Anyone passionate about sailing can’t conceive the mythical regatta Vendée Globe without the port and city of Sables d’Olonne, the heart and soul of the race. As in the case of this single-handed non-stop round the world yacht race, the Global Solo Challenge wouldn’t be the same without the city of A Coruña and its marina.
The marina, in this city surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean that prides itself on living facing outwards towards the open sea, is looking forward to the start of the Global Solo Challenge, a sports adventure fully supported, among others, by A Coruña citizens, Marina Coruña, and the Galician city’s administration.
And there is no doubt that the participants in this event consider Marina Coruña (Figrupo Marinas) their “home”, their base. Strongly related to ocean sailing, this modern port is where Global Solo Challenge entrants will prepare their hulls, masts and sails, putting their brain in gear, getting their provisions, and doing everything else needed to take on a challenge of this magnitude.
Roberto Bermúdez de Castro (known as Chuny) – one of the legends of ocean racing in Spain, Olympic athlete, participant in the America’s Cup and having competed in seven Volvo Ocean Races – is currently the director of what will be the home of the Global Solo Challenge, Marina Coruña, and is very much aware of the strategic importance of this location, what is demanded of it, and the advantages it offers.
“The city with its marina plays a strategic role in oceanic sailing as it is on the route of boats on their way to the Caribbean, yachts participating in long distance regattas, and boats leaving French shipyards.
It’s a popular stop-over. And when the Gulf of Vizcaya is battered by storms, this city becomes the perfect place to shelter from the fury of the sea”, says Chuny Bermúdez.
“In the case of the Global Solo Challenge, our latitude is prefect as the regatta’s starting and finishing point in autumn and spring respectively and, from a navigation point of view, it’s much more convenient than other locations further north or south”.
The safety it provides during sea storms and the warmth of its people bring to mind a popular local saying that rings especially true in the case of this adventurous fleet. “Nobody is a foreigner in A Coruña” really applies to the participants in the Global Solo Challenge, who can be sure to find all they need in this port.
The Iberian Peninsula has lots of ports, refuge for some and permanent base for many others, but Marina Coruña is in a strategical location for any vessel.
Its piers and facilities are seeping with stories about the sea, sailors, travels ended safely in a port that provides shelter during storms in the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Vizcaya and assistance during dramatic moments, all permeated with the warmth that this city offers to those passionate about the sea.
Marina Coruña is a buzzing contemporary marina just a few steps from the city centre at the entrance of its bay, with modern piers, a large dry dock area, winter boat storage, and all kinds of services – including all refitting services for boats and 24-hour assistance.
The marina has 400 berths for boats between 8 and 80 meters in lenght, a 24/7 fuel station and provides round the clock assistance.
Its facilities comprise a large and fully equipped boatyard that can offer repairs and maintenance of any kind to motor and sailing boats, providing electronic, engine, and rigging supplies. It also has a powerful travelift for boats up to 50 tonnes.
From a sports point of view, the marina actively promotes the passion for the sea through its sailing school courses for beginners and advanced levels, which is having increasing success.
“Over the last year we had a significant increase in the number of requests for permanent and temporary berths as well as boatyard work and services, a clear indication of the important role played by the marina” says Roberto Bermúdez de Castro.
As preparations for this single-handed non-stop round the world yacht event are underway, some of the boats that will take part in the regatta are already in Marina Coruña.
The oldest working Roman lighthouse in the world, the Tower of Hercules (2nd century A.D.), will see the Global Solo Challenge fleet off in an 11-week staggered start (based on boat characteristics) from Saturday 2 September 2023, and will also have the honour to be the first light skippers will see when they cross the finishing line in the marina.
A city used to welcome sailors and in which nobody is a foreigner. A Coruña is first and foremost connected to the sea and Marina Coruña is a great homely place to start this adventure.