Trawler races, the spectacle of colour

Hondarribia trawler race
Hondarribia trawler race

More than a hundred years of tradition have made the La Concha trawler races the spectacle of the Basque sporting year. Crowds of fans, each in the colour of his or her own race, throng Urgull, Igeldo, the Paseo Nuevo, the Muelle and the Island and on the beaches and in boats of all kinds, when the first two Sundays of September arrive. If you can, don't miss it. For the grand final in 2021, Hondarribia seems the best positioned to take the Concha flag.

Trainera de Bermeo
Bermeo trawler

The trawler regattas arise from a specific way of life: the open sea fishing environment. The La Concha regattas were organised for the first time in 1879 as part of the programme of summer festivities in San Sebastian. Fishing trawlers were used for this purpose, which until then had been pitted against each other, in challenges with money involved, to determine their superiority.

The San Sebastian regattas have been held since 1879 as part of the city's festivities. They take place on the first two Sundays in September in the bay of La Concha. Since 2008, the women's category has also been held. Boats from all over the Cantabrian coast compete to win the flag in the most prestigious rowing competition of the season.

Seguidores de Urdaibai
Urdaibai supporters
Ambiente en el muelle tras la regata
After de regattas

History of the regattas

The boats required strong and resistant individuals capable of maintaining the bogue for hours until they reached the fishing grounds and, once the catch had been collected, to return to port loaded and as quickly as possible to carry out the auction.

The trawler was used for fishing pelagic species, mainly anchovies and sardines, and from the beginning it had a crew of 12 or 13 men and a skipper who steered the course. Since its beginnings, it has been a slender vessel in its lines and fast in its displacement and its measurements (12 metres in length) have remained unchanged up to the present day.

Over time, the motor replaced man-powered boats, but for years, the world of regattas continued to be linked to fishing. Professionals in the sector were trained in the best crews on the coast. And even today, although rowers are no longer exclusively fishermen and there has been a pseudo-professionalisation in the sport of fixed-bank rowing, rowers still belong to clubs formed in towns with a long fishing tradition.

Trainera de Kaiku

On the first two Sundays

of September, La Concha

and the port of San Sebastian

become the great rowing festival

Since 1879

The large number of people who attended that Sunday in September to witness the victory of the "Lequeitiarra" (with Donostian registration and rowers) encouraged the Donostia City Council to include the regattas in the programmes of the following years. With the exception of a few years at the beginning of the century and during the civil war, the regattas have been held uninterruptedly up to the present day.

More than one hundred years of history have made the Donostia/San Sebastián-Bandera de la Concha Regattas the spectacle of the sporting year in the Basque Country. No other is capable of attracting the enormous crowds that throng Urgull, Igueldo, the Paseo Nuevo, the Muelle and the Island, on the beaches and in boats of all kinds, when the first two Sundays of September arrive. And this even though television brings the images closer to every home by broadcasting the races.

Remeros de Orio portando la trainera
Orio trawler
Aficionados en el muelle donostiarra
Fans on the quayside in San Sebastian

The women's flag

Currently, the Donostia/San Sebastián Regattas also have a women's flag. The incorporation of women in this event demonstrates that the Concha Flag transcends the mere sporting aspect, responding to the sensitivity of the surrounding society and integrating aspects that make it even more attractive if possible.

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