Last February, and after six months of work and previous procedures, the Fundación Vela Clásica de España was registered in the Foundations registry, under the presidency of Valle de la Riva and with Javier Gorbeña and Petete Rubio as vice-presidents and Jose Luis Villar as Member, with registered office at the Puerto Sherry marina in Puerto de Santa Maria.
The Fundación Vela Clásica de España also includes owners and enthusiasts of Vintage and Classic Boats, authentic jewels of Spanish nautical heritage.
Being its primary objective the promotion and promotion of classic sailing in Spain, helping to conserve and maintain these boats.
So far, well, it could be said that it is a very repeated argument and starting point in each and every one of the Foundations that exist throughout the Spanish territory with a diversity of aims and objectives.
In this article we are going to present each and every one of the various aspects and tasks of this Foundation, which undoubtedly make it different from its inception.
The foundation currently has a full-time director, who manages and organizes both the day-to-day and the planning and operation of the medium and long term.
The FVCE differs from others in its financing model since it is achieved in three different ways. A first one that consists of the donations it receives from shipowners and other entities, both public and private.
The second comes from the results of the Gipsy Geneva operating account, which allocates a part of its profits to the Foundation and which for 3 years has been established in the consumer, hotel and restaurant sector. Perhaps this is the most important novelty or at least the most curious in the financing section that gives it a special and personal role.
The third way comes from the exploitation of the dry dock that they have installed in Puerto Sherry, where a highly qualified staff provides their services to the classic boats that they choose for their repairs, refits and wintering.
The choice of Puerto Sherry has its logical and technical reasons. On the one hand, the situation of the Puerto Deportivo marina located in a privileged enclave straddling the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, gives it the role of “port of passage” and “landfall” for traffic from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, when the east blows with intensity in the Strait. And the technical part is endorsed by the enormous natural space of its dock that allows to install a specific base for the Foundation and at the same time be able to count on the dock’s own services both for stranding and launching its boats.
As some of its promoters told us in the visit made by this newspaper to its facilities, “this type of ship, in reference to the classics at the moment, has a tendency to disappear and the Foundation has become a kind of Orphanage for some of these boats, which some of their owners for various reasons cannot attend or maintain ”.
Shipowners can access the services provided by the FVCE in two different ways by donating their boats, one as “partial” and the other as “total”. In the first case, the owner donates his boat partially and what the FVCE does is repair and / or get it ready and a minimum period of use and enjoyment of the boat is guaranteed, the owner being the one who maintains it after the end of that period or puts it on for sale. The second option is when the shipowner donates it permanently to the FVCE, for which the shipowner signs a contract with the Foundation, which repairs it and puts it to sail, either as a sailing school, regattas or charter.
At the moment, the FVCE has 100% donated two boats, the “Livia”, a 42-foot Herresfor, rigged in Yawl that comes from Pollensa and one of the few boats of this type that has a folding centerboard and they hope to have it operational in 2022 . “Laro” a classic 6.5 meters long of the Norse Boat type, rigged by Cangreja and used as a sailing school.
And partially donated for the use and enjoyment of the FVCE, it has an important fleet made up as the flagship of the now mythical “Gipsy”, a crab ketch, designed by Colín Archer and built in 1927 in the Cadiz shipyards of Echevarrieta and Larriñaga with Remnants left over from the construction of our Juan Sebastián de Elcano training ship, with an exciting logbook on its 94 years of voyages. Precisely the gin brand launched on the market in 2019 takes its name from this mythical ship.
The classic motor also has its place in the FVCE, since temporarily ceded they have the “Tuchi” a canoe of the mythical American brand Cris-Craft from 1957.
The Sparkman & Stephens “Folia”, a 1951 yawl, is being repaired and getting ready since it is the intention of the Foundation to sail with it, in the next Copa del Rey de Clásicos de Mahón.
The last unit available to the FVCE is the “Lsoba”, a 6 meter from 1900 approximately, which has a long process of complete restoration since it was in very poor condition.
But the dry dock not only houses Foundation units, but other vessels have chosen it to carry out the same repairs on their boats, such as the maxi “Mephisto” among other units. And others as a base for training and operations.
The teaching and business training of its students is another of the concerns that the FVCE is working on. At the moment the Foundation has an agreement with the Pablo Ruiz Picasso Professional Schools, from Chiclana de la Frontera, to train their students in riverbank and motor carpentry, which they will be expanding with other schools of similar characteristics throughout the towns of the surroundings of the bay of Cadiz, in the specialties of sails, masts and rigging.
Apart from the aforementioned subjects, the students receive business education so that at the end of the course they can establish themselves either as freelancers or as companies and cooperatives, to be able to develop their learning professionally, while having the Foundation’s dry dock as a pilot experience in Your activities.
Social activities with people with different degrees of disability also have their place within the FVCE, at the moment they are about to close an agreement with AFANAS of El Puerto de Santa Maria, to bring them closer to the sea and this type of boats, starting with this activity next September. They also maintain an agreement with the Astu de Cartagena Association through Prolam for a workshop school for the restoration of marine bronzes, essential pieces in classic sailing.
The Olivare Foundation of Malaga, which cares for children with cancer, is another of the associations with which the FVCE has an agreement.
Several workshops are also in its teaching portfolio, always with the aim of bringing classic sailing closer to the whole of society and especially to the amateur segment to try to recover with them the traditional values of sailing. The first workshop was one on navigation with a sextant, which was a complete success with the number of places sold out almost immediately. The second workshop once the summer season is over will be crab sailing and they hope to gradually develop this activity that has initially been in high demand.
The sports section also occupies its space in the organization chart of activities of the Foundation, with the sponsorship of regattas such as the Copa del Rey de Vela de Palma and the Copa del Rey de Clásicos in Mahón, the Illes Balears Trophy, the Classic Port Week Sherry, the Colombinas regattas of Punta Umbría and the Gipsy regatta of the Bay of Cádiz. To promote the quarry and create a quarry of good crew members who will man these boats in the future, it sponsors the brothers Carlos and Fernando Flethes, fourth in the 420 world championship just held.