Joves Navegants triumphs in Tall Ships Race.
A chance meeting between the President of the International Sail Training Association and Pat Bullock of Majorca’s Joves Navegants, resulted in the local charity’s yacht, Galaxie, being entered in this year’s Mediterranean Tall Ships Race on its course from Spain through to France and Italy.
Thirty-nine grand vessels crossed the line at Barcelona, all racing for Toulon. Although 21-metre Galaxie was jostling for position alongside an impressive collection of square-rigged leviathans, she made a great start under the careful helmsmanship of Captain Joan Dicenta Aguirre.
Four adult crew, including Captain Terry Perkiss, plus five disadvantaged young people from local care centres, kept Galaxie surging past much of the fleet at almost eight knots, until the wind abruptly died. Becalmed throughout the night, they spent a frustrating 15 hours covering the final 10 miles of the 200 mile course, yet still managed to arrive third in their class.
However, this week, on the second leg from Toulon to La Spezia, Galaxie’s crew put everything they had into winning. Flying across the finish line in first place, and gaining her a first place overall in her class, her crew were justly jubilant with their result. This is an amazing achievement for an amateur crew in an renown international regatta, and would never have taken place without the support and sponsorship of The Superyacht Cup, Rotary Palma and Rothschilds.
For more than 20 years Joves Navegants has been teaching some of the island’s most disadvantaged young people how to sail, navigate and appreciate the island’s rich marine ecosystem. In northern Europe the benefits of sail training for children with a wide range of social and physical problems is well known, and it was this philosophy that led English and Irish yachtsmen to set up the organisation here in the early 1990s.
Today Joves Navegants is a fully fledged Foundation, and helps dozens of young people every year. For the most enthusiastic teens, the charity enables them to take professional qualifications and join the island’s buoyant nautical industry once they complete their schooling.
Some time next week, when Galaxie makes it back to her home port of Palma’s Club de Mar, there will be a welcome party for her triumphant crew and local supporters, before the yacht begins her winter round of training sessions ready for the Ruta de la Sal regatta at Easter.
The charity has also joined forces with Asociación Ondine’s StingRay Project and will be making regular trips around the island throughout the winter to monitor stingray numbers and breeding grounds. understand the environment in which they operate.