The three-day Cannonball Sea Run Costa Brava for motorboat fans will take place this year from September 2 to 4, 2024 in the Bay of Roses; SeaHelp will secure the event and be on hand in the event of breakdowns and towing.
Water sports should be one thing above all: fun. And that’s exactly what the Cannonball Sea Run on the Spanish Costa Brava is all about. On the first weekend in September, motorboaters from all over the world come together to cruise and party for three days – or party and cruise, as each crew sets their own priorities for this event.
Cannonball, the English name for a cannonball, is also synonymous with the Cannonball Run, an illegal car race across the USA from New York to Los Angeles. These were organized by the US magazine Car & Driver in the 1970s and later became known to a wider public through several Hollywood films.
Cannonball is also synonymous with illegal car races as the Cannonball Run; these serve as a model for (legal) fun events on the water
One of the best-known films dedicated to this topic is “All hell breaks loose on the highway” (original title: The Cannonball Run), an American action comedy. It was produced in 1981 under the direction of former stuntman Hal Needham, who plays a small supporting role himself.
Parts 1 and 2 of this classic film won a total of eight Golden Raspberry awards (Farrah Fawcett, worst supporting actress, 1982, Burt Reynolds, Shirley MacLaine, worst actor, 1984, Hal Needham, worst director, Albert S. Ruddy, worst film, Harvey Miller, Hal Needham, Albert S. Ruddy, worst screenplay, Sammy Davis, Jr, Susan Anton, Marilu Henner, Worst Supporting Actor), but that didn’t – and doesn’t – seem to detract from the on-screen spectacle.
After 43 years, many motorsport enthusiasts are once again competing against and with each other for the coveted Cannonball trophy – but this time with boats
Just like their role models in the US action spectacle, including the adventurer J. J. McClure with his crazy assistant Victor, who are traveling with an ambulance and the doctor Nikolas van Helsing, the ex-racer and alcoholic Jamie Blake, who appears disguised as a priest with his passenger Fenderbaum, or Seymour Goldfarb, who competes in his Aston Martin in James Bond style, many motorsport enthusiasts – inspired by the film – are once again competing 43 years later to win the coveted Cannonball trophy – only this time not on the road, but on the water.
In addition to the 1st to 3rd places for the best points scores (the points are included in the Cannonballs to be collected), other fun prizes will be awarded, including the breakdown trophy, the trophy for the longest journey and the public prizes for the best, sexiest and funniest costume as well as for the most beautiful boat.
The aim of the Cannonball Run Costa Brava is not to achieve top speeds or best times, but to collect so-called cannonballs with initially secret contents, which are collected at various posts around the Bay of Roses, Cap Creus and Cap Begur to the south at the time of the takeover and may only be opened at the award ceremony at the end of the event, according to the organizers.
The winners of the Cannonball Run do not have to be top athletes, only luck counts – but the crew must be dressed up
The winners of the Cannonball Run don’t have to perform at their best, they need one thing above all: a lot of luck. The advantage of this is that there is no need to divide the participating sports boats into different competition classes, and all participating crews have the same chances, regardless of whether they are sailing a powerboat or a small cruiser yacht.
One condition, however, is that at least the driver and co-driver of each team must be dressed up. According to the organizers, “special creativity” is required here, as different titles are also advertised in this area. In addition, “anyone with a suitable, seaworthy motorboat” can take part. An appropriate motorboat license, valid international liability insurance and adequate rescue and safety equipment for all crew members are a matter of course and a prerequisite.
The Cannonball Sea Run Costa Brave is all about having fun, not who has the most powerful engine or who finishes first
Of course, there are some “high-powered, high-performance boats and yachts in the starting field, some of which are equipped with several propulsion engines”, say the organizers, but the Cannonball is all about fun and safety. To prepare for the event, the organizers recommend watching the 1981 film “All hell breaks loose on the highway” – preferably together with the whole crew.
Speaking of safety: even though this is a fun event, safety on the water must not be neglected. For this reason, SeaHelp Costa Brava provides professional security for the entire event. SeaHelp operations manager Axel Albrot, who is responsible for the entire Costa Brava, is able to tow even heavy yachts with his emergency boat Anna, which is well prepared for all emergencies, and escort them back to port if necessary.
Further information / registration for the Cannonball Sea Run Costa Brava 2024
Organizer: Piet Nautic Service | Peter Gnech
Official program (excerpt):
Registration and briefing of the crews, allocation of start numbers in the beach bar La Bocana on the main beach of Empuriabrava (Carrer Salins 1 Linea, 8, 17487 Empuriabrava, Girona, Spain). Please note: this bar cannot be reached by boat.
2.9.2024 (sea day 1)
Flying start in front of the harbor exit of Roses, trip to Cap de Creus. The first route post is located to the north of the passage between Cap de Creus and Illa S’Encalladora. Here you will receive the first cannonball. After rounding the Illa S`Encalladora in a clockwise direction, head southwest back to Cadaques. The next ball is waiting here. The route continues into the basin of Cala Montjoi, where the hidden marshal boat makes the handover in one of the bays. From here, the course heads south to La Escala. The last ball of the day is taken over in front of the harbor entrance. Fuel talks and lunch are served in the La Clota restaurant directly at the port of La Escala.
From 8 pm
Joint evening event planned on the party catamaran Magic.
3.9.2024 (sea day 2)
Start in front of the harbor exit of Roses (flying start). On a southerly course to the south side of the Islas Medes. The first cannonball of the day takes place here. From here, the route continues south to Cala Sa Tuna on Cap Begur to the next course post – ball number 2. The route continues along the coast towards La Escala, where the next course post must be sought. For the last ball of the day, head across the bay to the Badia de Guillola behind Port Lligat.
From the exit of the bay, take a south-westerly course to Cala Joncols, where you can enjoy a refreshing swim and refreshments. From here we head for the bay of Canyelles Petites. This is about halfway back to Empuriabrava. The El Pirata beach bar at the Hotel Vistabella is the destination. There is a floating jetty with mooring lines and buoys for the larger boats. End the evening at La Bocana.
4.9.2024 (sea day 3)
Flying start in front of the port entrance of Empuriabrava. The first cannonball is off La Escala. The course continues in a south-easterly direction to Cala Montgo to the 2nd course post. The boats cross the bay again to collect ball number 3 off Cadaques. The approximate position of the 4th ball can be found on the nautical chart. Attention: hidden boat!
From 8 pm
Award ceremony at La Bocana
(Information without guarantee, subject to change)