I feel I just been given the biggest embrace by a town and it's people. It's been an utterly unforgettable experience. Seven days packed to the brim with fun, friendship and laughter.
That town is Santona, a small Spanish town near Santander, the hosts of the 2016 RS Tera World Championships.
The backdrop was stunning, Santona sits at the mouth of the river to the sea with mountains that drop down to the crystal clear sea. The weather was varied but this made the sunny days even sweeter.
A huge marquee was set up on the waterfront which formed the epicentre of operations. The race office, changing facilities, briefing zone, bar and Ben's RS sailing workshop.
They provided volunteers in the same way as the games makers in the London Olympics. These volunteers gave their heart and souls. They worked tirelessly sung, danced and played with a troup of boys too little to sail. They became their heroes.
They looked after the competitors royally with breakfast and supper every day. Additionally there were cool bottles of water continually available on demand to all from slightly fraught parents to hot siblings.
The waterfront hosted local enterprises selling beers, cool glasses of wine, gourmet burgers, mussels and ice cream. Our every need was catered for.
The town turned out for the opening and closing ceremonies, they closed roads and welcomed us with open arms. People hung from balconies, filled the square and the mayor and local dignitaries supported.
Launching became an event in itself. As soon as they raised the D flag and sounded the hooter, the waterfront was cordoned off. The locals hung off the taped area and the volunteers sung, high fived as they walked the boats into the water. Once the last boat was launched, a whistle was sounded and the waterfront erupted into cheers. Twice daily this routine repeated.
Winds were light but racing was good. 5 days of racing, with only 1 day with a delayed start whilst they waited for the winds to build. There were more completed races than I have ever seen at a Championship which shows the determination of the competitors.
Once the sailors returned we all migrated to the waterfront, adults sampling the local cool wine, beer and anchovies. The sailors leapt of the pontoon as the sun set on Santona.
What about the winners, of course congratulations go them, but this event became more. Every sailor there had their own personal battle and the town treated them all like heroes. Newspapers and local shops reported of their bravery. Sailing 5hrs a day for over 5 days in foreign waters is not to be casually dismissed.
Each sailor was given a memento of the event, a beautifully presented pottery model of the boat mounted on varnished wood. It was made for them by the inhabitants of the low security prison in the town. Showing how far reaching the championships had become.
I looked over the water as the sun set, the local brass band played and we danced, sung and cheered and I smiled.
Next year we will be in Carnac, could it ever live up to Santona?