- Barcelona will boast this summer about a unique meeting of artworks of naval architecture whispering big stories like those from the centenary Moonbeam IV or the “presidential” Manitou
- These boats will be contemplated as a floating museum from different points of the city to the delight of Barcelona citizens and tourists
Barcelona, 7th July 2015. Barcelona will host for the eighth consecutive year one of the most relevant sports, cultural and social event the city enjoys: the Barcelona Puig Vela Clàssica Regatta. This is one of the most important classical regattas of the Mediterranean, a party bringing together the international elite of classic sailing between the 15th and the 18th of July at the Real Club Náutico de Barcelona.
Just as these vessels make up an extraordinary beauty and a historical legacy difficult to quantify, a select group of them hide important and fabulous stories behind their decks, that make them different, either because they have been involved in wars or have passed from one shipowner to another, many of which have been distinguished personalities (including presidents and aristocratic families).
Many of these boats, we can now admire in all their splendour, remained stranded in ports, forgotten in rivers, sunken on lakes or ravaged by hurricanes, being practically useless. But thanks to the dream of sailing enthusiasts, many of these vessels have been able to “return to life” and continue to compete in major national and international regattas.
Manitou, John F. Kennedy’s presidential sailboat
In the VIII Barcelona Puig Vela Clàssica will present some of these nautical legends, such as Manitou, built in 1937 and developed by the US President John F. Kennedy as his presidential boat. Kennedy provided it with full radio and communications equipment to be reachable when he was sailing out of the Oval Office.
He spent so much time on it that nicknamed it the “Floating White House” John Kennedy often used it in New England, but never competed with him until one day, during the summer of 1962, when he challenged his friend and renowned sailor, Emil Mosbacher. During this fun challenge, a security patrol from the Secret Service chased the boat and found out the high speed it had managed to reach. This was the key so that later it became the great defender of the America’s Cup.
Moonbeam IV, a tale journey for Rainier of Monaco and Grace Kelly
For its part, Moonbeam IV, designed by the renowned William Fife III, is one of the few classic auric cutter sailing that are still sailing nowadays. Its construction was begun in 1914, but the World War II provoked it could not be launched until 1929.
It was in 1950 when Prince Rainier of Monaco bought the boat and called it ‘Deo Juvante’, the motto of the Grimaldi family, making for a decade in the family sailboat of the Monaco’s royal house. During that period, Moonbeam IV had the prestige of having hosted the luxurious honeymoon of Rainier of Monaco and Grace Kelly in 1956.
This sailboat is considered one of the most beautiful boats in the world, not only because of its outside part, but also for its luxury details like the panelling made of Palo Santo waxed wood, the Persian rugs, the antique lamps and the leather upholstery, among others.
All these mythical pieces have one thing in common: despite their age, the different hands through which they have passed and the several reconstructions they have suffered, you can still breathe on their decks the scent of their original spirit. They are true gems of museum of navigation, equipped with nautical heritage and culture, which can nowadays keep navigating and that can rarely be seen in big cities like Barcelona.
Both the city and the tourists will have the luxury of being in a kind of floating museum to admire a procession of the most legendary sailboats in history, less than a mile from the shore and from different sites, either from Port Vell, Port Olímpic and from Barceloneta beach.