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13-06-2022

Jordi Puig the new president of the Real Club Nautico

Jordi Puig Alsina (Barcelona, 1970) is the new president of the Real Club Náutico de Barcelona (RCNB). His relationship with the sea and sailing has been part of his life practically since he was born. Passionate about windsurfing, he even participated in regattas when he was young and as a cruising sailor he also enjoys regattas and summers at sea, including boat trips with his family. With a degree in Economics from the University of Barcelona, he has worked in companies such as Pepsico and Havas Media and has led personal initiatives such as bringing the Muji brand and stores to Spain and Portugal and also the Avirex brand to Spain. He also founded the company Luppa Solutions dedicated to the development of content and collectible products, among other business projects.

That's right, I was part of the previous board of directors, for six years, under the presidency of Fèlix Escalas, who has done a very good job. So there is a will of continuity of certain aspects and evolution of some others. After practically two years of pandemic, we must revitalize again the activity of the club in its different areas, especially in the social area, where the number of celebrations, events and meetings has been dramatically reduced. In the sporting sphere, very wise decisions were taken during the pandemic, giving fulfillment, despite the difficulties, to almost the entire regatta calendar. Now we want to boost it even more and achieve higher levels of participation.

Son of the businessman Enric Puig, he is a member of several boards of directors of companies in the family business group. And in the wake of his father, a man of the sea, promoter of many of the major nautical events held in Spain, who died in 2008, Jordi Puig took over the activities of the Real Club Náutico de Barcelona and was already part as vice president of the previous board of the RCNB, chaired by Fèlix Escalas.

 

First of all, congratulations on your election, what does it mean to you to have been elected president of the RCNB?

It means sharing with the members, from the team that make up the new board, the project that we have devised with enthusiasm and dedication for our club and that is based on the passion we feel for this entity. Personally it also means the illusion to lead an entity of the prestige that has the RCNB, a reference in the world of sailing and representative of our city.

 

You were part of the previous board of directors. There is therefore a wealth of experience and I understand that continuity of the work done in the last six years. What is the personal stamp you would like to give it now?

What specific projects does your board of directors have in mind?

We have many projects in mind and concrete actions to carry out, starting, first of all, with the sailing school, which is the basis for the development of our sport. We will update and increase the fleet of boats in order to improve the quality of training and at the same time increase the number of students and, with a view to the future, the creation of a youth dinghy sailing competition team. In the field of regattas we have a good recurring annual calendar that covers the different categories (dinghy sailing with laser and finn, cruisers, classics and monotypes) and we want to support it with events that project the club at international level, such as this year with the celebration of a race of the 52 Super Series circuit or next year with the ORC double handed world championship.

 

In the social aspect we have the task of rejuvenating the social mass of the club, so we are aware of the need to increase services to members to have a greater ability to attract young sailors with families. The recent increase in surface area (we have integrated a part of the dock previously managed by the APB) has given us the option of relocating the sailing school and that allows us to propose a redistribution of spaces, making the current ones more efficient and opening options for new services, such as areas for young people, coworking or even a swimming pool.

The sustainability aspect is also an area where we want to focus. We will soon start installing solar panels to generate and consume green energy.

We have many projects and initiatives, but obviously we have to balance budgets and find the right balance between what we want to do and what we can do.

 

The election of this new board of the RCNB, which you head, coincides with the designation of Barcelona as the venue for the America's Cup. You are also a member of Barcelona Global, the business group that has played a fundamental role in the city's candidacy to host this sailing event. What has the process been like? 

The arrival of the 37th America's Cup in Barcelona is not only a privilege for the entire passionate sailing community, but also an enormous opportunity for Barcelona. It will undoubtedly bring economic activity, will once again project our city internationally and will allow us to capitalize on what sets us apart from other European capitals: the sea.

The candidacy proposal has emerged from the Catalan civil society, articulated through Barcelona Global, which has managed to align and obtain the support of the different public institutions (Port of Barcelona, Generalitat, Diputació and City Council) and at the same time find the complementary private economic support. All in a very short space of time, a record, I would say, which has made the process exceptional. 

 

Public-private collaboration has been fundamental in achieving Barcelona's designation. How do you assess this reality?

Indeed, it has been this collaboration that has made it possible. As I mentioned earlier, the initiative came from civil society, but the public institutions quickly understood the potential and relevance of the event, and played a crucial role in convincing Team New Zealand to make Barcelona the designated venue. They have provided the resources, not only economic, but also human and service to achieve this. Hopefully in the future we will continue to see a collaboration like the one that has arisen on this occasion, because it can certainly attract many other good projects for our city. Barcelona's citizens are enterprising, passionate about their city and eager to join forces to generate activity. Taking advantage of this is a competitive advantage over other cities.

 

Can we expect the RCNB to have a specific activity in relation to this trophy, the most important in the world in this sport?

From the RCNB we have been closely linked to the process of assigning the venue and, yes, we will continue to be linked to the organization of the event and with the different participating teams, although we cannot yet reveal exactly how, because we are working on it. Barcelona will become the center of world sailing in the coming years, and the RCNB is a reference club in the city, so I have no doubt that it will become a meeting point for the sector during these years. In fact, from the moment Barcelona was declared the venue for the event, we have increased the number of requests for association from different international clubs and different events have already been programmed at the club related to the America's Cup.

 

Do you think that the other yacht clubs in Catalonia should also focus in a special way the celebration of the America's Cup in Barcelona? Shouldn't we take advantage of this event to make sailing fashionable at all levels?

Absolutely. The America's Cup is the Formula 1 of sailing and the sailing event with the greatest worldwide projection and therefore the greatest showcase for the sport. It is an opportunity to expose it, create motivation and aspiration for its practice, from the youngest. And we will have it very close to us, at home. And this opportunity should be taken by all the clubs, from the base of dinghy sailing. 

We must also, together, educate and explain well what this competition, which is one of the oldest in history, is all about. If the clubs, the public and private institutions, and also the media, manage to convey the passion and the challenges behind the America's Cup (sporting, technological, environmental...) we will surely achieve that the activity around it is much greater, and, consequently, we will enhance the knowledge and practice of the sport of sailing.

 

In the reports on the designation of Barcelona, emphasis has been placed on the technological, ecological and future challenge of organizing this event today, which has worldwide repercussions. What do you think is the legacy that Barcelona can benefit from?

I believe that the sport of sailing, and the nautical sector in general, should have a more prominent role in our city. Our city should benefit and promote everything related to the nautical activity, which is an element of differentiation compared to other cities. The yacht clubs often do not have the support of public institutions that should allow us to develop and promote more activities that are developed in this sector. I hope that as a legacy of the competition we are left with a population more interested in the sport of sailing and above all institutions more aware and aware of the potential of the sector and how much it can contribute to the city.

 

And the legacy for companies in Barcelona? The Nautical Cluster brings together precisely the companies in the sector. Do you think it is an opportunity for Barcelona to place itself at the forefront of the nautical sector in the global revolution that is needed to understand and develop a blue economy in today's world?

Yes, as I said, Barcelona must capitalize more on its nautical activity and given that it will now become the world center of sailing for a while, it must take advantage of this magnificent opportunity to position itself at the forefront of the sector. We have in Barcelona many companies in the sector that can take advantage of this focus.

The Nautical Cluster must also take advantage of the great opportunity represented by the America's Cup to bring the sector together, raise awareness of the institutions in relation to the potential of the sector in the near future and be the standard bearer of the blue economy. It can play a key role in training and education among companies and yacht clubs in this regard.

 

His father, Enric Puig, was, in addition to a Barcelona businessman of international prestige, a huge figure in the world of sailing. He was the promoter and driving force behind sailing competitions such as the Copa del Rey in Palma, which is about to celebrate its 40th anniversary, and the Barcelona World Race. How do you think he would feel about the America's Cup being held in Barcelona?

My father was an unrepeatable person, closely linked to the world of sailing, for which he did a lot throughout his life. You knew him well. The Copa del Rey de Palma or the Barcelona World Race as you say, but also pushing for Valencia to host the America's Cup in 2007 or supporting the Spanish challenge that participated in it, as well as the creation of the Vela Clásica Barcelona, which we have held at the RCNB since 2008 and which has become one of the most important classic regattas in the Mediterranean. I would be happy that Barcelona is the ninth venue, both for the sport of sailing and for the city, of which I was also passionate.

 

And how would he feel about his son Jordi presiding over the Real Club Náutico de Barcelona?

I'm sure he would say to me: "You're a donkey!" hahaha... Joking aside, I'm sure he's looking at it with a smile on his lips.

 

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