This 60-year-old from Cádiz, a graduate in Law (UAM), married to Mara Flethes and with 2 children already in their teens, and named Miguel Ramos, became part of the history of Spanish sailing, as a result of his involvement and excellent work carried out in the Spanish test of the SailGP circuit held in his native Cádiz last year. Regardless of his relationship with everything related to the sea, he performs his duties as administrator of the Roche Urbanization, in Conil de la Frontera.
But Miguel's history with sailing does not come from now, it began like almost all of them, with the old wooden Optimists of that time, to continue with the snipe, where the fleets of the Real Club Náutico de Cádiz and the Naval Regatta Commission, that shared the same headquarters, were a power at the national level.
After passing through the cruise for many years. He currently shares cruiser regattas with those of the Snipe class in which he pursues his golden dream, which is none other than to proclaim himself the winner of the Legend Master class, which means “winner of the puretas”.
There is another little-known facet of Miguel as a sailor and it is his navigations in replicas of the old caravels, among which are those made in the Nao Santa Maria and La Niña (crossing the Atlantic in both) and his 15 participations , one of them in Carabela, in her favorite regatta, Huelva La Gomera.
How did you sign up for Sail GP?
I actively collaborated in the articulation of the Cadiz candidacy. We competed against Barcelona, Valencia, Ibiza and Lanzarote. The candidacy prospered and I shouldn't have done badly because they suggested I embark for the next stage. I accepted the invitation and joined the team to strengthen it a bit. For a Cadiz fan of boats, collaborating on a project like this is more than a dream. I have a high level of commitment to my city and its surroundings. I think this is good for her and I dedicate time and enthusiasm to the project.
What functions did you perform?
Facilitate the relationship of a global organization such as SailGP with Cádiz and its bay. There were hundreds of details to close in the organization with people, companies or local institutions. My job was to make sure everything went smoothly and to allow an event of the size and impact of SailGP to run smoothly. Fortunately, both on the local side and on the part of SailGP, I was surrounded by magnificent professionals who made everything seem easy. The attitude of entities such as the Navy, the Civil Guard, the Government Subdelegation, the clubs and marinas of the Bay, the local companies and suppliers, the institutional sponsors, the volunteers and the people of Cádiz in general was extraordinary towards this project. And with these attitudes, working like this is a pleasure.
Did they only offer you work in Cadiz, or also in other locations?
They asked me to be available to the organization to collaborate in any other venue on the circuit, but I told them that they should have told me 35 years ago... Now I have two teenage children and a wonderful wife who wait for me at home every day and I like to be with them. If all goes well, we'll soon be sailing the world together. I reserve those trips for them.
Last year's success, how do you define it and what was it due to?
To very different factors, basically four. First, it was a common project. It was presented and explained to all business, academic, social, sports and cultural sectors in the area and to all institutions of all political stripes. Fortunately, everyone understood that it was a good thing and took it on as their own. The 1,200 boats that came out to watch the regatta from the sea are a good example of this. The King's support at the invitation of the Spanish team and the Navy, which was commemorating the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the world and the 450th anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto, was the icing on the cake. Second to the quality of the services offered by Andalusia, the province, the Bay and the city of Cádiz: Babblá, the contracted production company, did an excellent job. The hotels and catering establishments in the area are at a very high level, the sound or catering companies, the volunteers... all worked perfectly. Third to the surprise factor. No one really knew very well what this was all about. I think everyone's expectation level was exceeded by the show. Room in the wind Our characteristic lift did not miss the appointment and allowed the F50 to fly like never before. Only narrowly did he miss his own speed record. Finally to the public and the extraordinary viewpoint that the city offers in the Paseo de Santa Bárbara. Forty thousand people watched the regatta live from land. Since the configuration of the regatta field allowed it to be seen from said Paseo in a spectacular way. Everyone agreed that the truly VIP place to watch the competition was the wall. It was a pass. Unforgettable without a doubt for those who lived it.
Do you think it will be repeated in this year's edition?
I hope so. I trust that everything mentioned above will be repeated, and I want the Spanish team to shine in the competition. Last year's upset hurt us all. Hopefully this year they are very high in the classification. The sleeve they won on the first day was a delirium.
And after this year's Sail GP, what will Cadiz and the bay have left?
I hope that the enthusiasm and pride of having managed to launch a common project. Also that the city remembers that everything good, as always, comes from the sea. My friend Julio Terrón always says that the galleons laden with gold will never return to Cádiz, but now those galleons are the Campus of International Excellence of the Sea, led by the University of Cádiz and with extraordinary prestige, the incipient Base Zone promoted by the Free Trade Zone in which young companies linked to the blue economy are being established, the thriving Sailing schools throughout the bay, the work of the Andalusian Sailing Federation to ensure that each year more teams spend their winters training in the Bahía, the illusion of Puerto Sherry supporting the Classical Sailing Foundation of Spain, the recognition of Navantia's work in shipbuilding, the engine of industry in the area, the scientific centers of the Navy: The Observatory and the Hydrographic Institute, both world references, Juan Sebastián Elcano…. Personally, what I would like to see remain after SailGP passes through Cádiz is a bay that is increasingly full of Optimists. Everything really starts from the bottom.
In your opinion, what should be done to perpetuate the legacy of the Sail GP?
