One of the sailing classics in the Bay of Biscay returns to the Biscayan waters of the Abra: the XVII SURNE Regatta-57th Eskarra Trophy. From this month of June until the end of September, several outstanding regattas will be held on the calendar of the Real Club Marítimo del Abra-Real Sporting Club, which already organized the ‘III International Women’s Sailing Cup’ of the J80 class a few weeks ago. Now, one of the most relevant tests for cruisers and J80 class boats arrives this Saturday and announces that the leading sailing competitions are approaching the Abra. It was back in 1964 when the first edition of this historic Eskarra Trophy took place, a championship with a lot of tradition and history of Basque sailing.

It is now 58 years since that long-awaited start (57 editions after being suspended in 2020 due to the pandemic), with nearly 30 boats in the J80 cruiser and one-design classes – with departure scheduled by the regatta committee at 1:00 p.m. – that will sail to achieve victory in a regatta with a lot of pull among the crews, who consider it one of the most special in the extensive calendar of the Las Arenas Club. On this occasion it will also serve to score points in the I Engels Trophy

For this reason, the sailors aspire to inscribe the name of their boat in the beautiful trophy that will be raised by the absolute winner of an Eskarra Trophy that emerged in the 60s of the last century due to a beautiful initiative by the former president of the Royal Maritime Club. of the Abra-Real Sporting Club, Don Ramón Zubiria, as a tribute to José Luis Azqueta and his sailboat ‘Eskarra’. Dozens of units from the Cantabrian fleet will be noticed in this XVII SURNE-57th Eskarra Trophy Regatta, consolidated as one of the most anticipated competitions and which changed its name eighteen years ago for sponsorship reasons.

A year ago, after not being able to be held in 2020 due to the pandemic, Carlos Maidagan’s Despeinada prevailed among the cruisers in the Regatta class, in addition to being the absolute winner; Juanma Pereiro’s Kribi in the Cruiser I class; the Marmotinha of Koldo Báez in the Cruise II class and the Bacilón of José Miguel Franco in the Libre class. After the three routes between the monotypes of the J80 class, the first classified was José Azqueta’s Biobizz.

Since the Vikingo won it for the first time, the Eskarra Trophy is one of the most sought after by the fleet, which sails every first weekend of June in search of inscribing the name of its ship in a beautiful cup of the usual, orejona and special. This year it will be June 4 when a crew relieves that of the Disheveled. He will raise the 57th Eskarra Trophy which, for more than fifteen years, has been sponsored by the SURNE company.

The Eskarra Trophy is one of the most beloved championships in the Bay of Biscay and in the extensive calendar of the R.C.M.A.-R.S.C. In the year 1964 of the last century, the first edition of this historic event took place, an appointment with a lot of tradition in Basque sailing that was born with a beautiful idea from the then president of the Club, Mr. Ramón Zubiria, as a tribute to José Luis Azqueta and his Eskarra sailboat.

Rafa Arbaiza and the anecdote with the ‘Viking’

It was won 58 years ago by Rafa Arbaiza and his Vikingo. This is how Rafa himself recalled it in an interview: “I started sailing with the ‘Vikingo’, which was rented, and we would go for walks on the Abra. This was around the year 60. With the Viking we won the I Eskarra Trophy. It was a fabulous win. It is a test in memory of José Luis Azqueta, the father of the former president of the Club, José Luis Azqueta Galíndez. We were Paco Crooke, who was the boss, as well as Álvaro ‘Doctor Bernal’, Javier Cerero ‘Pituso’ and I, ‘Rufo’. I remember there were three regattas: one to Plentzia, another to Castro, and a triangle through the Abra. The superport was not yet built, and a 15-mile triangle was built between La Galea and Punta Lucero. We arrived, they gave us the ticket and they told us that we had won. We had to leave a beacon on the starboard side, but we slipped in and left it on the port side because we hadn’t read the instructions properly. And since we were honest and good athletes, when we found out about it, we told the president of the jury, Mr. Ramón de Real de Asúa, who told us that we were not disqualified for having been so noble, ”he recalls.