She shone at the 1992 Games by winning the most unexpected medal for the Spanish sailing team and became the symbol of a new generation of sailors who boldly looked to the future making sailing a young and feminine sport. Three decades later, she continues to open paths in the sea.
He returns to Godó to premiere the first female class, the great novelty of this 50th edition.
Yes, it is the first time that the regatta organizes a specific class for girls and it is appreciated. It is a very attractive initiative for which we sailors have been fighting and which has also been included in the Copa del Rey and in a new circuit promoted by the Spanish Sailing Federation with the support of Iberdrola to which different clubs have joined, which are who put the boats. It is a very exciting new way of sailing and competing, because in each regatta you do it with different boats and you have to adapt. At Godó all the women's teams will compete with a J-70. A very light and versatile boat.
The presence of the woman is common in light sailing, but it is more difficult to see her in cruising.
Yes, one of the factors that prevent women from passing light sailing is that if they are not part of a men's team or do not have their own boat, it is very difficult for them to compete in a cruising regatta. In light sailing everything is much easier, and boys and girls go hand in hand, especially in Olympic sailing, where there are also more and more mixed competitions: But in other types of boats things get complicated and the participation of both young people and of women falls This type of initiative, like the one that Godó is now opening, must mark a before and after.
You are one of the few winners of the Godó throughout its history.
Yes, and it was a great illusion. I did when I gave up dinghy sailing and decided to embark on my first cruising adventure. I got a Platú 25, a tiny boat, seven and a half meters long, and I myself was the owner and the patron. She was sailing with four boys, yes. I remember it as a very beautiful and very enriching time, but at the same time very hard, because I had never been so aware of the boat, when she was sailing and when she was not sailing. Doing it with men I think also made me improve. That is why I am also a great supporter of mixed crews. If the men's teams were to include women it would raise the level of women's sailing and it would also be a more equal sport in these cruising classes.
He has had the opportunity to return to the Olympic Games more than three decades after opening in Barcelona with a historic medal.
Yes, it was a possibility, but it remained at that. In France there is a long tradition of ocean sailing and the possibility of a mixed offshore regatta was raised, which I would have joined, but it did not materialize. I already played a mixed European Championship with Iker Martínez and it was a great experience. We are third.
Are they still asking you about that 92 silver?
Continually. Look, I have also won other medals, another silver in Athens, I even won a European… but it seems that there is only the Barcelona medal. Perhaps because it came by surprise, it was the most unexpected medal from a team that included figures like Luis Doreste, José María van der Ploeg, Theresa Zabell, King Felipe... and I had just turned 19 and was perhaps the least known.
That was a boost for sailing in Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain. How do you see the situation now?
We are in a good moment and the Copa América is going to give us an injection like the Games did. Both in infrastructure and as a hobby and it will be a new boost for practice. We will not have Olympic medals at stake, but we will have local crews competing in some of the regattas that will be held in parallel to this competition, which is a great showcase.
And you will be there.
At the moment I am within the organization, in the so-called water part. I hope to continue until the end helping in whatever way I can.
We have municipal sailing schools, good facilities, numerous marinas... What does sailing need to grow?
I think that what is needed is greater support for sport in general, both from administrations and from companies, which do not focus on a specific sport. The key is in the facilities that the clubs can provide, that they have boats, and that the so-called baptism of the sea has continuity. That families see that it is an accessible sport. We have the best weather conditions for sailing and we don't know how to take advantage of it
What is your next personal challenge?
I am very involved in promoting women's sailing and that is my challenge. Create a community of women sailors, with a solid project, which has institutional and business support and recognition. There are no gender or age limits to navigate. I don't think there is any sport that empowers you more than sailing, due to the determination, the capacity for sacrifice, the adaptation to change that it forces you to have... in addition to its undoubted therapeutic function.