Club Náutico Ibiza – A focal point of Ibiza’s sailing scene
Words: Hilary Crane
Photography: CNI, Jürgen Bushe
September 28, 2015
The sailing club and school Club Nautico of Ibiza was founded in 1925, originally formed by a group of sailing enthusiasts who came together to share their love of the waters which surround Ibiza. From this small group, the club has grown over the years to include a sailing school, which has trained some of the most competent and award winning sailors from the island, who continue to excel in local and international regattas, a strong testament to the quality of teaching and the pride that the school takes in its pupils.
The club is an important hub for sailors on Ibiza, and despite many attempts from large companies to purchase or rent the premises in the prime location on the port of Ibiza, continues to provide a much loved and thriving social point for the sailing community, as well as being one of the biggest sailing schools in Ibiza. Here, local children are given the chance to learn about the sea and develop their boating skills from a young age, with the invaluable experience and knowledge from the professional team. Offering classes all year round the club has over 900 members, of which around 100 are still active sailors.
We spoke to Sebastian Vidal Torres, Director of the Sailing School, who was born and raised on Ibiza, and first took to the waters at the tender age of nine years old. With 25 years experience of teaching children and young adults to sail, he tells us that his love for the sea, sailing and educating children is what drives him, and he explains that these days, children have so much more opportunity, equipment and skills available to them than when he began his sailing life! He tells us that these days, much of the sailing school activity takes place around the waters of Talamanca, since the year 200, as the waters around the main port of Ibiza are simply too crowded.
Of course, one of the most important factors in sailing is the wind, and this small island of ours is surrounded by powerful and unpredictable weather, with the wind being one of the most powerful forces of nature, one over which we have no control. A change in wind speed, temperature or direction can chance a peaceful, calm, fun filled day at sea into a potentially dangerous and even life threatening situation. He says that the Mediterranean Sea, so beautiful and clear, is much more unpredictable than the waters of the Atlantic, making it a riskier place to be out at sea.
This is why, Sebastian explains, it is of the utmost importance to be aware of the maritime forecasts, and he tells us that before beginning each day he checks three or four different meteorological websites, assessing each one and then making his own informed decision about the sailing day ahead. Of course, in days gone by, such websites were not available, and this is evident in the inherent knowledge of long time sailors, especially those native to the island, for example, fisherman who can spot in an instant when the winds are about to change and know instinctively to head for shore. These men and women understand the power and the force of the winds, and the need to have the utmost respect for their strength and speed.
Another popular water based pastime in Ibiza is kitesurfing, again a high octane sport which relies on the unpredictable power of the wind. The shores of Cala Martina, S’Argamassa and Aguas Blancas are the most popular locations, but locals and kitesurfing experts warn that once again, you are putting yourself at the mercy of the wind, this most powerful of elements, and indeed, fatalities have sadly occurred in recent years. If you wish to indulge in this adrenaline filled activity, be sure to seek solid and sound advice from experts on the island before taking to the water.
Sebastian says that 15 knots is the perfect wind speed for an idyllic day of sailing, and that beginners should always take things slowly, learning and listening to advice from more experienced sailors until they begin to understand the secrets of the sea and the force of the winds that surround them. However, daredevils and more experienced sailors often delight in taking to the sea when the winds are higher, with increased speed and thrills, but of course they take with them a wealth of knowledge, and also exceptional physical strength which is imperative to be able to handle a vessel out at sea in high winds. The most dangerous of times to be out at sea, is when the island experiences one of its spectacular electrical storms, a rogue bolt of lightning hitting he mast of a boat can be catastrophic, and potentially fatal, this, Sebastian says, is the time when you absolutely shouldn’t be on the sea, no matter how experienced or strong you are!
The club is looking forward to seeing some of their prodigies compete in the upcoming regattas, with shining stars such as Victor Albert, Lucas Vetter, Marc Terrassa and Ivan Moreno amongst them. The next big regatta will take place on Mallorca, the Gran Dia de la Vela at the Club Nautical Arenal , featuring 20 sailors from the club. The next event to take place on the island itself is the Balearic Championship, which runs from 26th until 30th August , and will feature more than 700 boats, followed by the Cruiser Class Regatta Jornadas Nauticas Pitiusas which takes place over 3 days from September 18th-20th.
For more information about Club Nautico and all of the services they offer, see their website www.clubnauticoibiza.com