Regatta La Ruta de la Sal Rumbo Ibiza

An offshore race with a rich history and promising future 

La Ruta de la Sal was born during a sailing journey between the island of Formentera and Barcelona. Its founder, Pepe Ferrés, sought to ignite in others his profound passion for sailing, encouraging the myriad of sailboats that populate our harbours to embark upon the open sea. 

Heading towards its 40th year of history 

Engine failure, a long journey, and plenty of time to think. These were the elements at Pepe Ferrés’ disposal at the close of summer 1988, which he utilized to craft a vision that he would ultimately bring to life. This inspiration stemmed from a tale of a prominent figure from Barcelona who, faced with a dire salt shortage in the city due to a Carlist siege, issued a call to action for shipowners and captains: to equip their vessels, navigate to Formentera, fill their hulls with salt, and hasten back to the Garraf coast in the least time feasible, with a pledge to reward the quickest with their weight in gold. Pepe also had the good fortune to choose an ideal date, organizing the first La Ruta de la Sal on the Easter of 1989. The response was enthusiastic, so much so that by 2001, this offshore race gathered 310 participants. In 1991, a second version was created starting from the RCN of Denia and in 1997 the arrival of both fleets was moved to Ibiza, later being set at the CN of Sant Antoni de Portmany. To the Barcelona version, a direct crossing of 140 miles starting from Port Ginesta, and the Denia version, which adds up to 117 miles leaving Ibiza and Formentera to port – with both arriving at Sant Antoni de Portmany – was added the Mini Sal – a direct route between Denia and Ibiza (54 miles) opening up the possibility of gaining experience in offshore sailing. New categories have also been created, such as the Double-Handed, the GlobeSailor, which gathers the ever-increasing number of school and charter boats registered, and the Salina, which enhances female presence on board. 

A mix of competition and tourism 

Selecting Ibiza as the final point of the race not only adds appeal but serves as a crucial aspect of the event. This significance is acknowledged by various governing bodies and organizations, including the Govern de les Illes Balears, the Consell de Ibiza, the Ajuntament de Sant Antoni de Portmany, and Ports IB, all of which provide strong support for the regatta. Their backing is a testament to the race’s importance in promoting Ibiza’s beauty, its tourist-friendly nature, and the strategic importance of its port. So much so that La Ruta de la Sal is one of the sporting events declared by the Consell de Ibiza as of insular tourist interest. To this institutional support, we must add that of a high number of private companies eager to associate their name with La Ruta de la Sal, aware of the many values it conveys and its high level of media impact, such as Garmin, GlobeSailor, Ausmar, Vetus, OD Hotels, Jeanneau, Rumbo Norte, Yamaha, Rocna/Origin Marine, Sail Select, MedCat Yachts, Rio Ibiza, Sal Torres Ibiza, Illy, New Wave Group, Gramona, and the Barcelona Boat Show.  

The truth is that this edition has been truly atypical, due to the Nelson storm which caused such a strong swell on the coast of Garraf that it made the mouth of Port Ginesta impracticable from Thursday the 28th, the scheduled day for the start, until Saturday the 30th. At that time, it was unviable to start the race towards Ibiza, since the AEMET warned of the arrival of force 7 winds for that same night. This report led the organization to alter the course and distance of it, starting a coastal journey – round trip from Port Ginesta to Vilanova – of about 18 miles, which was run with a gentle wind that did not exceed 10 knots, always from S/SW. Despite the understandable disappointment of not being able to sail to Ibiza, the participants of the Barcelona version made every effort to enjoy the event to the fullest despite Storm Nelson. They declared the Sun Fast 35 Diabolic, owned by Glenn de Brouwer from the Belgian Sailing Yacht Club, as the overall winner. Additionally, the Bandido, a Dehler 44 skippered by Juan Carlos Otamendi from Port Ginesta, clinched victory in real time, while the Suhail, a Malbec 360 under the command of Xavi Mas from Más Navega, secured the top position in the GlobeSailor category. 

While the Barcelona fleet was sailing along the Catalan coast, in Ibiza the award ceremony for the Denia version took place, whose outright winner was the Celeste di Mare by Amador Magrané from RCN Port de Pollença, a Carabela 32 made of moulded wood and built in 1971, being one of the boats with the smallest length. Aviador, a First 53 by Gabriel Medem, was awarded first line honours, while Fulha, a Dufour 460GL by Javier Moreno from RCR de Alicante, won in the GlobeSailor category, and Atrevida, an LH39 schooner by Marga Matas did the same in the Mini Sal. To close the award ceremony in Sant Antoni de Portmany, all attendees waved as a loving tribute and message of solidarity towards the racers of the Barcelona version who were not able to sail to the island of Ibiza. 

Now under the stewardship of the Enregata team, led by Andrés Oliva, La Ruta de la Sal is navigating confidently into its fourth decade, driven by a steadfast commitment to continue enriching its storied legacy. 


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