Now rebranded, as Triathlon Azores Airlines, a triathlon event in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores in the mid-Atlantic got under way this year on 5-6 November 2016. Based in Portas do Mar, Ponta Delgada city, the event was previously known as the Triatlo Longo de Ponta Delgada.
Azores Airlines, which itself was previously known as SATA Internacional, is a Portuguese airline based in the municipality of Ponta Delgada, on the island of São Miguel in the autonomous archipelago of the Azores. The new Azores Airlines logo utilises the tail fin of a whale, a distinct symbol of the Azores, as the region is currently one of the largest whale sanctuaries in the world.
The complex of Portas do Mar was inaugurated in 2008 with the purpose of re-establishing Ponta Delgada’s seafront by converting it into a space for leisure on the island of São Miguel. As a transport hub for the Azores, Portas do Mar has a maritime terminal for cruisers and inter-island ferries.
There is also a recreational marina with an overall capacity of 440 boats, with its respective support areas (changing rooms, reception, storage, etc.), a pool and its support building, an underground car park for 200 vehicles, a large amphitheatre, a pavilion for exhibitions and cultural events, as well as a garden along the seaside promenade. This new development is physically connected to the old marina of Ponta Delgada and its respective services.
São Miguel Island, known locally as the Green Island, is the largest island in the Azores Archipelago and most densely populated. The triathlon event is a joint organization of the Portas do Mar Association, Clube Açoriano de Todo o Terreno, Triathlon Federation of Portugal, with the support of the Municipality of Ponta Delgada and the Government of Azores.
Sprint race: 950m sea swim, 27km bike and 5km road run
Middle distance: 1800m sea swim, 84km bike and 21km road run
In the middle distance race competitors battled for the Portuguese Triathlon Club Championships title.
The sea swim is in the clear water of Ponta Delgada’s sheltered harbour. The cycling route is undulating with laps of the town on closed roads. It’s generally fast and mostly flat with ‘two short inclines to split the field’. The road run follows laps of a similarly flat course along the harbour and out into the villages along the seafront.