No less than 8 of the currently 9-strong fleet have visited this favoured port of call in the Canaries.
Few yacht-racing classes evoke such an impassioned response, but for many sailing enthusiasts, the J Class represent the absolute pinnacle of aesthetic beauty and technical achievement in yacht design. There is a deep-seated respect for the yachts of this fleet, perceptible in both the behaviour of the custodial crew and the admiring onlookers, for whom the arrival of a J rarely escapes being a topic of conversation.
As an ideal gift for the festive season, the team in Puerto Calero were favoured with Ranger returning to grace the M dock for an extended stay. After a recent refit, her newly designed deck and flawless paintwork looked glorious in the Canarian sun, to the delight of various resident boaters and those holidaying in the area.
The first J Class yacht to arrive in Puerto Calero was Velsheda, back in 2011. Since then, J Class insignias have slowly been added to the pontoon with the marina staff thrilled to welcome each new vessel and their crew.
Captains enjoy the ease of berthing in what Toby Brand, on board Lionheart, described as their “favourite stopover in the Canaries”, highlighting the warm welcome and “dependable infrastructure and staff”. A protected, alongside, deep-water pontoon just inside the entry, offers an accessible but private dock with plenty of space for parking or laying out sails.
Barney Henshaw-Depledge, from after various visits to Lanzarote with Velsheda, explained his reason for returning:
“In my opinion Puerto Calero remains the number one Canary Islands pit stop. The staff are always very friendly, attentive and accommodating with the usual changing of arrival and departure dates. The Marina is safe and clean, the crew enjoy the restaurants and bars, and being so easy to rent a vehicle – it’s easy to explore the island.
I particularly enjoy the personal touch from the owner, José Juan Calero. For a number of years in a row, he has driven down to personally welcome yachts and their crew with local gifts, this is a wonderful gesture and most certainly does not go unnoticed.”
After an extended stay, Ranger’s eventual departure this month saw the inclusion of native racing figure Carlos Hernández, whose achievements include being the first Lanzarote sailor to take part in the Volvo Ocean Race, and later taking a crew position aboard MOD70 Maserati in the RORC Transatlantic Race, with its annual start from Calero Marinas. Despite having raced with these classics in the Caribbean, he was absolutely delighted to embark on his first Atlantic crossing on board a J Class.
Sister yacht harbour Marina Lanzarote, based in the island’s capital, with superyacht facilities and a shipyard catering specifically to racing yachts with its 820tn hoist and deep keel pits, features an illustrated history of the area’s nautical roots. The exhibition recounts Lanzarote’s expansive fishing and sardine canning industry, with fascinating details on shipping trade and the traditional skills of local shipwrights and artisans, still alive today with the popular Vela Latina fleets. In recognition of the significance of nautical history, some of the most notable events to have started from Marina Lanzarote, include three very memorable editions of the Panerai Transat Classique; a spectacular race centred around the eminent craftmanship, racing prowess and convivial fellow-feeling of the classic yachting scene.
Managing Director José Juan Calero commented:
“Few people would deny the central role of tradition in seafaring culture, and with it, the celebration of long-held skills, maritime expertise and a shared appreciation for classic yachts. The J class are without doubt some of the most attractive and inspiring symbols of nautical heritage, and we feel extremely fortunate to see these extraordinary yachts returning each year to our marinas.
Given the underlying malaise of these last 12 months, their stately arrival in port has been especially uplifting and we will continue to do our best to make their stay with us as comfortable as possible.”
To learn more about the fleet and the story behind each yacht, visit their site: www.jclassyachts.com