Ibiza is the product of an intricate mosaic of cultures, a crossroads of civilisations and the various peoples who, over the course of thousands of years, have left their mark on this idyllic corner of the Balearic Islands. In April 2017 it played host to the first White Island Classics.
Our home base is Marina Botafoch, a boutique yacht harbour twinned with Puerto Portals in Palma and La Sabina Marina in Formentera. The beautiful people who inhabit this rarefied environment have made this the most expensive parking lot in the Mediterranean come August. In April, however, the vibe is more relaxed. Enter Sebastian Devonshire, modern day Botafoch resident, whose grandfather first sailed into these waters in 1954. He spent a happy childhood here mucking about in wooden boats and wants to share his lifetime pleasure with others.
Most days an easterly wind, the Levante, develops making the turquoise waters between Ibiza and Formentera perfect for racing classic yachts. These waters are some of the most beautiful in the world, crystal clear from the vast underwater Poseidonia meadows which nurture them.
This is a regatta where owners jump on their boats and sail across the Mediterranean to take part in the fun and games! Finnish boatyard Swan build some of the finest yachts in the world. One of the first to come out of the yard in 1972 was Es Palmador. Englishman, Charles keeps her in St. Tropez, but hearing about Sebastian’s regatta he slipped his lines and sailed on down.
Swiss surgeon, Tim yachted in from Palma with his young, good looking crew on the nineteenth century gaff cutter Marigan. They handled this complicated yacht superbly and won the racing finishing just one point ahead of Ashley Devonshire’s oh so beautiful sloop Madrigal which was built by William Fife on the Clyde in 1938. Madrigal was equal on points with Balearic legend Argos built in Essex in 1964. This sloop, owned by a very sporting Spanish family has been winning races in this part of the Mediterranean since the early 70’s.
The most magnificent yacht in the fleet was the gaff schooner Kelpie of Falmouth. Her Kenyan skipper Jerry kindly invited some young Ibicenco sailors to join his crew and gave them an initiation into the dark art of schooner sailing. This is the spirit of White Island Classics.
Off the water Marina Botafoch is a popular local spot buzzing with shops, restaurants and bars. The marina provides an exclusive area in the port with moorings for 10 days. During the regatta there was a gourmet cooking competition for the fine restaurants focusing on delicious local ingredients.
A magnificent Bedouin tent, compliments of Heaven Tents, appeared in the car park complete with a DJ and free cocktails provided by buzzy new drinks brand Moose, who seem to have come up with a hip new challenger for Pimms.
The Regatta rounded off with Classic Day when Ashley Devonshire rolled in with his 1934 Bentley Blower to join some of the island’s best classic cars on display. There is also a traditional Ibicencan market showcasing crafts and produce from Ibiza.