The regatta organised by the Club de Mar-Mallorca starts this Thursday, 11th August, with more than twenty historic boats in the competition.
The month of August brings us the most important event of the year for Club de Mar-Mallorca: the Regatta Illes Balears Clàssics, which this year reaches its 27th edition.
The event has been presented today at the Museu Marítim de Mallorca with the presence of the general director Club de Mar – Mallorca, José Luis Arrom, the commodore of the entity and head of the Illes Balears Clàssics, Manuel Nadal de Uhler, as well as the director of the Museu Marítim de Mallorca, Albert Forés.
This year the regatta returns to three days of racing, after two years of health restrictions, and the dates chosen are 11 to 14 August. From this Thursday, once again, the best international classic sailing boats will gather at our club to celebrate this magnificent event in which the beauty of the historic vessels and the sport of sailing merge perfectly.
Nadal de Uhler highlighted in the presentation the participation of boats such as “the Uruguayan Fjord, the Argyll, La Spina or the Meerblick Classic, the Argos, the Giraldilla or the Stella Polare from the Italian navy. They are all great teams and it is a privilege to be able to count on them in the regatta”.
For his part, José Luis Arrom apologised for the inconvenience that the remodelling of the facilities may cause to the participants, but assured that the organisation will do its utmost to ensure that boats and sailors can enjoy the event as always. In addition, Arrom announced a major edition of the Illes Balears Clàssics for 2024 to coincide with the reopening of the Club de Mar: “We are preparing a special edition of the regatta, the best gathering of classics in the Mediterranean. Based on our experience after so many years organising classic sailing competitions, we are ready to take on this great mega-regatta, for the beauty and quality of the boats that we want to bring to Palma in the year of the club’s re-inauguration”.
In this edition of the Illes Balears Clàssics, more than 20 boats and their respective crews will fight for a good position in the different races in three days of competition. On this occasion, we will be able to enjoy for the first time in the Club de Mar the presence of Merrymaid, the oldest boat of this edition, launched in 1904. It is a beautiful Gaff Cutter of 34 metres in length, built by Camper & Nicholson in 1904, the year in which it had a glorious debut in regatta as it won the King’s Cup in England in the presence of King Edward VII.
At least two other boats directly related to royalty are taking part in this year’s Illes Balears Clàssics: Giraldilla and Meermin. The Giraldilla originally belonged to Don Juan de Borbón, grandfather of King Felipe VI, and was recovered in 2002 by the Fundación Hispania when it was lying in very poor condition in an estuary of the river Tagus. Its use and conservation has recently been ceded to the Fundación Vela Clásica de España. The Meermin, which can be said to be making its debut in the Club de Mar regatta after a complete refit, is a riveted steel ketch, usually moored in the port of Pollença. It was launched in 1951 in Antwerp (Belgium) and was originally owned by a member of the royal family of that country. It was then moored for many years in Ireland, and almost perished on a dangerous excursion to Greenland. Later on, while her owners were on a Mediterranean route, she broke down and was towed by an American destroyer to the port of Palma, where she was bought by her current owner in 1991.
Each boat that takes part in the race has a long seafaring history full of adventures. We can also find stories of espionage among the participants in the Illes Balears Clàssics. The Gipsy, launched in 1927, carried out secret work during the Spanish Civil War under the British flag. The schooner So Fong, launched in 1937 in Hong Kong, was accused of gathering sensitive information for the United States in Vietnam in the 1970s, a fact that almost put an end to the boat, as after being banned from leaving the country it ended up abandoned in some mangroves in the Asian country until its complicated recovery.
This year the regatta also brings back its social programme in a new location on quay 7. Apart from welcoming the participants on Thursday, the 11th, the following day will see the return of the crew party. Every day, the return to port will be enlivened with music and ‘After Race Drinks’ and on the last day of competition, Sunday, the prizegiving ceremony will be held to bring this year’s edition of the Illes Balears Clàssics to a close.
Howden Sturge, Allianz, BASJOSA, Gin Gipsy 1927, Absolut BBQ, Estrella Damm and TRUEWORLD are supporting the event this year as collaborating companies. Their involvement with maritime heritage and classic sailing makes it possible to organise events like the Illes Balears Clàssics of Club de Mar – Mallorca.