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Monday, 22nd July 2024
Joaquín González Devesa, New President of the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation

Joaquín González Devesa, New President of the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation

6th July 2024 by Agencies

On Friday, July 5, the Electoral Board announced Joaquín González Devesa as the new president of the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation (RFEV).

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Within the established electoral calendar, no objections were submitted against Joaquín González Devesa’s candidacy, which had been provisionally announced.

Joaquín González Devesa, known as Chimo, a practicing physician until just a year ago, takes over the helm of the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation with a vision to continue the work done over the past four years.

For González Devesa, the athlete is the essence of the Federation: “Federation, coaches, judges, class secretaries, clubs, we all work for the athlete, so they can develop from junior sailing to the peak of their abilities. To this end, we must establish the necessary structure: financial, administrative, material, etc. They must not only have a boat, equipment, and talent but also a multidisciplinary team to support them.”

Regarding the current state of the RFEV as a foundation for this new challenge, the president declares: "I inherit a financially healthy federation, with a solid economic, administrative, sports, and communication structure, thanks to the work of the outgoing Board of Directors led by Javier Sanz."

Born in Denia in 1959, Joaquín González Devesa’s life is intertwined with the sea, starting from his childhood in dinghy sailing to cruising. He began sailing in the waters of Denia, participating in numerous dinghy classes like Optimist, 420, Snipe, and 470, before moving to cruising at the age of 19.

He was a regular in Valencia’s regattas until he joined the Navy, moving to Palma de Mallorca. He then became a key part of the Naval Regatta Commission boats, sailing on the Aifos, Sirius, and Hispania in top national and international regattas. He was part of Spain’s first America's Cup challenge, España 92, participating in the technical design project of the boat and in data collection for sports development.

He is a national official, judge, and measurer, attending both national and international regattas. Additionally, he is a level 2 instructor and was the secretary of the 420 class for eight years.

Federation-wise, he served as president of the Balearic Sailing Federation for eight years and since 2015, he has held the position of sports vice-president of the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation.

Grassroots sailing, training, R&D, collaboration with clubs and regional federations, service to cruising, women’s sailing, and adaptive sailing are the focus points for his term.

Regarding grassroots sailing, the new president believes it is essential to continue working with yacht clubs. They support junior classes that will later feed into strategic classes at the territorial level. “We must establish standardized sports plans among regional federations, clubs, and the national federation to work together in the same direction.”

For the development of strategic classes that feed into Olympic classes, “we need to continue facilitating the transition of athletes from strategic classes to Olympic classes. In the past 8 years, we have increased from 18 to over 80 boats.”

This development involves parallel training for coaches and specialists in strategic and Olympic classes, “especially in new classes like Kite and iQFOil, where having specialized coaches in regional federations will help promote them.”

Data analysis is crucial for providing the means to achieve goals: “Nowadays, it is essential to continue investing in R&D&I; what is not measured cannot be evaluated and, therefore, improved. We have made a great effort and investment in this technology, which, with artificial intelligence tools, allows us to improve the performance of our Olympic athletes. In this new term, we want to implement this technology in the Armed Forces teams.”

Regarding cruising, “excellence in measurers, rating management, judges, and race officials is the goal to offer the best service to cruisers. The format we have given to the Spanish Cruisers Championship has been a success and is a good tool for growing competition in the sector.”

Women’s sailing is also a key part of his program: “We will continue working towards gender parity in national teams and with the Iberdrola League, which has been a promotional success. The pending task is to increase the number of female coaches and judges in this sport, and we will work in that direction.”

Adaptive sailing is also gaining prominence: “The acquisition of six boats is accompanied by clinics held in various regions to improve the level and number of athletes, supporting participation in national and international regattas with a coach.”

To successfully achieve all these goals, Joaquín González Devesa knows it is crucial to have a solid economic structure, which not only includes significant support from the National Sports Council but also requires sponsors for independent resources. “Results, evolution, and the growing interest in our sport have increased the number of sponsors supporting our programs in recent years. Companies like Iberdrola, Quirón Prevención, Marinepool, and Azulmarino, among others, have supported us on this path of improvement. The entire Federation appreciates their efforts to grow Spanish sailing and support our athletes in reaching their goals.”

The upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic Games will be the first major milestone of his term, with confidence that the Spanish team will successfully complete the work done over the past three years. But González Devesa keeps a broader perspective and, as the sports vice-president, knows well the plans for moving towards Los Angeles 2028. “With the Olympic Cycle Normative published for months, we are working with the athletes who participated in the first qualifying regattas, with a program extending until the end of the year. The machinery is already in motion to support the future Olympic team.”

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