Ex-Spanish king at 79 becomes world sailing champion

Former Spanish king Juan Carlos at 79 has been named world sailing champion along with his crew during the classic six competition in Vancouver that also included American Dennis Conner.

Ex-Spanish king at 79 becomes world sailing champion
Former Spanish king Juan Carlos at 79 has been named world sailing champion. Photo: Alberto Simon/AFP

Juan Carlos, who abdicated in 2014 to make room for his son Felipe VI, won late Thursday in the Six Meter Class World Championship at the end of the regattas in the Pacific Ocean.

Juan Carlos and his crew aboard the all-new Bribon Gallant outpaced American Peter Hofmannn and Brazil's Lars Grael, according to the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club.

The winners took only a single regatta out of eight since the races began on Monday, but had ended the others in good relative positions in wind conditions around seven to 10 knots during the week.

In this category, in which 21 boats competed, four-time winner of the America's Cup Conner ranked 14th.

The so-called classic six category refers to any boat designed before December 31st, 1965. New models use composite materials instead of wood.

These sailboats popular among enthusiasts typically have long sloped overhangs that transition into the keel, and a rudder attached to the trailing edge of the keel.


Row in Spain over reports King Felipe’s sisters got Covid vaccine in the UAE

Reports that Spanish King Felipe VI's sisters got vaccinated for the coronavirus in the UAE sparked controversy Wednesday, with hard left party Podemos, part of the ruling coalition, saying such "privileges" served to "discredit" the monarchy.

Row in Spain over reports King Felipe's sisters got Covid vaccine in the UAE
Spain's Royal Family - Princesses Elena and Cristina are directly next to King Felipe's right (in the blue suit). Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP

According to El Mundo and El Confidencial, Princess Elena, 57, and Princess Cristina, 55, got the inoculations in February while visiting their father, ex-king Juan Carlos, in Abu Dhabi.

The two royals would not yet qualify for the jab under Spain’s Covid-19 immunisation programme, which gives priority to older people and the most vulnerable.

Juan Carlos, who abdicated in 2014, moved to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in August amid growing questions over his financial dealings.

A spokesman for the royal palace refused to comment on the reports on the grounds that the princesses are formally “not part” of the institution and the palace has no say in their activities.

Podemos, the junior partner in Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s minority coalition government which is staunchly anti-monarchy, strongly criticised the royals.

“The vaccination of the princesses is more news which contributes to discrediting the monarchy. For the public, this constitutes preferential treatment and privileges,” Equality Minister Irene Montero, a member of Podemos, told public television TVE.

The monarchy is one of several issues which dividing Podemos and the Socialists, which have governed since January 2020.

It is the first time that an anti-monarchy party has been in power since Spain returned to democracy in the 1970s.

The controversy over the vaccinations comes less than a week after Juan Carlos settled a debt of nearly 4.4 million euros ($5.3 million) with the

Spanish tax authorities in a bid to avoid a potential lawsuit. The back-taxes were due on the previously undeclared value of private jet flights — worth eight million euros, according to press reports — paid by a foundation based in Liechtenstein belonging to a distant cousin of Juan Carlos.

The payment caused outrage in Spain, with Sanchez saying he shared the “rejection” which the “majority” of Spaniards feel towards what he called Juan Carlos’ “uncivic behaviour”.

The country’s former intelligence chief, Felix Sanz Roldan, also received the coronavirus vaccine in Abu Dhabi duri

ng a visit to Juan Carlos, according to Spanish media reports.

Spain’s chief of defence staff resigned in January after it was revealed that he got the coronavirus jab in Spain despite not being on a priority list.