The young crew of the Spanish yacht Hansa
are determined to cross the finish line first and believe their toughest competition for that honour will come from the Italian Naval vessel Orsa Maggiore
. One of the crew, Eduardo Perez Senande, has sailed on Hansa
many times and feels that crossing the finish line first is just slightly more important to the crew than winning their class on corrected time.
"We know we are fast and really want to cross that line first, but Orsa Maggiore is very fast too so we'll have to keep a close watch on her," says Eduardo. The crew currently on board are just half of the 12 that will race to Sicily but all are experienced sailors, including the one female crew member, Anna Novikova. Anna is not just the only female on board but also the only non-Spanish person on board as she comes from Latvia.
"I have sailed on the Latvian yachts Spaniel and Viva many times and even on Mir for a race, but when I heard that Hansa was going to take part in this race and was inviting crew to join them, I jumped at the chance," says Anna. The winters in Latvia are too long so this was a great opportunity to see some sunshine and sail as well as a chance to learn the English names for sailing terms," she added. Anna said that she was not worried about being the only girl on board a yacht of boys as she knew they would take care of her. "It feels special to be the only girl and they have already started looking after me," says Anna.
Francisco Figueroa, who skippered Hansa from her home port of La Coruna in the north of Spain to Genoa, said that they had stopped in Denia, in the south of Spain, en route to Genoa to take part in a regatta - the Route de la Sal. Of the 110 vessels that had taken part in the regatta, Hansa came in 8th overall and 4th in her class, so clearly are already in a winning frame of mind.
Hansa is owned by Julian Ojea de Castro who is joining them tomorrow when he will take over as skipper for the race. The vessel is being sponsored by Galicia, the area of Spain she comes from and proudly bears her sponsor's logo on the hull. With the exception of Anna, all the crew members are students of the Maritime Academy in La Coruna and sailing on the yacht is so popular that there is constantly a waiting list for her voyages, with the races being the most popular.
After the Garibaldi Tall Ships Regatta, Eduardo and Francisco will be taking Hansa on to Volos to compete in the Historical Seas Tall Ships Regatta with a whole new crew. After that they will be heading back up to northern Europe for The Tall Ships Races - it's going to be a busy year for the Galician yacht.