Twenty one years ago H.R.H. Don Juan de Borbón founded our regatta
with the purpose of salvaging all those ships that, having had days of glory, had fallen into abandon,
with the idea of enabling them to compete again.The regatta “Trofeo Conde Barcelona” is made up of
three categories depending on the age of the boats:- “Vintage”, “Classic” and “Spirit of Tradition”.
Some years ago we created the Hispania Foundation for Vintage Boats, having been enthused by the spirit that Don Juan instilled in us, and with the aim of safeguarding the Spanish maritime heritage.
In 1993 we saw the recently restored “Tuiga” that had belonged to the Duke of Medinaceli in 1909. The following year she took part in our regatta staged in the Principality of Monaco. We realized that we had lost out. The Monegasque Yacht Club, well advised by Eric Tabarly, had bought her and made her their flagship.
We knew that “Tuiga” was the sister ship of the “Hispania” and that she had been designed by William Fife, by order of
AlfonsoXIII, in 1909.
With limited funds but determined not to loose out, we went to West Mersea, a large beach in the south east of England,
where the “Hispania” was been used as a floating home. We managed to purchase her, and since then we have applied for
all the help available and taken every opportunity to do so that has crossed our path.
We transported her on a huge ship to Farlie in Southampton, and there, with the Hispania in a hanger, we thought it
would be an immediate job. We dreamt of her being back in the water in time for her ninetieth birthday.
The actually reality was that we were to begin a pilgrimage in search of funding.
We constituted the “Royal Hispania Foundation” with H.R.H. Doña Maria, mother of H.M. the King, as
the Honorary President. One can belong to, and contribute to the Foundation in many different ways. We are a non-profit
making foundation, in which there is room for all.
Last spring, by courtesy of Ifema, and in the activities section of the Madrid Boat Show, we presented our regatta,
accompanied by a photographical exhibition of the “Hispania” from the Archives of the Royal Palace and kindly loaned
to us by the National Heritage. From our own funds we presented a finished reality of the yacht, “Giraldilla”, in her
day “Giralda”, in which Don Juan took part in various regattas.
With the help of philanthropic individuals, of PYMAR, of the Majorcan Government and also of the “Arsenal de Cartagena”,
we have been able to bring the “Giraldilla” from Estoril to Spain. Since arriving in Cartagena she has been restored and
put into perfect sailing condition.
Another already embarked on reality is that of the “Hispania”. The fifteen-metre international boat that
in her day won for Spain so many triumphs with H.M. Alfonso XIII as her owner. There is no doubt that she was the
forebear for Spain in international regattas.
The fifteen-meter class was at its peak between 1909 and the First World War.
The “Hispania” was built in Karpard, Pasajes, even though William Fife designed her. The “Tuiga”, belonging to the Duke of Medinaceli, was her sister ship, although she was built in England. The “Encarnita”, belonging to the Marquis of Cubas, the “Slec”, the “Ostra” and others, formed a competitive group that was always led by the “Hispania”.
Today, with this resurgence of interest in vintage boats, there are already two fifteen-meter boats sailing again, the “Tuiga” and the “Lady Ann”, the latter probably being the last to be built.
Our wish is to shortly see the “Hispania” in the water again, just as she appears in the photographs. This will be possible as we always manage to find the necessary support, and for this we must thank the former Ministry of Science and Technology, PYMAR, The Innovamar Foundation, the Spanish Naval Authority and our chief sponsor ASISA. With everybody working toward the same end, and in the hope that we will receive further contributions, we will achieve our goal.
The hull is being restored in Farlie, Southampton, where they have had at their disposal all the original documentation. This summer we hope to move the hull to Astilleros Mallorca, where the mast and the bowsprit have already been made, and where, with the help of a full size model, we hope to have the original furniture ready for fitting out. We all hope that she will be ready for sailing in Spring 2006.