There is something about Cascais..
Cascais 3rd SB20 Winter Series of the 2017/18 season is heating up and another record breaking number of participants is on the cards. “We ran out of boats for the second regatta in a row, this time more than two weeks before the event. This is a good indicator that participation will be high. At this point a 35 boat fleet it’s doable”, said SailCascais’ CEO Vasco Serpa, the local supplier of SB20s to rent.
The Clube Naval de Cascais Winter Series is a group of 5 regattas run one weekend a month each from November to March and pretends to keep the local fleet busy though their “low” season but tends to attract a lot of foreign teams that are shut for the period due to harsher winters at home. The concept has proved successful along the last couple of years but this year a number of factors seem to be affecting positively the number of participants.
“The Club has been doing an amazing work promoting the area abroad with top notch events like the RC44s or TP52s stops together with the recent Dragon and SB20 World Championships.” recognized Vasco Serpa, “There is this perception that Cascais is a great place to sail, and you know what? It is! Add to that the club has good facilities and regatta organization is second to none. Onshore the area is filled with a good supply of accommodation and restaurants and then people are friendly.”
This helps to explain why many foreign teams leave their boats in Cascais for the winter while other simply rent a boat and come. At this regatta 8 to 9 foreign crews are expected from Russia, Ukraine, Latvia and Belgium.
But it is not only about the foreigners. The local class association is shaking things up and its work is paying off. A solid calendar, well publicized together with a close communication with its members brings people together and has helped to increase numbers, “Numbers attract numbers and then you get a local rock star and people say “well, I want to be a part of it”, and here we go,” – said Antonio Barros, the Portuguese SB20 class president, known as ToZé.
“It is great to see this happening, this is the best thing for a class president, but we are ambitious and we want to have our Nationals close to 50!” he said with a big smile on his face. “There are things that make me happy and for most of the people go unnoticed. We are managing to have a second all-female crew for the 3rd winter series. This didn’t happen in a while. Also we have 6 women steering boats now. More to be done here, but definitely going in the right direction.” he concluded.
Well that is a pretty ambitious goal as the Portuguese Nationals are coming soon in the end of June 2018.
“It is important that we keep raising the interest to sail with us, and it should be fun” added Vasco Serpa, “Only then we will be able to generate that ownership rotation that will bring more boats into the water”. For the time being the way is up for the local fleet. Local sailors from different spectrums are attracted to try, like the buzz and stick. In startup language let’s say the retention rate is high. And that ownership rotation is happening. Definitely Winters are hot in Cascais!
More on the SB20s next week from Cascais, registration ongoing at: www.CNCascais.com
Enjoy your Sailing!