Even after 38 years, the lure of the Legends reunion was too much to resist for the inaugural race winner, 85-year old Ramón Carlin, who made the trip from Mexico to be a part of this unique gathering.
Given Mexico’s lack of pedigree in competitive sailing, Carlin’s corrected time win in the 1973-74 race aboard the Swan 65 Sayula II was a somewhat unexpected one, which confounded sailing pundits at the time.
Competing against primarily European teams, Carlin and his crew of family, friends and a smattering of professional sailors, dominated the race on handicap.
They followed up a second place in the first leg from Portsmouth to Cape Town with a comprehensive win in the stormy next leg to Sydney.
On the way to Australia, Sayula II was capsized by 40-knot winds and huge seas, which swept most of the crew overboard on their safety tethers and filled the boat with water.
Despite this calamity, the injuries sustained by the crew and the damage to the boat were both minimal and Sayula II was able to continue and ultimately claim a well deserved leg victory.
A second place in the penultimate leg to Rio de Janeiro and a fourth in the final passage back to Portsmouth sealed Sayula II’s overall corrected time victory.
During his first day in the Alicante race village Carlin took a keen interest in the fleet of Volvo Open 70s and visited the state-of-the-art Race Control room within race headquarters.
The Legend skipper also had an emotional reunion with many members of his race winning crew, most of whom he had not seen since the finish of the race in 1974.
Ramon said “It is wonderful to be in Alicante and to see how far this race has come since we first set out on our round the world adventure all those years ago. To have the chance to see the new and old boats all together is remarkable and to see my crew again is very special.”