Bruno Garcia: “I heart the Barcelona World Race”

Bruno Garcia is a Barcelona based cardiologist who has always liked to make his own heart beat just a little faster. For many years he has been at the forefront of Spain's solo and short handed ocean racing movement, one of the pioneers who has inspired some of the younger Spanish ocean racers. And when he is not ocean racing, working as an interventionist cardiologist he is something of an extreme skier. The other love always close to his heart is his family. He also loves to spend time with them. 

Interviews DEC 11, 2014 13:16

Medicine and sailing have been the passion of the elder of the two Garcia brothers since he was young. But as he noted sagely four years ago when he was preparing to race on President with Jean Le Cam: "It is very hard to do medicine as a hobby."

His 2010-11 race ended in after just ten days, forced to abandon into the Cape Verde islands when the mast of their IMOCA 60 President broke: "The first time I failed." Bruno Garcia recalls. He may be an amateur but he his sailing accomplishments form an impressive CV, sailing the Atlantic and his native Mediterranean on manner of admittedly smaller boats.

But now he has back to try again to realise his dream of racing around the world, ideally with his younger brother Willy, who runs his own jewel business. The pair will race the Farr design which won the first edition of the Barcelona World Race as Virbac-Paprec 2 in the hands of Jean-Pierre Dick and Damian Foxall. In the 2010-11 race it finished fourth as Estrella Damm sailed by Alex Pella and Pepe Ribes.

So Bruno are you ready to give it a go again, racing around the world?

I think so, but remember that the first time I failed. But I am thinking positively that this time we will get to complete the whole race and make it all the way round.

How do you remember the last Barcelona World Race?

Unfortunately the memory is of disappointment and not finishing. But I still learned a lot and I hope that will help as we take on this edition.

You are the last team to have entered the race, does that put you at a disadvantage?

Yes, for sure. We have had less time to prepare than the rest of the fleet but, at the same time, this is also feels like an advantage: we don’t have so much pressure. Nobody can expect too much of us and correspondingly we can expect more of the others who have had more time to prepare the race.

How is going the preparation for the race?

It is alright. But all the time you are trying to work, thinking and drive to keep moving forwards. And besides that we have a really good team with very good people, there is a great atmosphere all around the project.

Will you get to the start with everything ready?

I would like to think so. No doubt we will be missing some things but all the key things will be done. The team we have is very competent and also we have a good number of people from the FNOB helping too. I think when things fall into place like they are then you can be well enough prepared.

How have you been these last few months for you? Work, home, boat...

To be honest they have been tough months. Very different from what it was like leading up to the last edition of the Barcelona World Race. Then I spent time in France with Jean  and that isolated me, so I was working 100% for the project. Here I have some completely schizophrenic, Kafkaesque days. So for example I start with a session in the hospital, then I have to solve boat issues by phone, back to the hospital or visiting patients and then again back with the boat, and in among all that finding time to be with the family.

Sailing is a hobby for you, however you have an interesting CV.

Honestly I think it's nice to have a CV, as you said, which is interesting but actually that was never been my goal. Even that is the same with my professional carer. In the end the CV is like a ship's wake: it just shows where you have been. It is true that sometimes when I reflect then I look and see a nice wake, and I hope that over the years it will still increase.

How is it on board the boat?

We have not had many chances really to explore the extremes, shall we say, but so far it is all good. I begin to learn the feel of the boat a bit, not all of it, but I'm starting to understand it and feel it. I had already sailed with them on the Veulte Espana and the odd delivery but it is a boat with a history and I think it holds many good feelings.

What about your relationship with your brother?

That's difficult to answer [laughs]. I think we have a very good relationship. My brother is one of the best gifts I've ever had in my life. He is a very good friend, a great brother and is also a great sailor. I trust him both on the sea and in the mountains. With him I have done many miles, many peaks, many courses ... and trust we have is phenomenal. Obviously also he has shortcomings, as I have, but the advantage is that we know well. The relationship is good.

What do you expect from this race?

To be honest I do not know. I expect a lot and at the same time too much. Now I have the disappointment of the previous race back a bit ... But now I am hoping that will go for good. The preparation is very educational as is the training. I am pleasantly surprised by the strong team we have formed. Our captain, Rubén Castells, is a great guy and a fabulous technician; with him I see that we are doing better than I expected. But I will not talk about results because neither my brother nor I have any pressure to get a result. We are very excited to do something nice. If we can finish, well and good we will be happy. If not, at least let us do it well, we don't want to look like bad amateurs. Mostly though I want to enjoy the race, live it and make it live for others. Since the last edition with Jean Le Cam I have learned that this type of racing is not just for those who go and sail but it is also for people like the shore crew and those who follow us.  And there are many out there and my brother and I hope to reach out to them and have the public enjoy and share our adventure.