Vela Latina

From Vela Latina

Vela Latina means literally,  “latine sail” – but actually it stands for the organisation that runs races for traditional craft in the Canaries. Whilst in Aricife  ,we saw pictures of long slim boats with 12 beefy guys hiking like crazy to stay upright under a huge latine sail.  We were lucky enough that our visit to Rubicon has coincided with the smaller 4 man craft regatta coming to town . It seems they do a circuit of all the islands ;we just missed them in Arrecife but now they are here for 2 weekends.

The boats themselves are pretty much identical in shape and construction to the beach fishing boat of Rubicons displaced fisherman  ( see below) – 16 ft long , carvel planked on heavy frames , double ended with very flat floors and a keel running the full length of the hull.  The rig is something else being held up with ‘alf  ‘undredweight of ‘arken. Im sorry I’ll replay that – try saying it with ‘uddersfield accent – and get Steph to translate. Alternatively hadd a haitch to hevrything and you will get my drift.  The tack lines are secured with big boat Spinlock clutches and each boat sports two masts of differing length and 5 yard/sail combinations for differing wind strengths. They are not very wide ; the average crewman size is the other side of humungous and many boats were loading sack loads of stones as ballast.

I spent a lovely morning talking  mast rakes and tacking techniques – which is strange as none of them spoke any English and my Spanish is worse , but  we seemed to understand each other perfectly with our lingua marem! The race officering was v slow and what they need is to import Jamie for a season. Perhaps Spinlock would sponsor a Hamble crew – Hmm i feel an amazing idea coming on!

From Vela Latina

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