The mayor of Torrevieja, José Manuel Dolón, has confirmed that he is currently in negotiations with the NAO Foundation, a charity that specialises in the promotion of history through the construction, management and display of historical ships, over the future of the Torrevieja sailboat, Pascual Flores, a historic 3-masted schooner, a onetime star of the TV series ‘The Onedin Line.
She was the last sailing ship built on the beach in Torrevieja during the early part of the last century and was restored to her former glory in 2008 at a cost of 4 million euro. However, whilst moored since that time in Torrevieja her condition has gradually deteriorated.
Dolon made the announcement during a visit to the NAO Victoria, a Spanish Carrack, and the first ship to successfully circumnavigate the globe in 1522.
The Victoria, which was docked at the fishing pier until Sunday, was part of a Spanish expedition commanded by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, and after his death during the voyage, by Juan Sebastián Elcano, which began in Seville with five ships in 1519. Victoria was the only ship to complete the voyage, returning in 1522.
The mayor, who was accompanied by Councillors Domingo Pérez, Fanny Serrano José Hurtado, was on the Victoria to make arrangements for the visit of some 600 Torrevieja on Thursday and Friday morning paid for by the City of Torrevieja, at a cost of about 2,500 euros.
Whilst touring the boat the mayor said that the municipal intention is to sign an agreement with the Nao Victoria Foundation which will ensure the “restoration” the sailboat Pascual Flores which could then be put to the same sort of use as the Nao Victoria.
If agreed the schooner will only return to the port of Torrevieja for a few weeks a year, as it will be engaged elsewhere, having been placed under the management of the Foundation and visiting ports across the world where it will become an important tourist ambassador for the city exhibiting Torrevieja culture and history across the globe.
The mayou said that the municipal intention is to reach an agreement with the foundation so that “in the first place the repairs that Pascual Flores needs can be made to guarantee its seaworthiness,” a statement that caused perplexity among the ranks of the opposition.
Cpouncillor Alejandro Blanco, of Sueña Torrevieja, said that less than three years ago the mayor had said he was not interested in any agreement with the Foundation and that he wanted “the boat to remain in Torrevieja.”
However Dolón recalled that the council had already made a very significant investment in Pascual Flores valued at 4.5 million euros – and that it is part of the city’s history and culture which must be saved and put to good use in the future.
Although he didn’t quantify the cost of repairing the ship to make it seaworthy, it has previously been estimated at more than half a million euros – the replacement of the three wooden masts, now rotten, represents almost 160,000 euros with most of the balance being used in the repair of the hull through which water is filtered -which requires a more frequent use of the bilge pumps in this type of classic vessels.
The mayor said that negotiations are at an advanced stage and he would hope to know the outcome during the coming weeks.