The coast of Biscay, like the rest of the one of the Cantabric coastline, buzzes in summer due to a unique performance: the regattas of “traineras These are fixed-bank boats, crewed by a skipper and 13 rowers who fly over the waves. If you get the chance, don’t miss them. In recent years, rowing regattas have also been in vogue.
The trainera used to be a traditional boat that could carry crews of up to 16 rowers. Its origin dates back to the first half of the 18th century on the Basque coast. Originally, it could hold a pole with a lateen or gaff sail. But the oar was vital due to its functional purpose. It was used to catch sardines close to land with purse seine nets called “trainas”.
It was the boat itself that surrounded the shoal of precious fish at the highest possible speed. The other function consisted of towing; that is to say, to tow ships that had to enter docks located inside narrow-mouthed estuaries that did bear any other system. In both cases, reaching the shoal of fish before other crews or contacting the merchant ship first was essential to adjust the price of the product in port or the service.
That is the reasoning of reading and betting.
With the generalisation of steamers and, later, explosion engines, the trawler was left with the sporting competition.
This sport’s success fills docks, harbours and riverbanks. The fans of each crew follow them from one regatta to the next and there are real rivalries, always peaceful and festive.
Nowadays, trawlers and oars are made of synthetic fibres. They must weigh a minimum of 200 kilos with a length of 12 metres, a beam of about 1.75 metres and a depth of about 0.90 metres. The rowers sit on six two-seater benches, while the skipper, with the rudder in his hands and shouting the pace, while the bowman rows on the bench alone and participates in the manoeuvre known as ziaboga, which means turning the direction 180 degrees.
If you are on our roads in summer and autumn, it is very likely that you will overtake to cross paths with a large minivan towing a trawler. Or you may come across more than one. It will be a day of regattas. Do not miss the experience.
Regatas en Bilbao
Enjoy the spectacle and atmosphere of the traineras in any of the ports along the coast of Biscay, from Zierbena to Ondarroa. And in Bilbao too, where they are held in the very centre of the city.
The very first regatta held in Bilbao was held in 1887, on the occasion of the visit of Queen Maria Cristina and until 1902 they were usually organised almost annually for whatever reason. They returned in 1917 and continued until 1932, coming back in 1966.
Where can you enjoy rowing regattas in Biscay this summer?
- In Bilbao on 15 July
- In Sestao on 22nd July
- In Getxo on 29th July
- In Santurtzi on 30 July
- In Lekeitio on 6 August
- In Ondarroa on 26 August
- In Bermeo on 16 September
- In Portugalete on 17 September
Sailing regattas also on the coast of Biscay
The Real Club Marítimo del Abra-Real Sporting Club (Getxo) is celebrating its 125th Anniversary with several big regattas in the Biscayan waters of the Abra.
After organising the ILCA 6 Spanish Cup with almost 150 boats from many regions, the Spanish Junior and Absolute Snipe Championship awaits at the end of August and the beginning of September.
In the summer, the Surne-58th Eskarra Trophy Regatta, the Euskadi J80 Championship, the EKP Costa Vasca-Golden Whale Trophy Regatta, the Bizkaia Cruiser-Porsche Championship and the Gipsy Cup will take place; and in August, the Getxo-Gijón-La Coruña Regatta.
From September it is the turn of the traditional Castro Cup, the X Trofeo El Correo, the Red Cross Social Trophy or the massive and festive Regata del Gallo, the event that closes each year a full calendar.
In dinghy sailing, in addition to the classics already held, such as the successful José Luis Azqueta Trophy, the José Luis de Ugarte-Fashion Outlet Trophy will take place in September.
Terrace facing the cliffs. Spectacular pintxos bar.
Arriatera beach – Sopelana
Family restaurant with a bar serving tapas, casseroles and delicious ‘rabas’ (fried squid). Kitchen open from 12 to 23h