in ,

Gibraltar Island Games 2019: Sailing

Robin Sheppard-Capurro

Gibraltar Island Games, Sailing

The only sport to take place offshore at the 2019 Natwest Island Games will be Sailing. A historic and popular sport here on the Rock, (unsurprising, given its surroundings) with the prestigious King’s Cup being contested year in, year out, since 1910 by the classic Victory class boats. It is in those boats that the most keenly contested local sailing takes place.

This summer however, it will be the Laser class taking centre stage – a quicker, smaller, fiberglass single-hander as used at the Olympic Games. Let’s rewind to 1995, the ‘Sunshine Games’ when Gibraltar last hosted. Sailing was one of the 14 competing sports and was introduced for the first time at those games.

Natwest Games Gibraltar

It certainly wasn’t one of the core sports like Shooting or Cycling, but it proved popular with most islands. This time round, all but two of the Islands are entering, competing as individuals and as teams.

Gibraltar is not technically an island but, in 1985, it was accepted as a member of the Island Games Association because, for most of the previous 16 years, its border with Spain had been closed due to political tensions and hence it was effectively an “island”.

Like several of the sports, Sailing has had its own issues to deal with. The shore facilities will be ready at a basic level due to construction delays at the venue ashore. The essential bit, a dinghy-launching ramp, will be completed on time.

Gibraltar Island Games 2019

The Gibraltar team was selected after four days of trials back in April. An intriguing blend of youth and experience. Brian Brophy, Thomas Blagdon, Matthew Maginnis and Robbie Ballantyne will fly the flag.

Each boat’s sail will carry its island’s identification letters, making it easy to follow as the spectacle progresses. If you can get out and see it by boat, do so – the Bay of Gibraltar will be a sight to behold.

Gibraltar’s climate seems to be shared by both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic and it can provide very pleasant conditions for sailing in early July.

However, weather can also be unpredictable, and contestants should expect the unexpected – wind shifts, random lulls, rude blows and strong currents are what makes the sport an entertaining one…

Gibraltar Island Games, Sailing

What do you think?