Learn to keep the wind in the sails

SEPTEMBER 2012

17-02-01Thousands of years ago, man began to sail using a simple log floating in the river, and followed that with the canoe, the oar, the rudder, the sail and then great ships laden with oarsmen… A means of transport that at that time explored new horizons has now also become a sport and leisure activity that gains more followers every year, especially among the young.

For example, in Catalonia, the region in the world that has produced the most sailing champions in youth categories, nearly 100,000 children join school sailing courses each year. In recent years, the amount taking part in water sports such as windsurfing and kitesurfing has also increased to 30%. There has been a boom in new products to enjoy water sports boating which can be seen in the Barcelona International Boat Show, which will be held in Port Vell from 26 to 30 September.

17-02-02“This shows that taboos have been overcome and the elitist image that accompanied the world of sailing for many years has ended… and this has been possible thanks to changing attitudes in society and the efforts of yacht clubs to popularize the sport, explains Gerard Esteve, of the Catalan Sailing Federation. . There is a sailing centre or yacht club for every 3 kilometres of coastline in Catalonia today.

Cabin boys

People become sailors when they are almost still in the cradle. “It is very important to encourage sailing among children to cultivate this passion for the sea and also to inculcate positive values such as excellence, teamwork, respect for nature, decision-making, effort and enthusiasm…,” adds Esteve.

17-02-03For Julia Ndocky, head of Marketing at the Barcelona Municipal Sailing Centre – one of the largest in Europe with 15,000 users a year, “as in any other sport, promoting sailing in childhood has a heavy emotional factor, as links that influence the motor and social skills development of those taking part are established. It is also a good way of encouraging family activities.”

Some beginners start with group outings, while others prefer to sail alone in an Optimist – a small sailing dinghy designed for children aged between six and fourteen. This is where they learn to overcome difficulties and use their instincts when steering the ship. These are the first steps by those who will be the sailors of the future… as well as the customers of the future for a sailing industry which has a turnover of 5,600 million euros in Spain.

Technology at sea

17-02-04

The new generations are encouraging the leisure yachting sector to continue innovating. Technology is one of the areas where the most progress has been made. One of the latest developments, presented at the Barcelona International Boat Show, is SmartPort, a port management platform and social network for ship owners and cruisers that works via mobile phones and tablets.

SmartPort Applications

  • Mooring bookings. Moorings can be booked and paid for online.
  • Geolocation. Shows where the ships belonging to the social network are and allows them to chat about the weather, the state of beaches, etc.
  • Port situation. Information on ports, their location, access, services, tourist attractions, etc.
  • Nautical charts. Available for consultation via tablet.
  • Meteorology. Professional weather forecasts with data on sea conditions, storm warnings, etc.
  • Alerts. Users can include alerts in their profiles to renew documents, technical reviews, etc.
  • Trip record: allows a ship’s journeys to be saved and shared on the social network.

M. G. D.