A person aboard a tiny boat propelled by the wind, alone and without assistance, must cross the entire Atlantic. There are more than 4,000 nautical miles, from French Brittany to the Caribbean. Thus begins the adventure not only for the participants of this regatta, the Minitransat, but also for more than 5,000 students from 63 educational centers in Catalonia, the Canary Islands and Madrid, who follow this heroic adventure in real time.
If the weather permits, on Saturday, October 28, the 90 participants in the regatta will leave Santa Cruz de la Palma towards their final destination, Guadalupe Island. Each class has sponsored a sailor, who has the name of the schools that are following him registered on his small sailboat, only 6.5 meters long. Through a Instagram channel Open for communication, messages of encouragement have been exchanged.
In the same way, questions are posed to the students: How do they face the immensity of the ocean from a sailboat little larger than the size of a car? What calculations must they make to follow the route? How do they rest? What do you eat to be in good shape? What is your mood? “This adventure undoubtedly offers us a holistic approach to all learning subjects. We start by motivating the students by explaining the sporting challenge, and we end up talking about physics, geography, marine species, the human body, wind, sustainability, climate, astronomy…”explains the professor at the Institut Jaume Balmes Olga Montanyà.
Promoted by the Barcelona Maritime Museum and the Barcelona Capital Nàutica Foundation, the program aimed at schools, and which bears the name “22 days in 22 feet. “A solo adventure in the Atlantic”, provides teachers with the necessary training material and resources. The participants on board their sailboats have already traveled the route that separates Le Sables d’Olonne, the starting point, and La Palma, the only stop along the way. The students had to build a navigation map. By consulting the race tracker every day, they can know the location of each boat and mark their position on the map, checking if they are following the path they have defined or are deviating from it.
Carlos Manera Pascual, aboard the ship XUCLA (1081), is currently the first classified. He himself has built his own sailboat, a very austere vessel. “I started sailing during a sailing summer camp. This is my second Minitransat, a crazy project! For me, participating was a dream I had since I was little. We have to pursue those dreams we have because they come true.”explains Manera, in a video aimed at the students who follow him.
“The Maritime Museum has traditionally shown an image of history, but we also want to offer a new vision of the sea and navigation in color and in real time”says the general director, Enric Garcia, who considers that Ministransat is a great opportunity that “It allows us to reach the classrooms explaining the epic of sailors who face the weather and the sea alone”.
By creating a link between young people and sailors, this educational project “allows not only to promote sports in general and sailing in particular, it also raises awareness of the sea and the importance of sustainability,” says the director of operations and projects of the Barcelona Capital Nàutica Foundation, Juli Hernández.