Following last week's introduction to the 2003 ISAF World Championships, this week we bring you a small insight into the venues themselves.
Three venues have been chosen to host this major event in the Olympic classes sailing calendar. Whilst all are based around the Bay of Cadiz each individual site has very different virtues.
The Bay of Cadiz
The Bay of Cadiz, located in South-west Spain, has a coastline that is a mixture of sandy beaches, marshes and saltpans as well as a complex network of inlets. The relatively high population density of this region of Andalusia's west coast hasn't affected the near virgin state of its lowlands. The marshes, dunes and Salinas between Cádiz and San Fernando present a distinctive flat landscape.
The Gulf of Cadiz, outside the relative confines of the Mediterranean, faces directly into the open expanse of the north Atlantic, however, the Bay of Cadiz is relatively sheltered and more enclosed. The eight race areas are spread within the bay and sailed to from three venues ranging from Puerto de Rota in the extreme North to Puerto Sherry and the Centro Nautico Elcano further South.
With a prevailing south-westerly wind during the summer, but with the potential for the strong south-easterly Levante to blow out of the straits of Gibraltar, and the hottest surface temperature in Spain, most courses will see challenging yet satisfying conditions when racing starts in September. Spain's Mediterranean climate is modified here by westerly North Atlantic winds and occasional warm dry air from the Sahara desert.
Puerto de Rota
The small fishing town of Rota, 20 kms from Puerto Sherry will be the home of the 470 men and women for the duration of the championship. An ancient town that stands at the extreme northern end of the bay, Rota is sandwiched by the Atlantic on one side, and two national parks on the other.
It is also a town of two extreme contrasts. The old town inside its ramparts has almost a medieval atmosphere, whilst nearby is a major US naval base, one of three in Spain established in the 1950's during the Franco era.
The most exposed racing areas of the event, the 470's will be sailing on two courses to the south and west of the venue, in deeper water to the west of the restricted area of the US Naval base. The marina itself is located almost in the heart of the town, it very sheltered and provides two distinct launching areas for both fleets, as well as a boat lift and support boat facilities, a caravan park and restaurants.
Rota was the host of the 470 class at Mundovela in 1992 as well as the venue of the World Masters Championship in 1997 - The fleet know the venue well.
Puerto Sherry, the largest venue and host to the Mistral Men and Women, Europe, Finn, Yngling, Tornado and Star classes lies two kilometres south of El Puerto de Santa Maria, one of Andalusia's principal tourist locations, on the northern side of the river Guadalete two miles across the water from the City of Cadiz. The marina itself is surrounded by natural parkland and boasts fabulous facilities including a four star hotel, swimming pool and a plethora of restaurants and bars.
Launching for all the fleets is via a wide slipway on the eastern side of the marina sheltered by two breakwaters. The six classes will be sailing due west of the marina with the Tornado and Star classes furthest out in the centre of the bay.
Centro Nautico Elcano
Hosting the Laser class, the Centro Nautico Elcano was designed as a purpose built dinghy and championship venue by the Cadiz Town Council in 1999. Comprising a large dinghy park, boat sheds, offices, a bar and restaurant and even a gym, the venue is well equipped to deal with the large number of sailors and supporters expected.
Located to the south east of the city of Cadiz, Elcano is the closest of the three venues to the city of Cadiz and is situated in a sheltered area of the bay close to the Ramón de Carranza bridge, making it ideal for access into the Bay of Cadiz and the area to the south east known as Barriada de la Paz.
Some Useful Links: