The Azores and Back Yacht Race
The AZAB, also known as Azores and Back race is a 2,400 mile ocean regatta which starts in Falmouth and goes to the port of Ponta Delgada, on the Azore’s Island of São Miguel. Competitors take a brief respite on the island before turning around and racing back to Falmouth
Falmouth has long been a venue for international and national championship events and hosting them has been an important part of the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club activities since the Second World War. Since the first race in 1975 AZAB has been organised by RCYC every fourth year onwards.
The race destination, Ponta Delgada, is one out of nine Azores Archipelago Islands that lie in the Eastern Atlantic. They are approximately 750 nautical miles off the coast of Portugal and some 1220 miles from Falmouth.
The majority of yachts that participate in the race usually take between 7 – 10 days to reach the Azores, allowing a week or so to relax for the return passage. The town of Ponta Delgada has many excellent restaurants and a wide range of shops and markets within walking distance, so competitors should have no difficulty in storing up for the return leg.
These Azores islands have long been a popular traveller’s route for seafarers, ever since the discovery by the Portuguese in the early 15th Century. Columbus visited one of Ponta Delgada’s neighbor islands on his way back to Spain from the New World in 1493. The islands were also used to be a staging post for richly laden treasure ships back in its day, which made it a magnet for pirates and privateers of all nations.