With a life story impregnated with the scent of salt and sails fluttering in the wind, Xavier Roca Vilalta, computer scientist and sailor at heart, shares with us his fascinating experiences in the vast ocean of the outdoor world.
At 56 years old, settled in Vilanova i la Geltrú since 2000, Xavier emerges as a beacon of inspiration, and invites us to sail through the waters of his adventure-filled life.
1. Immersion in the Outdoor World: Sailing as an Inevitable Destination
Enter Xavier’s childhood memories, where the waters of the Club Nàutic de Sitges gave him his first marine sighs.
Xavi Roca: “I am Xavi Roca Vilalta, a computer scientist and information systems builder, established in Vilanova i la Geltrú since 2000. I’m 56 years old and I’ve been sailing on a skateboard since I was 13.
“I hope to sail until I’m at least 80”.
Since I was very young, I enjoyed the nautical environment in a beach club, the Club Náutico de Sitges. My father had the opportunity to buy an old, second-hand sailing skate, and the three of us brothers started sailing. That bargain skate ended up burned in a San Juan bonfire on the beach of Sitges because it was really in very bad condition. At home we were quite fond of it, the family tightened the belt and we built the SARD, so it was baptized in reference to the father’s love of fishing.
The SARD rose like a phoenix, as most of the parts, rigging and pulleys came from the old skate. Everything was put to good use. From that first SARD I started racing club regattas. Little by little we dared to sail to Castelldefels, on the one hand, or Cubelles and Calafell on the other, to compete with other clubs. The truth is that when you leave your local environment and interact with sailors from other places, your level rises, you learn more. Surely those small incursions into “Comanche” territory and the learning derived from them put the world of sail skating at the top of my list of priorities”.
2. Crossing Horizons: Beyond Traditional Sails
He explores with Xavier the evolution of his love for the sea, from local regattas to the most diverse nautical disciplines.
Xavi Roca: “Once you have come into contact with the sea and sailing, trying other nautical disciplines is a matter of time. I learned to sail in windsurfing, and in this case we were a group of friends who coincided sailing during the day and partying at night. I also had the opportunity to sail in regatta cruisers, as a crew member. Once you know how to sail, it is easy to get the qualifications to steer big boats, and that’s what I did. This qualification allowed me to charter cruisers for outings with family and friends. It also allows you to organize different vacations on the islands or on the Costa Brava.
I also like to drive jet skis to be able to enjoy places inaccessible from land, and to be able to enjoy crystal clear waters. But sailing in general and skate or cruising regattas are the outdoor sport I revere.”
3. Unforgettable Moments: Chronicles of a Sailing Life
Travel through the most epic moments in Xavier’s 43 years of sailing: from crossings to Menorca to triumphs in cups and championships.
Xavi Roca: “There are many memories that I accumulate in 43 years of sailing. I could start with the great crossings, such as the Vuelta a Menorca in sailing skate, in which I have participated on 2 occasions. I will continue with the titles I have won: 2 European Cups, 4 ADIPAV Cups, 4 Spanish runner-ups, and 3 Catalan team championships.
I have enjoyed very much the sea baptisms of friends of mine, colleagues whom I have accompanied in their first experiences at sea”.
4. Challenges of the Outdoor Universe: Reflections of a Wise Navigator
Dive into Xavier’s unique insights on the current challenges of the outdoor sector, where the simplification of yesteryear clashes with the complexity of today.
Xavi Roca: “Too many, too many”. “Before, things were simpler, but we didn’t have resources. Now, in general, we have more resources, but everything is complicated. To begin with, training has been unsuccessfully professionalized. I mean, now to be able to teach sailing you almost have to do a university degree, and it’s no longer attractive. You don’t earn enough to compensate the effort. The result is many schools without instructors, there are none.
On the other hand, the laws of sport, maritime, federative guidelines and others, have meant that organizing competitions requires resources that have to be financed with registration fees. It is becoming more and more expensive to go out and compete.
The laws of the sport must pursue that the volume of practitioners grows, only that, with order and security of course, but that it grows. In France they have achieved this for years, I don’t know why everything here is so difficult.”
5. Master Tips for New Sailors: Sailing as a Life Discipline
Listen to Xavier’s sage advice for those venturing into the waters for the first time, where safety and learning are guiding lights.
Xavi Roca: “The first piece of advice is to start sailing accompanied. It can be accompanied by a school, a friend, or a group of sailors. Doing so guarantees that you avoid the typical risks of any sport. As a second piece of advice, I would say that as in any discipline, whether it is a sport, a hobby or a profession, you must strive to do things well.
It is important to practice sailing in the spirit of learning, this is the only way to sail in automatic mode, without having to think, just enjoying it.
6. Future Challenges: An Adventurer who Dares to Kayak in Torrents
Discover the desires of Xavier, who, despite his vast experience, contemplates new challenges, such as the adrenaline of descending torrents in a kayak.
Xavi Roca: “Surely the descent of torrents with a kayak, but I think I’m too old for that hahaha”.
7. Triumph Philosophy: “Always go out to win”
It concludes with Xavier’s philosophy of life, encapsulated in his motto “Always go out to win”. An invitation to embrace life with determination and a will to win.