Finally, as I write this we have blue skies and the temperature has climbed well into the twenties. The communal swimming pool which I have been looking at from my office window for the last 6 months, (wishing it was warm enough to swim in) is now packed with screaming kids looked over by smiling parents, with their oily bodies graduating through various shades of pink!
Its Sunday afternoon, and I´m not wishing to be a killjoy, but would prefer somewhere a bit more tranquil to relax after I finish this column. My thoughts turn to the boat, and the possibility of a few hours hanging on the hook in a quite cala for a few beers and a swim. But then the Dutch Bird reminds me of my pet hate... the dreaded jet-ski´s, which in the past have ruined many a Sunday afternoon for me! Now, let me say that I have nothing against jet-ski´s, having had great fun on them myself occasionally. No, what I don´t understand is why, with hundreds of square miles of open water and some very large protected bays, these idiots have to slalom between boats lying (or trying to lay) peacefully in an anchorage?
Amongst all the talk about how to improve things for nautical tourists here, why don´t we get serious about those who threaten other peoples peace and safety, by setting up some summer patrols with the power to make examples of such inconsiderate oafs. For example the French enforce a 5 knot speed limit within 300 metres from the shoreline with radar guns, and they really make it hurt with a €3,750 fine and/or 6 months in jail!
Anyway having got that rant of my chest, I have to say that I generally have quite a good feeling about the future of boating in The Balearics based on the amount of attention it is now getting from the authorities.
Margarita Dahlberg mentions again in her enclosed monthly report, how the various government departments and watersports associations are trying to work together on the key issues that need addressing. The government has also announced the creation of a body named IB-Blau, which is intended to harmonise the efforts of The Port Authority, The Institute of Tourism and The Environment Ministry towards maximising the potential income from nautical tourism, which attracted 294,000 visitors, and a spend of €527 million last year!
The success of the recently held Superyacht Conference and Superyacht Cup (both reviewed in this issue) and the decision by The Emir of Qatar to berth his new 133 metre megayacht (Al Mirqab) at Club de Mar, are all examples of how Palma can compete for the big bucks in yachting.
But let´s not forget that watersports can be enjoyed in lots of ways, and with all levels of disposable income (yes even on Jet-Ski´s!) Some of today's Superyacht Captains started out sailing 4 metre Laser dinghys, and quite a few still enjoy the thrill of racing Flying Fifteens. We still need launching ramps for trailer boats, youth training organisations like Joves Navegants, and men like the late Fred Dovaston who supported them so vigorously, and set such a great example for young aspiring yacht crews.
Our thanks go to Diane Franklin for compiling a suitably fitting obituary for Fred, who was such a hugely popular and highly respected man.(See page 4)
Wishing you fair winds and calm seas! Peter Franklin