And it will go around the world

The most difficult thing was done, the fantastic countries of China and Japan were already left behind, they were already marching towards civilized nations.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
18 March 2023 Saturday 00:34
8 Reads
And it will go around the world

The most difficult thing was done, the fantastic countries of China and Japan were already left behind, they were already marching towards civilized nations.

Jules Verne, Around the World in Eighty Days


–First, I dream of traveling around the Mediterranean. And then, we'll see if I go around the world. If I decide to pursue all these dreams, I will do it on board my ship.

With his index finger, José Martí (66) points to the Latitude 28, his boat, which is neither big nor small, and measures 10.5 m in length, and that is enough for him to consider great things, now that he already envisions his retirement .

–If you are not excited when you retire, you will die, right? –She tells me.

"I guess so, I still have a bit left for that, not much, I'll have to think about it," I tell him.

"But you and I met when we were young," he tells me now.

And I raise an eyebrow and make a poker face, because I don't know where or when we could have met.

–Years ago, in the 80s, you ran in the Parc de Cervantes –he tells me, noticing my confusion–: you were trained by Vicente Egido. Domingo Mayoral trained me. Sometimes we all mixed up and ran together, you athletes and us rowers.

I suspect that those training sessions must have been to see them. They are tough guys, the rowers, they are tough guys even out of the water, even in the dry.


There is a magnificent sun and some seagulls flutter on the dock of Port Vell. We have gone to sit in the cafeteria of the Reial Club Marítim de Barcelona, ​​José Martí's club, his lifelong club, and Aleix Martí (29) accompanies us at the meeting.

Aleix Martí is the eldest son of the protagonist. He's a huge, fit guy. No doubt he is a rower like his father.

(José Martí's other son is called Albert, and he has three world titles and trains with Saúl Craviotto).

"And why did you start rowing?" I ask José Martí.

–My grandfather, José María, used to do it. And my father, Miguel. My father brought me to the Marítim when I was eight years old.

– And did you like it?

I don't know, I don't remember if I liked it or not. It was still night when we crossed the gate of the house to come here. We lived in the Sant Jaume square. We walked among prostitutes and drunks.

–And your grandfather and father competed as rowers?

-In my grandfather's time, the Catalan Rowing Federation did not even exist. And my father was diabetic, he couldn't compete.

-And you?

When I was young I didn't think about anything else.

José Martí was 18 years old when they took him to Banyoles.

And everything in Banyoles was paid for by Pedro Abreu, a passionate rower and also a patron: Abreu paid for the school, the doctor, he even helped families who were in a hurry.

– And you studied?

–Not too much... My father left me for impossible. And then I trained more and more, morning and evening, like a professional. And I managed to spend a year in Mexico and another time at the Vesper Boat Club in Philadelphia.

The experiences rewarded him.

He won many things.

He has three podiums in World Cups, a silver in 1977 and two bronzes, in 1980 and 1981, always in the Lightweight Eight.

Today he no longer rows.

“I have two stents,” he tells me.

His children row for him.

José Martí prefers to give himself to his neighbor. He has put his knowledge into the blender and now coordinates the Marítim coaches.

(The club has 120 tokens; in the afternoons, the pier is overflowing with architects, engineers, students, kids who go out to row hard in the waters of the port).

–This has nothing to do with those times, huh? That before there were no physiotherapists and we ate everything, and today there are heart rate monitors and ergometers and hydrate measurements. There is a lot of information, just too much.

And while distributing instructions among his pupils, José Martí glimpses the future, the waters of the Mediterranean.

–Some people buy an apartment on the beach or in the mountains. Or a caravan. I have bought this boat and, on board, when I am out to sea, I think about turning off the engine and hoisting the sails and enjoying the peace.