents returning to the path of the great international circuits. For me in particular, fulfilling one of the most important commitments with the partners I represent. Of course, with the invaluable work of my colleagues on the Board of Directors.
The club has been organizing multiple regattas throughout its history, its calendar is today one of the most complete of the Spanish clubs, but the truth is that it has been a long time since they organized a competition at this level. How do you take on this challenge?
With great enthusiasm and optimism. Organizing an event of these characteristics is complex. And it also requires significant resources. We must not forget that we have gone through a series of years of economic crisis and that the priorities were different.
What do you expect from Baiona Sailing Week? What are we going to find at the event?
I expect a great event for the world of sailing. The fact of having among us the best sailors in the world with the best boats in their category, will make all fans and non-fans of this sport enjoy a few unparalleled days.
Organizing a competition of this type involves great organizational, economic, logistical, personnel complications… Was Monte Real prepared for the arrival of the SUPER SERIES or did they have to make a special effort? What have been the biggest difficulties?
That’s right, I’m sure we all understand how complex it is to organize this type of competition. It is also true that the MRCYB human team has a long and accredited experience in organizing events of the highest level. As you know, we are a Club with small facilities. Space is a handicap that we find ourselves with, but we use everything we have to the millimeter. Regarding the economic section, we have the collaboration of the sponsors. They make these events possible. From here, my thanks on behalf of all the members of the Club.
It is not the first time that ABANCA and the Xunta de Galicia support them in their initiatives. They have been collaborating hand in hand for years, in a period in which getting sponsorships is not as easy as it used to be. What does the club offer its collaborators so that they continue betting on it?
Both ABANCA and the Xunta de Galicia (Galician Tourism through Xacobeo), as well as the Pontevedra Provincial Council and the Baiona City Council have been and are a very important support throughout these years. When the MRCYB organizes events of these characteristics, we think of the enormous repercussion that projecting our companies abroad has. There is no doubt that putting our Galician community and the Rias Baixas in particular in the international spotlight has a very direct impact on tourism with high purchasing power. This benefits us all.
Along with you, one of the key figures in the organization of the event has been, without a doubt, the club’s vice president, Alejandro Retolaza, who has been involved from the greatest to the smallest details. Tell us, how does the Álvarez-Retolaza tandem work?
I would not have enough space to express what the figure of Vice President Retolaza represents not only for me, but for the Club. The communication and communion of ideas with him is so fluid that sometimes we are surprised. It seems that we think the same things at the same moment. He knows the Club down to the last corner and in matters of logistics, he is always ahead of all of us. Every day I learn something new with him. In this sense, I also want to highlight the sincere commitment that the Board of Directors has with the Club. A team that dedicates many hours and many days of the year to develop the different areas as much as possible. I think I have people by my side who give their best and I always say that they make everything flow with great professionalism. For me a gift.
In recent days there has been a lot of talk about the astronomical figures on which the event revolves, in which boats of 2.5 million euros participate with sports campaigns that exceed one million euros… but we are more interested in knowing the economic impact that going to have in Baiona and its region. There is talk of more than 2 million euros. Is it a realistic figure?
So is. From my point of view and knowing the figures that we usually manage for each person who in one way or another participates in the event, that figure will probably be exceeded.
To finish, we would like you to “get wet” and tell us which team or teams are your favorites and who you think will win in Baiona. Do you dare?
I, like everyone else, have my favourites, but the level of the sailors is so high that I don’t dare to make a prediction. Any of them could be, but in the world of sailing nothing is predictable. The sea, the wind etc… gives many surprises. I’m sure the best will win.
It is an interview with Rosana Calvo, head of communication at the MRCYB