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Discover more: A guide to Falmouth and Ponta Delgada

Thinking of entering the MailaSail AZAB 2019? Or perhaps you already have and want to know more about where you will be sailing? This handy guide to Falmouth and Ponta Delgada gives you an overview of the two locations you will visit as part of your race.

Falmouth, Cornwall

As the third deepest natural harbour in the world and the deepest in Western Europe, Falmouth has a rich and interesting maritime history. From packet ships, large Royal Navy vessels and D-Day landing preparations to modern day achievements such as Ellen MacArthur’s 2005 world-record breaking solo circumnavigation around the globe, Falmouth has always been at the forefront of British maritime activity.

Home to over 21,000 people, Falmouth has a vibrant culture and has become well-known as a regular starting or finishing point for various racing events. The AZAB race starts here.  

Unspoilt by modern development, the bustling and colourful town welcomes you at the shoreline. For those arriving a day or two early, there is the chance to explore what Falmouth has to offer. With events held throughout the year, the excitement ramps up in the summer months with a huge variety of entertainment, exhibits and fantastic local cuisine.

Find your way to a cosy waterfront pub and enjoy those views with a pint of local ale, or walk through town and sample some of the delicious catch of the day. With excellent port and harbour facilities and expert hands to help, you will be fully prepared for the big day, setting sail with confidence for your race ahead.

 

Ponta Delgada, The Azores

Image: Worldwanderista.com

Located on the island of São Miguel in the Azores, Ponta Delgada is the beautiful end to the first leg of the race.

Ponta Delgada was once a small community on the western coast of São Miguel, until the economic centre of the island, Villa Franca, was devastated by an earthquake and landslide. Ponta Delgada was made a city and has remained the capital of the island since 1546. 

Much like Falmouth, Ponta Delgada too has a long maritime history, including involvement in World War I and naval battles such as the Battle of Ponta Delgada in 1582 during the war of the Portuguese Succession. Later, in the 19th century, the export of citrus fruits helped to greatly increase the economic status of the island. They, too have exciting events throughout the year which would be worth revisiting should you decide to make another trip.

With a population of over 68,000 people, Ponta Delgada has a dramatic, rugged beauty shaped by volcanic activity. You can expect a fantastic welcome with the warm hospitality of the Azorean people. Enjoy a tour of the stunning island, excellent food and of course great facilities, markets and shops to help you prep and re-stock before your return leg to Falmouth.


To learn more about the event, take a look at our
About the Race page. Ready to enter? Simply use our online entry form – we look forward to seeing you on the start line!

AZAB 2019 offers a unique opportunity to promote your business. With a range of packages to suit you, your business can receive fantastic corporate entertainment and advertising opportunities in the maritime industry on a global scale. For sponsorship enquiries, please contact sarah@fastnetmarketing.co.uk.

AZAB Newsletter – September 2018

Hello to all AZAB competitors, past and present.

Welcome to your latest newsletter for the MailASail AZAB 2019. This issue, we’ve got some important dates for your diaries, details of new sponsors and information about how we’re continuing to build our support for competitors.

If you have any questions at any time, please do get in touch. We will be publishing relevant questions and answers on the website, so you may like to take a look there first.

Take a look at our latest newsletter by clicking here.

MailASail is the New Title Sponsor for AZAB 2019

The AZAB 2019 (The Azores and Back Race) committee is delighted to announce MailASail as the title sponsor for the race. This means that the next AZAB race will be called the MailASail AZAB Race 2019.

The AZAB is a challenging 2,400-mile international ocean yacht race, taking place every four years. The next race will start on 1st June 2019 from Falmouth.

This thrilling adventure is a must for those wanting to push their sailing boundaries and take on a unique challenge, allowing participants to put both their boats and themselves against some of the greatest sailors of our time.

Open for both single and double-handed crews, the AZAB Race distance is comparable with a transatlantic one. The crew and boats finish leg one in Ponta Delgada, capital of the stunning Azores archipelago, and return to Falmouth in the second leg, making the AZAB unique in that you finish the race where you started.

The Azorean stopover is a great chance for crews to celebrate their achievements from leg one, socialise with fellow participants and prepare for the challenge of the return journey.

MailASail are specialists in coastal and offshore communications including WiFi, 4G and satellite connectivity. The company also supplies specialist communications equipment, including a range of Iridium satellite phones, commonly used offshore to enable easy communication.

MailASail will be assisting with improving communication systems for all participants of the race, including facilitating on-board blog posts and updates, meaning that following the race will be even more exciting for participants and spectators alike. This will enable crews to share the highs and lows of their journey with their shore-side audience, as well as communicate with the race committee to find out how they are faring against their fellow competitors.

