60 yachts from 10 different countries
A record number of competitors will take part in the tenth Azores and Back Race (AZAB), sponsored by Red Ensign, which leaves Falmouth, in Cornwall, on 4 June this year. Around 60 yachts from ten different countries will set off on the first leg of the race from Falmouth to Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel in the Azores, with a total course distance of 2,400 nautical miles.
The starting canon for the race will be fired from Pendennis Castle overlooking Falmouth Bay at 1300 on 4 June, accompanied by fun activities at the Castle for families, as well as a commanding view of the start of the race.
“The AZAB has a reputation as an event which combines a serious challenge with real fun and camaraderie” comments Colin Drummond, AZAB Race Director for the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club. “The race is unique among short-handed events in that it can be sailed either single or double-handed.”
After a brief stopover to re-provision, and with the option of a crew change, the return leg leaves the Azores on 21 June. The Azores archipelago is an ideal destination - distant enough to provide a real challenge within a four to six week time-limit and to be pleasantly "foreign" on arrival with a course clear of major shipping lanes.
Malcolm Bell, Head of Tourism at VisitCornwall, the Cornwall Development Company tourism service, comments “Falmouth is well situated as the start port for the Azores & Back Race, and has a fine pedigree in the start port for many an ocean-going race. The race has been the inspiration for many sailors to take the first step into ocean racing.”
The Azores & Back yacht race began in 1975 and is held every four years, organised by the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club in Falmouth and Club Naval in Punta Delgada in the Azores. The race is open to yachts with a length overall from 9m to 18.5m, over a course of just less than 2500 miles of ocean, approximately 1220 miles on each leg. Open to single and double handed crews and held over a 45 day period, the yachts usually takes seven to ten days to complete each leg allowing a week or so to relax and restock for the return passage.