GET SET for a Cowes style naval regatta in Lisbon on April 30, when the country’s oldest naval association, Associação Naval de Lisboa (ANL), celebrates its 150th anniversary. Thousands of yachts and boats of all different classes and types from around Europe are expected to besiege the River Tejo to honour the Iberian Peninsula’s oldest boating association.
The initiative is not only intended to celebrate the anniversary of the ANL but also to launch the new Lisbon Nautical Week Regatta, which is designed to make Lisbon a popular destination for boat lovers, putting it firmly on the marine tourism map.
José Albergaria, Secretary General of the ANL, said that while Lisboners had a great fondness for the River Tejo, there needed to be some promotional changes in order to encourage more recreation on the water.
“For some years now, there has been a ‘divorce’ between the people and the river, imposed by the activities of the port and the commercial shipping coming in and out of the estuary,” Albergaria said. “Thankfully, now there is a different policy, but there’s still far to go to explore and encourage the recreational and tourism possibilities that the river offers.”
Now the association is planning to refurbish its waterside headquarters by constructing a clubhouse and better access ramps to the water. “For ages, we haven’t had an adequate HQ and facilities, although it’s been on the cards since the 1990s,” he said.
Recently, the ANL, which also practices rowing as a sport, launched a book which traces the 150-year history of the association. July promises to be a busy month for the association, which is hosting four regattas from different ports to the Alcântara docks. Lisbon’s second Classic Regatta will take place this year between October 7 and 8 and is likely to attract up to 300 rowing, boating and yachting enthusiasts.