Continue working with the quality and enthusiasm that everyone puts into it, both the city and SailGP so that the relationship is lasting. Talking about “legacy” sounds dead, and Cádiz's relationship with SailGP has only just begun and is very much alive. So far we have only been dating for a year. This year we repeat, and we are already preparing the "proposal" to the organization so that the relationship is deeper and lasting. I hope that Cádiz repeats as the venue for 2023 and 2024. If we do things well, I am sure that we will do well.
Hasn't the public money that has financed this event, which continues to be a corporate business, been a disbursement/investment that is too high?
Cádiz has been one of the cities that has paid the least to host a Grand Prix. We were lucky because the circuit was very new and not well known. We were in the right place at the right time. Once here not everything is money. I always say that Dorna must have a hard time killing the Spanish Motorcycle Grand Prix in Jerez, because it is the only one in the world that brings together 50,000 motorcycles and hundreds of thousands of fans. Cádiz has wind and sea conditions that do not disappoint, a benign climate, a natural stand for 50,000 people... it is not easy to find it and money does not buy it. It also has good professionals, know-how, good vibes... The return for the city, not only in image, but also in organization expenses, has far exceeded the economic commitment of the administrations. From my point of view we have done a good business. And SailGP too.
Don't you think that both the Board and the Provincial Council could have taken advantage of the occasion to announce a financial aid plan for nautical entities, not only for sailing but also for other sports related to the sea, which would cheer up the battered income accounts of these entities always following a rigorous control of these funds through clear and concise regulations to prevent their misuse?
As a taxpayer, I like public money to be spent properly (and if it can be moderately). As passionate about the sea, I like that the embers come close to this sardine and that the administrations invest in everything related to it. I always miss (or I think it can be improved) the support for the entire nautical sector. Perhaps we need to believe that each euro invested is a euro invested, not spent.
Why did you found and promote the Cádiz Association with Elcano?
Together with many other restless people from the bay, we thought that we could do things from civil society to promote maritime culture and water sports. We take the Juan Sebastián Elcano School Ship as a symbol because it is from Cadiz, as a disseminator and conservator of that maritime culture. Nearly 20,000 people have sailed on board learning seafaring skills and values. Many of them from Cádiz, like the boat. There is a lot of talent in this group from “Cádiz con Elcano”. Naval watercolourists, port pilots, merchant and Navy sailors, sailors, surfers, university professors, businessmen...
How does it occur to you to be one of the first associations, if not the first, to honor Alex Pella?
I hope that Cádiz with Elcano was not the first to pay tribute to good old Alex! Alex is a phenomenon. The idea of launching the “Juan Sebastián Elcano Award” is not mine, it belongs to the entire “Cádiz con Elcano” collective. We meet regularly and think of initiatives that we find attractive and fun. Somehow we do these things to have fun. Although they require work and economic contributions, the return is very gratifying. We think of projects that we can enjoy carrying out. The idea of giving the first JS Elcano award to Alex fell from its own weight. His record for sailing around the world in 40 days has been unbeaten since 2017 and I think he will be for many more years. He is stratospheric. For us, Alex Pella is like Rafa Nadal for those who like tennis. He is a flashy sportsman and also with a huge maritime culture. It is a delight to chat with him and listen to him. He knows the way. He yelled at her “for those who didn't believe!” when he won the Rum Route with a boat without a sponsor in 2014, it is a song to courage, to perseverance, to the resilience that is so much talked about now. That said, a privilege for us.
What will be the next voyages from Cadiz with Elcano?
We are thinking about what we can contribute to the celebration of the centenary of the launch of the Juan Sebastián Elcano in 2027. There are five years to go, but time flies. We would like the birthday party to be something unforgettable for Cádiz. Something of world projection: The largest meeting of training ships, tall ships, classic boats and yachts of all kinds in history. If we work together and with time I am sure we will achieve it.
There was a project to establish a new non-stop Around the World record, in an East-West direction, with departure and arrival in the Bay of Cádiz and that was even announced in the local press, why was it not carried out? ?
I really do not know. I guess for a financial reason. I regret that these projects have little support and hope that in the future this blunder will be corrected.
Have you thought that the Cádiz with Elcano Association could be in charge of starting this record, under the name of Juan Sebastián Elcano?
I know that Alex Pella is working on it. There are also people in the Bay of Cádiz like Nicolás Terry pushing in the same direction. Of course, in everything that "Cádiz con Elcano" or I personally can help, we will be there. I hope it gets.
What nautical plans do you have in the short term?
I'm still excited about the La Gomera regatta. I would like to stay fit enough to continue on the snipe, and I would love to sail with my family for a year in the Mediterranean. My children are 16 and 17 years old. Before they turn 20 would be great.
On a certain occasion you told me some ideas, would you mind exposing them and telling us their viability?
I would love for Cádiz to have a Maritime Museum. I have spent a lot of time, effort and some money to get it, so far without success. I still believe in the idea. I would like this centenary of the JS Elcano that we were talking about before to be an extraordinary seafaring festival. This is what we are already working on. I would like the Vapor del Puerto to sail again. It makes me very sad and somewhat ashamed that a ship with the history and connection with the territory that the "Vaporcito" has is lost. I also think it's everyone's job to achieve it. I offered my help to the current owners, so far no response. I also have in the folder of pending issues the installation of a memory in my city to the Cadiz Meridian, which for nearly 100 years served as a reference for navigation and cartography of all Spanish ships. Currently nothing, except a vinyl in a shop window, remembers him in this city.