This project was possible thanks to the effort of the Canarian entrepreneur Juan Francisco Rosa, who returned the schooner to the sea yesterday after a restoration process, which has lasted six years. He saw his wish came true, a wish he shared with important figures of Lanzarote, such as the artist César Manrique and the shipwright Maestro Tito, who had considered the restoration of the historical ship in the early 90s.
¡The third time lucky! After two unsuccessful attempts, the bottle of champagne was broken against the ship’s keel as required by seafaring tradition. Minutes later, the schooner “Bella Lucia” was sailing in the same waters that had witnessed his birth 123 years ago. A special godmother presided over the ceremony, little Elena, niece and goddaughter of the ship-owner, with the help of her uncle, she was the person in charge of throwing the bottle and baptizing the schooner.
Before launching, the priest, who blessed the boat, said: “Tito marked a path that all should follow.” The priest blessed the hull with water brought from the holy city of Lourdes, and he remembered a popular saying “man learns to pray at sea”.
Nearly fifty people attended the launch, including authorities. They applauded enthusiastically the return of the “Bella Lucia” to sea.
Juan Francisco Rosa recalled the vicissitudes that he and his team had suffered to carry out this project: “the council tried to keep the boat six years ago, but they was unsuccessful. Tito and César were enthusiastic with the idea, they said that I was the only one who could execute the project and so it was. When we started this, we thought it would be about six months or two years but it was longer, but it was worth it. I am very happy, it is a fantastic day for me and a very import day for everybody and for the island”.
The “Bella Lucia” will be moved to Puerto Marina Rubicon, which will be its “home” on the island. The ship will serve as a floating school for young sailors who want to learn to sail the old way.
After launching, the host held a copious banquet to celebrate the event and all residents of Lanzarote were invited.
Another important person in the event was Willfredo, Freddy as his friends call him, he is Maestro Tito´s nephew, who had started the project but died 18 months later. Freddy , Victor and other people continued the work for his uncle and they accepted the challenge of restoring the schooner. Freddy was “quite satisfied” because the launch had gone very well.