Being at home locked up by obligation is not easy, and surely for an ocean sailor even less. But Alex Pella has found encouragement to enjoy his family in Denia. “I am calm, with my babies 6 and 20 months. Spending so much time enjoying them with my wife is unusual for me. Right now he had to be in Brittany sailing with Yves LeBlevec's Current Leader to prepare The Transat. By canceling we have interrupted the preparation, and we have a new provisional calendar. In summer some regattas in Brittany, and later in autumn, a tour of the Mediterranean for its sponsors, with the Middle Sea Race and the Barcolana. We will do what can be done. ” He explained that he spent time doing DIY, tidying up, and had plenty of time to think. And I couldn't help but ask him if he remembered the turnaround with the MOD70 Oman at the 2016 Quebec-St.Malo. “I am getting over it, it was a very strong experience that I lived and will always accompany me. I no longer remember it in a traumatic way. It happened before Jules Verne's attempts and it made me reflect a lot. The possibility of capsizing is very stressful in a multihull, nothing to do with a monocoque. In a multihull it is the end of the game. When you overturn you live it differently than you imagined. You don't know where the limit of these boats is, they are very powerful, very fast and the slowdown when puncturing a wave is terrible. When you think you are sailing near the "red zone" you should be next to the winches with the sheets in hand ".
Guillermo Parada kept his usual calm confined in Buenos Aires with his family. “We have been at home for 50 days without being able to leave. I want them to relax the rules a little so that my children can go out on the street a little, I want to go to the river to fish with them ”. Parada, in addition to patron of the TP52 Azurra, is the manager of the team, of the relations between crew and ground team with the owner. “The financial impact for team members is one of the things that worries me the most and I spend a lot of time on. Our team has always been characterized by a family atmosphere, most of us are friends from yesteryear, and I also include the Roemmers family. We have studied each person's case to find the best possible solution, managing the balance between the team members and the owner. ”
For Silvia Mas, the "tsunami explosion" was busier. I was in Mallorca about to start the World Cup and suddenly… “We were training, we went sailing very soon to return to land and take a good turn for measurements. It was stepping on the beach and they tell us that they have postponed the World Cup and that we return to our homes. As the confinement had not been decreed yet, we decided to go to the CAR de Santander to isolate ourselves there with other Spanish sailors. When we were able to go out, I went to Masnou with my parents and brothers. ” Beginning in an Olympic campaign, Mas saw his plans change radically due to confinement and also the postponement of the Games. “At first I thought of everything, good and bad things. Olympic preparation is the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life, and I had to manage my emotions. There were many hours of absolute dedication, 220 days a year sailing. You accumulate a lot of stress, you spend a lot of time with the crew and the trainer. Since I had no experience in 470, I was doing the whole campaign thoroughly, without giving me any truce. I had everything structured to finish in the summer and suddenly I felt a disappointment. On the positive side, being the youngest and most newcomer in the class, having one more year to learn from the ship and my rivals will benefit me, since my learning curve is greater than theirs. As things cannot be changed, I keep the positive and it will also help me to learn one more year of mental management ”.
One of his recognized virtues is being a very hard-working person. “Surprisingly, I don't have any free time. We do many meetings throughout the day. In communication with my crew member Patricia, our coach and the psychologist, we spend many hours turning everything around (laughs). I also have meetings with the meteorologist of the Spanish team and another thing we do a lot is to prepare protests. Advised by David María, we simulate real protests. He puts a case to us and in one hour we must present the protest. My sparring is Jordi Xammar, we do a virtual audience and draw conclusions. I also do physical preparation and I also prepare my last two EADE subjects, which I hope to pass in a couple of months. He assured you that materially I do not have time to disconnect a bit, nor playing in VirtualRegatta ”. About his new plans, he commented, “We have a plan, but we know that from one day to the next everything can change. Our optimal calendar is to sail this summer in Barcelona and if we can go to Portugal for a few days to train with scratches. In September we will go to France for the European and the French week, and in October to Mallorca for the postponed World Cup ”.
If things are turning out to be difficult for sailors, those in charge of clubs, professional circuits and regattas are in great need of paracetamol. The headaches about changes in local and international regulations and about the global evolution of the "tsunami" are infinitely complicated for them.
Agustín Zulueta had his first setback when a part of the 52 Super Series family was working in South Africa after the first race of the season. “It caught me in the wrong in South Africa, there were hardly any infections, but they closed the borders. We had to rush out, the boats got stuck, and we canceled the World Cup. The following was the cancellation of the regattas scheduled in Scarlino and June Porto Cervo, as Italy was one of the first countries to be affected by the pandemic. From then on, my objective was to try to get the fleet out of South Africa to the Mediterranean, which was not easy since we moved 10 ships, 18 containers and 13 tenders. We had hired a merchant ship waiting at anchor in Cape Town, increasing the cost for each day of delay. We made many efforts to be authorized to load the merchant, and thanks to the efforts of many people, we managed to set sail on April 20. ” Zulueta has weighed infinite possible scenarios, knowing the uncertain future. “After the cancellations in Italy, the first thing was to evaluate the following two events in Spain. The one in Valencia in July will be difficult, not to see how the situation in Spain is evolving, but because 2/3 of our sailors come from outside Europe, from the USA, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, etc. Many will have restrictions to travel, and this will condition the restart of the circuit. I look at the Puerto Portals regatta in September with optimism, but whenever possible with all the regulations and safety measures ”.
Without a doubt, working considering the opinions and particularities of its owners, teams, sponsors and the different venues should not be an easy job. But he does not doubt about the biggest of his problems, “was being able to remove the fleet from South Africa, because many teams decided to leave some members. What worries me today (May 5) is getting these people out of there. Nine people remain, and if there are no setbacks tonight, three leave on a repatriation flight via London, and the following at the end of the week. They are far from their families and houses, confined to hotel rooms. ”
RCN Palma Rey sport director Manu Fraga also has extra work. Alerted on March 12 by the early cancellation of the Princesa Sofía, they immediately closed their sports facilities, restaurant and a few days later access to the club and pontoons. “PalmaVela came immediately and at the end of March we decided to postpone it. We are evaluating when we will be able to resume the local regattas and the options for the Copa del Rey. It is a great regatta in which we must consider many factors to make any decision, but nobody knows what will happen next week. We don't like to delay your dates, but it's not entirely ruled out. We want to organize it with minimum quality conditions. The Cup is a very important event in which 2,500 people participate and we do not want it to become a small regatta. Eliminating a class is not part of our plans, since the logical tendency is that we have fewer enrolled than last year, but also some classes not included in have been interested in coming. We do not know if there will be a capacity limit in sports venues or in competitions, and this could be decisive. The possibility of traveling is also important, that there are enough flights, hotels and restaurants. Another question is whether there will be specific rules limiting the number of crew on ships and that must be applied in competition. If the law limits the crew of a 12-meter boat to 6 people, the logical conditions for competing do not exist. We would like to be able to announce something about the Copa del Rey at the end of May, and perhaps earlier also about the change of date of PalmaVela in mid-October. But I insist that they are only hypotheses, we must act with great caution and not move forward to the events that are changing daily. ”