This level of communication has not been used to such an extent in previous races, and looks set to bring a whole new dimension to the 2019 event.

MailASail AZAB Race Director Ian Munday said: “Having MailASail on board for AZAB 2019 is wonderful news. We are looking forward to working with this innovative company and building a lasting relationship with them.”

MailASail Director Ed Wildgoose said: “We are proud to be associated with such an esteemed yachting race and hope to become long-term supporters.”

The organisation behind the MailASail AZAB is the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club (RCYC). Founded in 1871, the RCYC is one of the pre-eminent clubs in the UK. Based on the waterfront in Falmouth, one of the world’s largest natural harbours, its home waters are the Carrick Roads and the uncluttered Falmouth Bay.

The club is well known for having produced a number of around the world, transatlantic, and Olympic yachtsmen/women, as well as Olympic coaches and race officers. It has a global membership and organises events and regattas for all classes of keelboat from small Day Boats to giant J-Class yachts.

AZAB Open to Multihulls!

We’re excited to announce that a multihull class has been re-introduced for AZAB 2019

For the first time in over 15 years, multihulls will again be able to enter the Azores and Back race. Following increased demand and financial support, the AZAB 2019 race will see a multihull class compete for the first time since 2003.

Only monohull vessels have been eligible to take part in the last 3 races. In recent years the organisers have seen an increase in support and interest from the multihull community, which has lead to sponsorship of the race by multihull sailor Paul Brant. It has therefore been decided that the multihull class will be re-introduced for the next AZAB race, which will be setting sail on 1st June 2019.

AZAB Race Director Ian Munday said “We are delighted to now be able to offer a class for multihulls in the AZAB 2019. An amendment to the NoR will published shortly, and in the meantime we are accepting provisional entries for multihulls through the website, which will become firm entries when the NoR amend is released.”

He went on to explain that “The NoR amend will not only allow us to accept multihulls, but will also fully align us for both monohulls and multihulls with the OSTAR/2STAR 2020 Race, in order for us to act as a full nominated qualifier for that race.”

Entry for the next AZAB race is open until January 2019, however numbers are limited to 120 and places are filling up fast. The new multihull class is already attracting provisional entries, and all potential competitors are advised to make their entry soon in order to gain a firm place. A reserve list will run if oversubscribed.

To enter the AZAB 2019, click here.

 

AZAB Newsletter – November 2017

 


Hello to all AZAB competitors, past and present.

Welcome to the first quarterly newsletter for the AZAB 2019 – less than 20 months to go until the start!

The committee has been appointed, with a mix of old and new members, who will provide some continuity, along with lots of fresh ideas and enthusiasm.

What’s New

Race Director
A new Race Director, Ian Munday MBE, is taking the helm. Ian is keen to streamline the entry process, so everything is now managed online, including deposits, notice to race (race information) and all your paperwork. You can update your profile and access your entry information via the online portal, with your own private login.

If you do not have a UK bank account you can BACS transfer the deposit money. We trust this will work smoothly, however if you do have difficulties you can email thecrew@fastnetmarketing.co.uk for support.

Qualification News
The SORC soloFASTNET race in 2018 is now a qualifier for AZAB 2019.

AZAB 2019 has also been declared a qualifier for OSTAR2020

Race Sponsorship

Join the AZAB 2019 team by becoming one of our event sponsors!

Sponsorship is a fantastic opportunity to raise the profile of your brand, promote your business, and help this exciting event become even bigger and better. With a variety of packages available, take a look at our Sponsorship Pack to find out more and get involved.

On a Final Note

After collecting feedback from the 2015 AZAB participants, we know the new additions to the schedule, including the Finish Line Welcome in Falmouth, and the block-booking for Pendennis Marina, were well received. We plan to incorporate both of these again as we feel it adds real value to your experience as competitors.
 
We are pleased that, as of today, we have 38 entries. There is a limit of 120 boats so if you haven’t signed up yet, but you are thinking about it, then please enter now.
 
Best Wishes
 
AZAB 2019

Competitor advice

One of our aims in organising the AZAB is to offer a race that is of sufficient challenge for experienced offshore sailors and also is an opportunity for those committed and keen enough to venture on their first serious ocean race. The following was written by a local competitor who has taken part in 3 AZABs. For the first time competitor it gives you a lot to think about and as he states at the end if you have any questions or need further advice then please do contact us azab@rcycevents.co.uk

This article is written with the sole purpose of pointing potential competitors in the right direction in preparing to enter the AZAB 2019 race.

It will be of little help to experienced ocean racers or those who have done the race before, but it hopefully will be of use to those new to this sort of challenge.

