This Saturday, October 2, the Straitchallenge Height Regatta returns for the Cruise class. After a year of absence due to the pandemic, a regatta returns to the national calendar whose route Algeciras-Tarifa-Ceuta makes it one of the most attractive and demanding of the season as it passes through the Strait of Gibraltar. But before entering one of the places of greatest oceanographic interest on the planet, the fleet will travel through a landscape of extraordinary biological value and beauty, which make sailing a unique experience, also due to its complexity.
The machinery will start up the day before, on Friday, October 1, when the thirty-two participating boats formalize their registrations in the RCN of Algeciras, where at sunset they will receive an official welcome from the president of the Club, Mercedes Barea, together with Bernard Sukita, organizer, and the head of Customs Surveillance of the Port Authority of the Bay of Algeciras, Rafael Olivares, among other authorities. Also on Friday afternoon, the skippers’ meeting will take place, in which the crews will be informed of all the details of the regatta by the official Juan Luis Cervera.
It will be on Saturday at 10:00 am when the participants hear the starting honk, and it will be time to start making decisions to manage the route to the autonomous city of Ceuta in the best possible way. After releasing moorings in the RCN of Algeciras, the boats will go to Ensenada de Getares, located within the bay of Algecireña between Punta de San García and Punta del Carnero, from where the departure will take place amidst cliffs, in front of a beach of very fine sand, originating from the contributions of the numerous seasonal streams that flow into the area and from the Pícaro River, which in the past formed a marsh and a dune arrow.
Already in regatta, the fleet will cross the Natural Park of the Strait, an area of natural wealth of great singularity. Marked by the harsh climatic conditions of the area and the passage of civilizations since ancient times, it shelters a highly adapted flora and fauna, the result of the convergence of very different natural areas. This diversity is reflected in an important resource, the landscape, with cliffs and abrasion platforms on one side of Tarifa and sandy beaches on the other.
Tarifa will be another strategic point of the regatta, where the organization proposes passing a beacon located in front of the Torre de la Peña campsite, so that no one will miss this city full of historical and cultural heritage, located seven meters above the level from sea. Within the main population center is the southernmost point of the Iberian peninsula, the tip of Tarifa or “Marroquí”, a geographical accident that is located on the island of Las Palomas. The cape or Punta de Tarifa also serves as a dividing line for the waters of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, which intersect right in front of the city itself. It is located in the narrowest part of the Strait of Gibraltar, at a minimum distance of 14 kilometers from the Moroccan coast, which makes it the closest European city to the African continent.
The key point of the regatta will be the Strait of Gibraltar, a challenge for sailors due to the natural consequences of being the point of confluence of three seas (Atlantic, Alboran and Mediterranean), two continents and two biologically very different worlds; the north and the south. The Strait of Gibraltar is a global crossroads, presents unique physical phenomena on the planet and works as a climate regulation valve on a planetary level due to the impressive and simultaneous exchange of water. It is also one of the strategic points for the migration of birds and an extraordinary corridor for fish, since elvers, turtles or tuna also migrate, hence, for millions of years, humans have established the famous traps on both shores. .
After more than forty miles of racing, the final destination will be the autonomous city of Ceuta, there in front of San Amaro, between Punta Almina and the Marina Hércules marina, it will be the end of the regatta and the place to start enjoying the hospitality of a city that turns to welcome sailors.
Ceuta is located on the Tingitana peninsula, on the African shore of the Strait, at the eastern mouth of the Strait. In turn, it contains a small peninsula known as Almina. It is surrounded on the north, east and south by the Mediterranean Sea and to the west and southwest it borders a neutral zone that separates it from Morocco, specifically from the prefectures of Fahs Anjra and M’Diq-Fnideq, both belonging to the Tangier region. Tetouan. Thanks to its strategic location, the port of Ceuta plays an important role in the passage of the Strait, as well as in communications between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
In Ceuta at night, the participants will be received with a welcome ceremony at the Royal Walls of Ceuta and the ‘Carantoña’ restaurant, by the president of the Ceuta Sailing Federation Nicola Cechi, along with the Sports and Tourism, Lorena Miranda and Alejandro Ramírez, respectively; Araceli García, manager of the Ceuta Institute of Sport and the general director of Tourism of Ceuta, Tamara Guerrero.
During the event, the trophies will be awarded to the absolute winners and by class. A total of 32 boats from Huelva, Cádiz, Malaga, Seville and Melilla aspire to the titles, in addition to regulars from Campo de Gibraltar and the autonomous city of Ceuta, divided into classes ORC 1, ORC 2, and Club classes and Reduced.
The Grand Surprise ‘Ceuta Sí’ will not be present this year, defending the title for the fifth consecutive year, due to the absence of its usual skipper Sergio Llorca, who coincides with his participation in an ocean regatta. Instead, the sponsor attaches its name to the ‘Timón de Roche’, an Oceanis 473 that will be manned hand in hand by its owner Paco Ruiz and Nacho Castañeda.
The 8th Straitchallenge Regatta that pays tribute to the memory of Joseba Eguidazu, one of its main promoters and a person much loved and longed for by the fleet, is organized by the RCN of Algeciras, the Ceuta Sailing Federation and activesea, with the collaboration of the Club de Vela Vendaval, the RCN Cas de Ceuta and Marina Hércules Puerto Deportivo de Ceuta, and is sponsored by the Ceutí Sports Institute, the Algeciras Port Authority, Straitwear, activesea and the Algeciras Pilots Corporation.