– The Bajada de la Virgen de las Nieves takes place this year between July and August
– The Regata Lustral now classified as a Spanish Offshore Championship
– Visiting boats can now join the Regatta in the Open Category
The Bajada de la Virgen de las Nieves (Descent of the Virgin) is La Palma’s most emblematic event. Following the Ancient Roman tradition of measuring time in lustra periods (equivalent to five years), the local significance of this five-year ceremony is so deeply ingrained that it is said that the palmeros don’t count in years, but in lustra.
Festivities are opened with the raising of the Virgin’s flag. Her silver throne is then dismantled and a procession carries it down to the capital from the Santuario de Las Nieves. Santa Cruz de la Palma becomes alive over the two months with colourful pageantry such as the 18th century Minué festival and the curious dance of the dwarfs; all amidst many other traditional events and partying.
Sailors looking to make plans to arrive in La Palma for the celebrations, need simply to join the XII Regata Lustral Bajada de la Virgen Ntra. Sra. de las Nieves, organised by the Real Club Náutico de Santa Cruz de La Palma. This regatta has now been awarded Spanish Sailing federation classification as a Spanish Offshore Championship further to already counting towards the Canarian cruising class championship.
The race is formed of two events; one offshore regatta leaving on the 25th June from Santa Cruz de Tenerife to Marina La Palma and a coastal race, two days later on the 27th outside the capital. A new marker buoy is being set opposite the Barranco de Las Nieves to greet the arrival of the offshore race.
Good news for foreign boats visiting the islands and wishing to take part in the event is that the race will now incorporate an Open category. Boats not complying with the championship’s regulations or cruising vessels that perhaps don’t normally race can all sail in the regatta.
Veteran racers will be giving a presentation on the history of this event and there will be an open day for visitors to come and see the fleet. The organisers expect around 50 boats to take part with about 400 sailors due to arrive in La Palma.
With this year’s edition the Regata Lustral marks 55 years since the first event took place in 1960 when the decision was taken to extend the San Ginés regatta to include a leg between Tenerife and La Palma. Three boats from Gran Canaria: Tirma, Aldabe and Balandra A2, and Halcon from Tenerife took part with the mythic Tirma taking the title, skippered by Bernardino Navarro Pereyra.
More information about the Fiesta Lustral can be found on the official event website: www.bajadadelavirgen.es
To find out more about the Regata Lustral, contact:
José Miguel Jaubert Lorenzo – Presidente Real Club Náutico La Palma: tel: +34 650 400 055
Mario Suárez Rosa – Race Director: Tel +34 689 811 185