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Letter from Spain #22
The America's Cup in Vilanova - plus TBC notes & research
Just a short post this week, because it’s not every day you have the America’s Cup taking place on your doorstep, which is where I’ve been most of the day.
It was actually the third and final race day of the first ‘Preliminary Regatta’ of the 37th America’s Cup - which is due to be held in Barcelona between August and October next year. This preliminary regatta has been taking place since Thursday in the nearby town of Vilanova i la Geltrú, so not exacly on my doorstep, but a two minute train ride away from here in Sitges.
I’m no expert on sailing, or yachting, or anything else that takes place on water, or underwater to be honest, but I’ve picked up some basic knowledge about what’s involved with the America’s Cup - and I also highly recommend the Netflix documentary, Untold - The Race of the Century, which had me hooked.
The six teams competing in Vilanova this week are the same teams that will compete for the main event and trophy next year: the Emirates Team New Zealand, INEOS Britannia (UK), the New York Yacht Club American Magic (USA), Orient Express Racing Team (France), Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team (Italy), and Alinghi Red Bull Racing (Switzerland). With this first preliminary regatta, however, the teams competed on ‘AC40s’ – apparently ‘the world’s newest and most exciting foiling class with top speeds touching 50 knots and beyond’ - whereas for the main event, they will be on ‘AC75s’ - with ‘foils that lift them out of the water and enable the yachts to generate so much momentum that they sail four times faster than the wind’.
For the main event next year, the teams will each have eight crew on board, whereas for this week’s AC40 racing, they had four-person crews. These ‘pocket rocket’ AC40s are also used for the Youth and Women’s America’s Cup events - and they also lift out of the water.
Today was great fun - very well organised by the America’s Cup and Vilanova i La Geltrú, and it has certainly put the town on the map ... although it’s always been a great place to visit.
In the 19th century, Vilanova was fondly known as ‘Havana Xica’ or ‘Little Havana’, and today it is now one of the country’s leading capitals of popular and traditional culture. Els Tres Tombs and the town’s carnival, declared a Heritage Festival of National Interest, are just some of the events that have made the capital of El Garraf region here in Catalonia a must-see destination along the coastline. Colonial-style buildings live in harmony with fishermen’s houses along the promenade, and together with its Rambla, its social and retail hub, its wide range of fish and seafood offerings and the famous xató dish, Vilanova really is one of the jewels of Catalonia.
And let’s put it in perspective. Vilanova has a poulation of just 66,000. The second preliminary regatta will be held in Saudi Arabia, specifically in Jeddah (population 5.3 million), between 29 November and 2 December, with the third and last one will be held in August 2024 in Barcelona (metropolitan area population also 5 million).
Anyway, here are some photos from today (plus a video). Some of the photos are by me, some are media downloads. I’m sure you’ll be able to tell the difference …
The Barcelona Connection - Research
For those of you following this blog’s research and the locations behind The Barcelona Connection …
Chapter 22 deals with Isabel Bosch (also see Chapter 10 below) giving a press conference at the Catalan government’s headquarters in the Plaça Sant Jaume. I’ve sat in that same room listening to a press briefing - in fact it was a day before the ‘illegal’ referendum of 1 October 2017 - so I took my research from that.
Chapter 24 deals with what really happened in Nîmes and beyond. I have written previously about my research in Nîmes below (Chapter 18), but included some bad photos at the time. Now I can include others, as well as the images I took for where ‘the chauffeur parked his Chevrolet in the quiet, narrow street of Trois Maures, very close to the Nîmes amphitheatre …’
Next week, Benjamin and Elena on the Passeig Marítim in Chapter 25, and a bit about Púbol, Port Lligat and Figueres …
Previous links to my research notes are here:
The Barcelona Connection - Reviews, News & Events
On Thursday 28 September, I’m doing an event at The Secret Kingdoms bookstore in Madrid, chatting about The Barcelona Connection and A Load of Bull with Ann Louise Bateson, radio producer, former BBC contributor and presenter of the English language programme, ‘Madrid Live’.
Drinks and snacks will also be served, and although the event is free, places will be limited - so if you’re interested in coming along, then it would be wise to reserve your place by clicking on this Eventbrite link. It will be a fun evening and I hope to see you there!
Another date for the diary, this time in Barcelona. On Saturday 28 October at 2.30pm, I will be participating in a roundtable discussion hosted by Barcelona City Council for their annual International Community Day, with the topic being ‘Discovering & Enjoying Barcelona through Literature’. The event will take place at the Museu Marítim de Barcelona. More details in due course.
As soon as I have news about a possible event at The Salvador Dalí Museum in Florida, I will post details about it here.
Links to reviews & articles
Here’s the link for a review of The Barcelona Connection that came out in La Revista, a publication of the British-Spanish Society.
Here’s a link to a review of the book published by the Spain in English online newspaper.
Here’s the link to an article I was asked to write for The Art Newspaper about my research on Salvador Dalí.
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