Sailing’s Barcelona World Race abandoned over Catalan uncertainty


MADRID (Reuters) – Organizers of sailing’s Barcelona World Race said on Thursday they were suspending the 2018-19 event due to political unrest in the Spanish region of Catalonia which had hit sponsorship.

An illegal referendum and declaration of independence by Catalan politicians in October prompted Spanish courts to jail or seek the arrest of participants and regular mass protests across the industrialized region.

“Political instability has made it difficult to guarantee delivering the event to the standards a round-the-world race deserves,” the Barcelona Ocean Sailing Foundation said.

The 10-year-old regatta, which is held every four years, is a two-crew round the world yacht race of some 26,000 nautical miles (48,152 kilometers) starting and finishing in the Catalan capital of Barcelona, with a stop-over in Sydney.

The clash between the northeast region, which produces around a fifth of Spain’s economic output, and the government in Madrid has led thousands of companies based in Catalonia to relocate their legal headquarters to other parts of Spain.

“A sporting event of this scale requires significant private sponsorship, which is its only source of funding,” they said, adding that they had found the political climate had prevented them from ensuring a reliable sponsorship process.

Sponsors of the last Barcelona World Race in 2014-15, which was won by Bernard Stamm of Switzerland and Jean Le Cam of France, included Estrella Damn, Renault and Johnson & Johnson.

The board of trustees for the Barcelona World Race includes the Barcelona City Council, the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, Port of Barcelona and the Barcelona Trade Fair.

The organizers said they were beginning talks with the IMOCA class association “with the aim to secure a future edition of the Barcelona World Race in 2022-2023”.


Spain confirms the denial of limitation of liability to private yachts

The Spanish Supreme Court has confirmed that the owners of private yachts will not be able to apply for limitation of liability in the event that their yachts cause damage to others during marina fires…
On 28 June 2017, the Spanish Supreme Court passed a judgment that confirmed the conclusions of an earlier judgment, being that private superyacht owners are not entitled to limit their liability in respect to damages caused to other vessels in the event of a fire while berthed in a marina. The decision taken by the Spanish Supreme Court contradicts common law decisions and, given that this is the second such judgement, is now entrenched in Spanish case law.