He has captained Spanish sailing since March 2021 from Mallorca, his residence for more than thirty years. Javier Sanz, president of the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation (RFEV), has started his new position “with great enthusiasm and great strength”. His large career has allowed him to become a great connoisseur of the sailing world.
– How has it been the move from managing a club to directing national sailing?
– Eight years as president of the RCNP, four as economic vice president of the RFEV and fourteen years as president of the Copa del Rey has been an important experience that has allowed me to know how a nautic club works and how the Federation works, two very different management models.
– We can cay that you has learned from the base.
– Correct. Clubs are the engine of sailing. Boys and girls start there and sports, coaches, etc. are managed from them. It is a very interesting experience.
– When you were young, did you participate in any nautic school?
– Not really, because I started late. I came to Mallorca more than thirty years ago; I came from dry land, from Madrid. Afterwards, I have participated in many regattas and I have practiced sailing a lot, until today.
– How do you see the sailing competition in the Balearic Islands compared to the rest of the country?
– Balearic sailing has taken a very important quantitative and qualitative leap in recent years. At this moment, it is number one of all federations, after doing an analysis by rankings. Four years ago there were no Balearic athletes in the Olympic classes and now there are 20, almost all of them with a chance of winning. This reflects this great evolution, especially thanks to the level of the clubs and the FBV, which provides modernization. This union of clubs and federation has produced a spectacular result that places the Balearic Islands as number one.
– How is this synergy between clubs and federations?
– The clubs have their teaching function with courses from the initiation classes such as the Optimist. Then, those who want a jump at the national level have the Federation, which trains and technifies to be able to continue advancing within the pyramid, at the top of which would be the Olympics. When clubs and federations work together and coordinated, the result is elite athletes. This has been shown, because many people who started small are now at the top. Of course, being an Olympian is very complicated.
– Several nautic clubs have their concession in the air. Should the administration protect them more?
– We are facing a time of great legal uncertainty with nautic clubs. The first thing I did when I took office as president, after thanking whoever voted for me, was to defend yacht clubs. Without them this does not work. If they are not renewed tomorrow, obstacles are put on them, more quotas, more royalties and they become marinas, in the end the sail runs out. They are the engine, they are our sports center; if they don’t work and dedicate themselves to organizing regattas and teaching the sport to young people, it’s over.
– Where would the solution go through or what could be done to solve it?
– The first thing is to recognize the work of nautic clubs, which is not yet recognized. A nautic club is an entity that works hard and does sports. But in the end, it must be contemplated and legislated so that both they and their work are fully recognized. The truth is that the matter is not on the right track. We have the examples of the CVPA, the RCNP, Club Marítimo Molinar, Club Marítimo de Mahó… It’s complicated.
– Sailing is the sport that has brought the most medals to Spain. What do you think is due?
– This is because a good job has been done. In Spain the king of sports is soccer, but we have around eight thousand kilometers of coastline, so we have great possibilities. The reason for success is work, good athletes, good sailors and everyone’s work. This year at the Olympics we will have representation in the ten categories, the maximum. We are the only country together with England that we have made full, in addition to Japan that takes them as a guest. Countries with great strength such as the United States, Italy or Australia have not succeeded. In addition, there are ten disciplines with many options to win medals, because the classification is very difficult.
– Clubs are sometimes associated with the elite. How could you demystify this?
– It is true, the image we have is of posh, rich people who sail… That is false. You just have to go to a nautic club in the morning and see the kids with the Optimist and his dad pushing it. Sailing must be popularized, especially in schools. Because it transmits many values. The sailor sails alone, against the sea, against the elements. It gives you more character than a sport like football, which is a team sport. You have to make decisions at all times and it is complicated, as it is an environment that is not yours. You can’t park there!
– And at an environmental level, how would you defend sailing.
– It is a totally clean energy and we take care of the environment more than anyone. Whoever says that those who pollute are the sailors, they say something totally false. I have not seen any sailor who does not take care of his environment, quite the opposite.
– What are the greatest benefits of sailing in Mallorca and what could be improved?
– Mallorca is perfect for sailing because it is an island and because of our environmental characteristics. Palma or Pollença bays are very interesting environments to practice sailing. Palma’s is one of the best bays to practice this sport; We always have wind, it protects from big waves… And it is shown that it is a paradise for sailing, both sports and recreational, because it is also important for the user who goes with his family to walk through coves or who goes to Eivissa, Formentera or just goes around the island, which is wonderful. Sailing has these two facets and a very important range of possibilities.
– What is your opinion of the “A sea without barriers” project of the Port d’Andratx Sailing Club?
– I think it is a very beautiful and very important project. As well as other plastic cleaning initiatives, etc. I think that all the clubs, especially in Mallorca, are very aware and involved in this. Caring for the environment is part of our priorities and I think we constantly show it. What happens is that we are attacked by the administration and there is a lack of coherence and a lack of definition of what we are.
– How do you see the participation of Spain in the Tokyo Olympics?
– A good job has been done and I am optimistic. We will be in the ‘top 10’, something that is very important. In almost every discipline we are fighting to be in the top 10. Although sailing is complicated and depends on many factors, it is not a football field…