Ricardo Rubio is one of the most important businessmen in Santander. In love with sailing from a very young age, he has followed his family’s tradition with respect to the passion for classic sailing. Skipper of the Giraldilla and owner of the Gipsy, Ricardo “Petete” Rubio is vice-president of the Fundación Vela Clásica de España. Non-profit foundation created to protect classic sailing boats. Just a few days ago he collected the Laurel award in Murcia for the support of an employment center at the proposal of ASTUS, Guardianship Association for Persons with Disabilities
What is special about the classic candle?
I don’t know any fan who, when faced with a photo of a classic boat sailing, or simply moored on a jetty, does not capture their attention. Many of these boats are centuries old, with the history that they have gone through, either because of what they have lived through or what they have involved in the evolution of designs to the present day, they deserve deep respect. It would not be possible to understand the current candle without them.
What philosophy does classical sailing have?
Difficult to answer. Just getting these boats out to sea is a challenge. In addition, you have to be in continuous training because you are losing both the construction of wooden boats as well as the traditional way of sailing. In addition, camaraderie between crews and shipowners united by the same desire is encouraged. Being a sailor all my life, I learned in these Andalusian waters that “the excessive desire for victory can be a reason for disqualification” and this is the true philosophy that unites classic sailors.
How much does it cost to maintain a jewel of this caliber?
There are no specific figures. It greatly influences the size and the degree of originality that is intended to be maintained. They are undoubtedly more expensive than a similarly sized modern ship, but if you don’t give them up they don’t outweigh the price difference by much. For example, the insurances are more expensive, but the berths are the same and the fairing meters for patent are the same as similar boats; Indeed, the differentiating element would be the varnishes, but with continuous maintenance the costs do not skyrocket.
Is it a sail suitable for all sailors or do you have to be special?
Yes, of course, and it is also tremendously long-lived. Here she enjoys the pleasure of sailing, taking the boat well rigged and beautiful, where the competition goes to a second level below aesthetics.
How did the Gipsy come into your hands?
In 1951, my father and a partner of his at the time bought it in Barcelona and since then it has been in the Rubio-Vilar family. First in Tarragona as a base port and since the beginning of the project of the Fundación Vela Clásica de España in spring 2021 in Puerto Sherry, Cádiz.
How is a crew organized for ships like the Gipsy or the Giraldilla?
With volunteer sailor friends who are passionate about this sail. We give priority to the change of generation and we are currently very proud to have the children of illustrious sailors such as María Torcida (daughter of Pichu Torcida), the children of the Gon zalo family or the Galnares family, among others. In addition, we are attracting many people who had not known this way of sailing and who are becoming fond of this type of boat. We also have a large number of older people who are no longer interested in modern boats and who are passionate about sailing again as they did in their youth; We call them the “Carbon 14” crew and they help us with the transportation of the ships.
Does the Spanish calendar of classics lack any more regatta?
From my point of view, no. Moreover, I think there are plenty. I think that few events should prevail, of organizational quality, in different venues and that they be rotated over the years by different Yacht Clubs that allow the fleet to be brought closer to as many people as possible.
Don’t you think that the measurement system of classic boats is a bit unfair?
I wouldn’t call it unfair if it refers to the CIM system, but there are others like the JCH for example or the IRC itself that makes them very similar to modern boats. The CIM system that prevails in the Mediterranean lacks transparency regarding the formula for shipowners, and the coefficients of originality could be considered arbitrary if they are not public and with very clear rules. I think there is an excess of leading roles that do not help us at all.
The philosophy of classic sailing is totally different from that of cruising, does that mean that it is a more conservative sail?
I would rather say that it is different, you can take a cruise with a classic ship, but indeed the comforts are not the same. You always have to be more cautious and careful. Keep in mind that in the past sailing at 30 knots was a storm and shelter was sought immediately, and today conditions are harsh, but sailing is normal.
How did you come up with the Fundación Vela Clásica de España?
