Boatshed Barcelona in the “Ruta de la Sal” 2006

Gert Van den Bergh reporting for Boatshed Barcelona

In May 1846, there was a severe shortage of salt in the city of Barcelona, due to a blockade of the city. A known Barcelonese business man had the original idea of calling on the most famous navigators of the time and presenting them with a challenge: he would pay for the service of transporting salt from the Pitiusas’s salt mines to El Garraf (Barcelona) but according to the order of arrival. The first to arrive would be paid in gold but the last ones would perhaps not even be able to pay their mariner’s wages.

With this historic event as inspiration, the “Ruta de la Sal” regatta was created in 1989 and has grown over time to become the deep sea regatta with the highest participation in the Mediterranean. Nowadays, there are 2 versions: one which goes from Barcelona to Ibiza and another from Denia to Ibiza. In each version there are now yearly 150 boats competing. This year the race took place from 13 to 15 of April.

At the beginning of February, I received a phone call from Jorge who is the first customer to whom I sold a boat (a Bavaria 34). He asked me if I would be interested to crew on his boat for the regatta. He also wanted to invite the previous owner of his boat, as he had already done the “Ruta de la Sal” in 2004. Of course, both of us did agree. So early in the morning on April 13, we left the port of Barcelona headed for Ibiza.

In the beginning we had very little wind. But after several hours of navigation, the wind did pick up to about 10 knots and kept on blowing until the early hours of the 14th. Then, suddenly the wind dropped dramatically while we came in sight of Majorca. After a few tacks, we entered the canal between Majorca and Ibiza, where we enjoyed a wind of up to 15 knots which brought us to the finish line a few minutes after midnight.

The next day the crew spent resting so that in the evening we could enjoy the reception and meal. I left the regatta with some nice memories.