The 6 Metres have become popular in Spain again in no small way because of the interest of King Juan Carlos and the fleet has rebuilt. He spent some time ashore unable to sail for a few years due to a medical issue. When he felt better he tried a 6M and he liked it. Juan Carlos represented Spain in the Dragon at the 1972 Olympics in Kiel and finished 15th.
Mauricio Sánchez-Bella, owner of Acacia and one of the leading lights of the class explains:
“A 6M is like a grown Dragon. Spain had a tradition in the 6M in the 1930s when they had about 30 boats. It was very competitive and leading designers designed boats for the Spanish fleet which was based around Bilbao and later around Barcelona.”
The 6M disappeared from Spain. It was an Olympic class from 1908 to 1952. In the 1980s interest bubbled up in new 6M, something like the 12M enjoyed. In Britain and Finland especially the fleets grew again, the fleet split between Classics and Modern, being 31st December 1965.
The new interest in 6M in Finland, GBR and west coast USA and Spain now numbers about 100 boats and there is a European and a World Championship in consecutive years.
“In Spain the class started again from scratch with Acacia (a 1929 Eastlander which was built for a Spanish owner, restored in Galicia) which was the only boat in racing trim. At the invite of Pedro Campos Juan Carlos raced the boat in local races and won and his interest was seeded."
The other major supporter was the Real Club Náutico de Sanxenxo, of which Pedro Campos is president. They now have one race each month between March to November and the fleet has built.
Mauricio Sánchez-Bella affirms,
“King Juan Carlos has introduced the class to many, many friends of his. He has been a sailor and a supporter of sailing for more than 40 years. We started trying to find boats from Europe and Canada as well. It happened fast. Last year we (the Spanish fleet) agreed to start participating in bigger Spanish regattas. We thought about building a new Modern after they stopped building in the late 1980s. So to have a new modern we went to Juan K and the new modern sailed, it is still under development.”
“This year we have been invited to participated in the Copa del Rey and that brought a big logistical problem with these middle sized, heavy boats getting them from Galicia to here. We took all the fleet to Mallorca, and here we are. All seven classics are from Galicia and five of the Moderns are based in Galicia.”
The objective is to host the European and World Championship in Galicia in consecutive years.