Preserving these boats continues to be an effort that many shipowners have been making for years. The change of generation or the inheritance of the same became complicated for us not only because of the economic amount but because of the knowledge necessary for its correct maintenance. We think that a Foundation that will integrate the owners could be an instrument that reduces its maintenance costs, has the knowledge for its maintenance and that this transition be as smooth as possible, so that inheriting a classic boat is not a problem but a blessing. We also seek that people who want to get rid of them find a place where their boats are offered continuity through new owners.
Have you ever said: “it’s not just a bunch of splinters”, is there a classic you’re passionate about that’s already “a bunch of splinters”? Do you have salvation?
The Hispania, for example, is the flagship of our fleet. Whether she has salvation or not depends on the owners of her, and I don’t know what measures they are taking to get her up and running.
What are the advantages of belonging to it?
Many. In the first place, there is the possibility of not losing possession of the boats because they can be provided by means of a loan agreement in transfer of use. Second, there are some very important tax benefits that can reduce the cost of maintenance by up to 40%. Thirdly, and through the Varadero division that we have set up in Puerto Sherry, we are reaching agreements with major suppliers such as Pinmar, Maderas Blanquer, Yausa Batteries, etc., which allow us to obtain very competitive prices for materials. In this division we are developing a process of training riverside carpenters and mechanics where the hourly price for members of the Foundation is very competitive, in addition to saving VAT on labor, which is usually between 60% and 70% of the cost of maintenance and/or restoration.
What requirements must be met to be a member?
You can be a collaborator in several ways: Common donor that gives you the right to be able to sail on one of the Foundation’s boats, either in transfers or in regattas from €150 a year. In such a way that it generates a tax saving of 80% up to that amount and 35% in higher amounts. If you are an owner of one of these boats, it is explained above. Assign the boat in a Comodato contract where you can continue enjoying it in your place of residence, benefiting from tax savings. Collaborator in kind where you can contribute your knowledge or your desire to help.
Why is it located in Puerto Sherry?
Pedro Bores in 2010 decides to make a strong investment after the bankruptcy of the Royal Hispania Foundation of Vintage Boats in the rescue of the Hispania and the Giraldilla so that the classic sail would be a differentiating element of Puerto Sherry compared to the rest of sports marinas. We, with his widow at the head of it, Valle de la Riva, what we have done has been to continue with his project.
How is it financed?
We have thought of financing in three different ways: Institutional subsidies, very difficult given the current times. Donations from individuals. On the business side and for the Foundation to be self-sufficient, we have created a brand of Spirit Drinks “Gipsy Gin” and “Gipsy Blu” that we intend to be the gins of sailors and where the Foundation is the reference shareholder, in addition to the division of Varadero which is going really well.
What future plans does the Foundation have?
Consolidate the global project. We want more shipowners to join it and allow us to bring these wonders closer to society. We are currently in the process of reaching a collaboration agreement with AFANAS for the integration of the mentally handicapped into the world of work, where the completed pilot project has been a resounding success. We are also seeking to reach an agreement with the VET schools in the Bay of Cadiz so that they begin to train riverbank carpenters. In this sense we have the “Isoba” which is an International 6 meter in very poor condition donated by the Torrevieja CN and German Ruiz (ILEX owner) where we want its restoration to be the pilot program.
The Classic Week arrives, what is expected of it sportingly speaking?
We are going to be able to gather about 20 boats, highlighting the Sea Lion and the Fjrod as boats coming from outside the region. Giraldilla is not ready because we received it just 3 weeks ago and it has been idle for 2 years and I doubt that we can compete with them at the moment. In addition, there will be emblematic ships such as the Disparate, Guadalmina, Centinela and the Seventy, in addition to the Gipsy as an illustrious crab. It is a pity that we have not arrived on time with the Livia, a beautiful 43´ Herreshoff, victim of the Filomena storm in Valencia and in which we have high hopes for next season. We are also boosting the mini classics division in the Bay with authentic toys that are beautiful to sail on.
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism