From “National Yachting Day” to “National Yachting Week”

Extract from the book "Facing the Sea" by Natalio Marengo.

In 1966, the Argentine Federation of Career Yachting (FAYC) designated Club Náutico Mar del Plata for the first time as the venue and organizer of that year's Yachting Day. This meant a recognition, within the national scope, of the activities that the sport had been developing in the club. The party, held on January 22 and 23, was undoubtedly the highest-class celebration held to date at the Náutico and brought together Lightning, Cadet, Snipe, Finn, Penguin, 505, Dragon and Cabin Boy class vessels. Prestigious helmsmen attended it, Adrián Obarrio won the “Diario El Día” cup in Snipe class; Enrique Alurralde, the "Gaceta Marinera" cup in Finn; Héctor Domato the “Navitecnia” cup in class 505; Ronaldo Munck the “La Nación” cup at Cadet; Jorge Salas Chávez the “El Atlántico” cup in Dragón; Carlos Colet the “Clarín” cup in Lightning and Sonia Uzal the “Yachting Argentino” cup in Penguin class. El Náutico, for its part, was awarded the “La Prensa” cup corresponding to the Cabin Class thanks to the skill of its excellent helmsman Celso Alba, who had Mezzolani and Maijling as crew members.

The success achieved by the "National Yachting Day" made the visiting crews express their desire for said event to be repeated, which moved the subcommittee to include it in the regatta program for the 1966/67 season sent to the FAYC, at the request of this, the “Yachting Week 1967”. These regattas were completed thanks to the joint effort of the FAYC and the Nautical, and the collaboration provided for the transport of boats by the National Navy and the Argentine Naval Prefecture.

The lodging of the participating crews, apart from that enabled in the club's storeroom, was provided by the Complementary School of the Navy and the YCA. The expenses were covered with the contribution donated by the National Commission for Celebrations of the Sesquicentennial of Independence and the Yachting Day program, published for the first time by the club's subcommittee, through the advertisements inserted in it, even leaving a surplus.

Beginning in 1967, the meeting became "National Yachting Week." Meanwhile, with the sale of the first four Cabins, a "nautical box" had been created to finalize the acquisition of six Penguin-class ships that would be delivered to the partners through a comprehensive financing plan. These sailboats were launched in time to compete in the Week, which thus had a representation of 30 units coming from the various institutions from all over the country and, the following year, would make it possible to dispute, together with the "National Yachting Week" the first "International Week of the Penguin Class in Mar del Plata". Crews from Porto Alegre and São Paulo (Brazil), Punta del Este (Uruguay), and from the Argentine Republic from Club San Fernando, Club de Regatas La Plata, Club Náutico Quilmes, Yacht Club Olivos, Yacht Buenos Aires, Club Bahía Blanca Yacht Club and Mar del Plata Yacht Club.

During the 1968/1969 season, the focus was almost exclusively on three racing one-designs: Cabin Boy, Penguin and Finn. In the Cabin Class, El Náutico triumphed again, this time occupying the first three places.

In the "V Semana del Yachting", held from January 17 to 24, 1970, five classes competed. In Grumete, Héctor Mignone from the CNMP won; in Polares, a totally new boat for club members, Ricardo Capparelli from CNMP won first place; in Snipe Eduardo Dallera from Club Náutico Zárate and in Dinghy Julio Ledesma from YCA.

Since the month of September, the "VI National Yachting Week" began to be organized and programmed, whose culmination took place between January 6 and 10 with the participation of 72 boats of the Snipe, Polaris, Penguin, Grumete, Dinghy classes. , Finn and Lightning. The crews reached 180 people, who as guests participated in the closing party that reached national significance, given the attendance of athletes from Rosario to Puerto Madryn and by the journalistic publications that had wide coverage in the most disparate media. As was traditional, the Cabin Class was won by a club helmsman, this time Norberto Róvere got the honor.

From January 5 to 9, 1972, the “VII National Yachting Week” was celebrated, in which 127 boats of eight classes were present, manned by nearly three hundred representatives of twenty-five clubs from all over the country. But this figure would be exceeded again the following year, in which 240 boats gathered, a number that would set a record for this kind of competition, since until that date no club had exceeded it. The Yacht Club had to undertake the titanic undertaking of providing accommodation for more than 500 members of the different crews, part of which occupied tents donated by the Naval Base and GADA 601.

In addition, all the participants were offered the traditional seafood lunch and dinner at the club. The great closing ceremony was attended by the Commander in Chief of the Navy, Captain Guillermo Luthart; the secretary of the Argentine Yachting Federation, Dr. Jorge Prota and authorities from the Military Naval School, Mar del Plata Naval Base, ESIM, GADA 601, Mar del Plata Military Air Base, Argentine Naval Prefecture, Argentine Naval League, River Fleet of the State and all the participating clubs. Among the participants in the regattas we must point out Martin Costa, Argentine, South American and world champion of the Penguin class and the Argentine champions of the Optimist and Polaris classes. That was perhaps the most glorious moment of the "National Yachting Week" since the following year the works of the new building under construction limited the space and the number of participants had to be reduced, but in any case the regattas were run with the participation of the Penguin, Lightning, Optimist, Snipe and Cabin Boy classes.

In the following years, the "National Yachting Week" continued to be held, and always successfully, since the sporting date had gained a privileged place in the annual calendar of the Argentine Yachting Federation thanks to the tireless work of numerous members and the support of many local and national institutions.