Made with quality: Catalan Patín
On Barcelona’s beaches in the early 1920’s it was quite popular to hire a very light ‘boat’ made up of two floats joined together by wooden crossbeams, for a very modest price. The sailor would be sitting, and would make strokes from one side to other with a paddle in order to travel through the water. These primitive ‘vessels’ allowed people to bathe in areas close to the shore, without having to swim far. And so, the members of the Barcelona Swimming Club, who were expert swimmers, found the ideal solution for bathing in uncrowded spots with the ‘Catalan Patín’.
Those ‘patíns’ about two metres long with an 80cm beam and about 25cms tall were truly small and manageable vessels, for this reason the oarsman was often standing, really balancing. The leap in the evolution of the ‘patin’ occurred the day a couple of members only had two or three hours to go swimming, and with such little time the needed to move faster, so they decided to attach a sail to the ‘patín’ and…it worked: it sailed! It was 1928 or 1929 and the ‘patín’ as we know it was already created. By windforce, but it sailed. Obviously the idea was a success and spread rapidly, and with these vessels that drifted at an alarming rate, one could reach the Llobregat estuary (four miles away).
But how could they get back if they could only sail on the breeze? They would try and leave at dawn on days the wind blew from the NE or de E, and in this way they would come back in the afternoon on the southerly wind. It was clear that the ‘patín’ was born among sportive and competitive people so it was inevitable that the question ‘let’s see who can go the fastest’ should arise. And so the sails began to grow in surface area and the number to capsize began to rise. On the 2nd of October 1932, the newspaper “La Vanguardia” talks about the first ‘sail patín’ championship being celebrated to mark the occasion of the Barceloneta neighbourhood’s ‘fiestas’. There were 25 participants and the were classified in two categories: ‘old’ and ‘new’, according to the weight of the vessel. Unfortunately, the race had to be postponed due to excessively windy conditions. On the 12th of October of the same year, a new race was organised with the categories ‘heavyweight’ and ‘high-speed’ an 23 competitors took part.
In these regattas, they could build their ‘patíns’ as they pleased, there were no restirictions. The ‘patin’ grew popular and could be found at the Badalona Swimming Club, the Poble Nou Swimming Club, the Athletic Swimming Club and of course, the Barcelona Swimming Club. During the early forties the rivalry between the Barcelona and the Badalona Swimming clubs was fierce. It was not just sporting rivalry, but also rivalry between the naval architecture, each person wanting to impose the particular design of their ‘patín’. Finally, in order to decide who was the fastest, a regatta in Vilanova i la Geltriu’s waters was agreed upon, that would show who was the best. The result was a clear victory for the design by the Monge brothers and so clearly demonstrated its superiority that it served as a model to begin negotiating a monotye for an approved ‘patín’ . At the beginning of 1943 the spokesmen for the clubs got together where this sport was in practice and finally agreed upon a standard type of patín, regulating its measurements and sails. During recent years an enthusiasm for this sport has been developed, mainly on Barcelona’s beaches. In fact, at Medwinds we have various practitioners of this fantastic sport and we think it is an example of tradition, modernity and taste in things that are well made with quality.