The author has taken part in three previous AZAB’s and so knows some of the pitfalls. In no way does he ever wish to appear patronising and apologies to those who thinks he is being so!

The first thing to realise is that this is a serious undertaking; 2,400 nautical miles of ocean racing and for a large amount of time out of range of helicopters and major shipping lanes.

Have you got, or about to get, the right boat to undertake this task? Are you thinking of doing this two handed or singlehanded?

A good place to start is with is the vessel herself. First of all read the AZAB2019 Notice of Race and then go on line to the ISAF Rules of Sailing OSR Category 1 for monohulls. Read the 2016 version but remember there may be some changes between now and 2019

http://www.sailing.org/documents/racingrules/

Read through these ISAF rules and highlight anything which will have to be updated or added to your yacht in order to qualify. For example, do you have an AIS transponder? Does your life raft qualify? Have you an orange storm jib? Have you wooden bungs at all through hull sea cock fittings?

You will now be in a position to know how much work and expense there is to bring your yacht up to speed.

I suspect that a few of you will drop out at this stage! However for those who are still aboard let us continue.

About yourself; will you have an up to date First Aid qualification as per the rules? You will also have to have completed an offshore safety course within in the last 5 years. This is an extremely interesting 2 day course.

You and your yacht and your crew, if two handed, will have to complete a minimum 300 mile qualifier as per the NoR . This can be done independently or by participating in another appropriate race in the prescribed time frame. Just remember don’t assume that the race will be acceptable.  You should check with the race organisers that it will be allowed to count as your qualifier. Remember it is a minimum of 300miles and is there to largely prove to yourself that you (and your crew) are capable of completing this race without outside assistance. It may be that a longer passage in more challenging conditions is needed in order for you to know that. Remember if you get into difficulty on the race not only are you bound to waste your time, effort and money but also very likely to do the same to the fellow competitor/s who has had to divert off their race in order to render assistance. Use every opportunity to prepare yourself for the, race even if it means that you do a further extended passage yourself, to just confirm your commitment and abilities.

If you are going to enter as a singlehander, then give it careful thought.   Single handed ocean racers don’t have much sympathy for others who haven’t done their homework. There are critics of single handed sailing and the experienced singlehanders don’t wish to give them ammunition.

For those of you who are doing it two handed, also be warned. On all three of the last races some crews have ended up not speaking to each other. Choose your companion carefully because you will live in a confined space with them for at least 2 weeks, often under stressful conditions!  Your qualifying passage should prove something here and you may need to think about an alternative crew and a further qualifier if need be.

Your IRC handicap for 2019 will have to be obtained and for those who have not raced their yacht before you will need to fill out various forms with measurements which can be confusing. It takes time and patience! The IRC website is very useful in particular for first timers check out this link:

https://www.rorcrating.com/40-irc-rating/irc-misc/198-how-do-i-start-racing

Provisioning and how much water to take etc. also needs to be thought about and it helps to keep notes on this subject during your qualifier as a guide.

For some the race will be expensive. The entry fee, the iridium sat phone, additional safety gear and all the courses add up. On a personal note, I never dared add up the cost, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have taken part or been allowed to take part by my wife!

The race has on no occasion, so far, had a loss of life and there is a great deal of support from fellow competitors during the race. The Corinthian spirit still exists and serious ocean racers sail alongside those who are there just for the experience.

If there are any questions that haven’t been covered then the race committee will be pleased to help but remember, we are all unpaid volunteers!

Good luck with your research and preparations. See you in Falmouth.

New AZAB 2019 website now live!

We are enormously excited to announce that the new AZAB 2019 website went live on the Friday, 3rd February 2017, and you can now submit Expressions of Interest online via azab.co.uk.

The new site offers a more dynamic, flexible and simple experience to entering the AZAB, as well as providing an interesting platform for spectators to watch the race unfold.

The 2019 AZAB race will start from Falmouth at 1200 BST on Saturday, 1st June. Competitors can enter by simply clicking on the ‘enter the AZAB 2019’ tab; this is located on the home page. Preceding this, you can create your very own account by clicking on the orange button that reads ‘enter your interest in the AZAB 2019’. Then fill out your details, enter the race and pour yourself a glass of Champaign!

This feature enables you to enter further race entry information via your race profile page. Simply log onto the site, click ‘edit profile’ and complete all of the relevant fields concerning skipper information, crew information (if applicable) and boat details.

You can edit and update your online entry form at anytime, so there’s no need to worry about not having the relevant information at the time of entry.

For non-UK entrants, payment must be made by BACS.

We hope you enjoy the new site. If you have any enquires or problems upon using it, then please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Happy racing and we hope to see you on the 1st June 2019!