BARCELONA WILL BOAST OF GATHERING TRUE MASTERPIECES FROM NAVAL ARCHITECTURE THIS SUMMER: MOONBEAM III AND IV, MARIQUITA, CREOLE, AVEL OR THE MANITOU.
- Going back in naval history will be possible thanks to the surprising stories hidden behind every participating yacht
- These vessels will become a floating museum that both people from Barcelona and tourists will be able to delight in different places around the city.
The VI Puig Vela Clàssica Barcelona has scheduled the participation of more than fifty yachts, including classic and vintage ones, from all around the globe: Spain, France, England, USA, Argentina, etc. The sporting and social event is going to reunite the best vintage and classic boats of the Mediterranean from 10th to 13th July.
These vessels embody both an extraordinary beauty and a difficult to quantify historical value, and even a select group of them hide important and fabulous stories that make them unique. Either because they’ve participated in wars, or because their owners have been important personalities (some were presidents or aristocratic families).
Many of these boats, which we now admire in all their splendour, remained abandoned in harbors, forgotten in rivers, sunk in lakes or razed by hurricanes, becoming almost useless. Afterwards, thanks to the dreams of passionate people towards navigation, they’ve resurrected so powerfully that, still today, they’re competing in the main regattas around the globe.
MANITOU, JOHN F. KENNEDY’S PRESIDENTIAL SAILING BOAT
During the VI Edition of the Puig Vela Clàssica Barcelona some marine legends will be present. This is the case of Manitou, which became the presidential boat of John F. Kennedy and was fully equipped with radio and communication system to be localizable when he was not in the Oval Office. He spent so much time in it that his nickname was “The Floating White House”. John Kennedy often used it in New England, but never competed with it until the summer of 1962, when he challenged his friend and known regattist Emil Mosbacher. During this funny challenge, a security crew from the Secret Service followed him and stated that the sailing boat could reach high speeds. This episode became a key fact when it later became the defender of the American Cup, with the consequent sorrow of the President.
THE MOONBEAM: NAVAL HISTORY MARKS
The Moonbeam III was an order from British lawyer Charles Plumtree Johnson, initial owner of the four boats designed by Fife family. William Fife was the responsible for the construction of the first boat from the series known as Moonbeam. In 1903, the Moonbeam III was built, which will move to Cannes in 1920 to settle in the harbor. After many owners, in 1989 it was auctioned by Sotheby’s and in 2000 it was purchased by the current owner, Didier Waetcher, who organized a big party for its century in 2003.
On the other hand, the Moonbeam IV was the last and the biggest one of all the existing “Moonbeams”, and has the prestige of having taken in Rainier III Prince of Monaco and Grace Kelly during their honeymoon in 1956. It was designed by William Fife II and it’s one of the few classic auric cutters that still sail. We’re talking about one of the most beautiful boats in the world, not only because of its exterior, but also because its luxurious details. They stated building it in 1914, but the Great War didn’t allow its ending until 1929.
CREOLE AND AVEL, BEAUTIES AND LUXURY FROM THE SEA
Some other alive naval jewels that will set sails in Barcelona are the ones from Gucci’s family. The Creole (1927), considered one of the most beautiful sailing boats in the world, participated in the Second World War. Despite these circumstances and the fact that it has the most prominent length in the competition (65,30 meters), the history behind it it’s full of misfortunes, which let the people think it is a cursed boat. However, there exists no other more beautiful show than witnessing the Creole sailing in the water with all sails blown by the wind.
The Avel, launched in 1896, was buried with mud in a river in England since 1927, until 1990, when the Gucci family purchased it. Since then, it’s regularly sailed by the daughters of Maurizio Gucci.
MUSEUM PIECES WHICH ARE STILL ALIVE
Some other legends sailing this summer in the Catalan capital are the Mariette, requisitioned by the Coastal Guard service of the USA during the Second World War in order to keep an eye on the West Coast; or the British St. Christopher and Mariquita, of 46 and 38 meters length each one. The last one was owned by many different people until 2004, when it was found and restored by a group of people from Fairlie, the British shipyard of Hamble, near Southhampton.
All these mythical pieces share a special feature: despite their seniority, the multiple owners they’ve had and the many repairs they’ve suffered, in their decks there’s still the fragrance of their original spirit. They are naval museum artworks that own a special cultural heritage and are still able to sail, but seldom in big cities like Barcelona. Both the city and the tourists will be able to admire the luxury of the most iconic boats in history that will become floating museums. All of this, less than a mile far away from the shore and in different locations such as the Port Vell, the Port Olímpic or the Barceloneta beach itself.
The Regatta Puig Vela Clássica
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