He set foot in the entrance of the Real Club Náutico de Sanxenxo to the cheers of the many citizens who crowded behind the security fences, the murmur of the flashes and the questions of the journalists. He greeted the local authorities and the sponsors of the InterRías regatta, and then the crew members of his boat, the ‘Bribón 500’, the 6mR with which he intends to sail these days through the Pontevedra estuary, were waiting for him. They are almost family for Don Juan Carlos, many have accompanied him over the last thirty years in the different divisions in which they have competed, always on the ship armed by José Cusí. But today the king emeritus’s embrace of Alberto Viejo, the prow of the ‘Bribón’, who was about to die at the beginning of the year due to a spectacular accident while haggling, had a special meaning.

After a heartfelt hug, Don Juan Carlos chatted with the sailor, with whom he even joked.

Old participated on January 15 in training aboard a Swan 36 in the Vigo estuary. The boat was speeding when he slipped on the deck and fell into the water. He had a loose end in his hand. He was hooked to the helm for several seconds, breathing in the air from the bubbles. It wasn’t until a few moments later that his crewmates noticed his absence and started looking for him. They lowered him to the ground, where he fainted, and the ambulance paramedics recognized the seriousness of his internal injuries and rushed him to the Álvaro Cunqueiro Hospital.

In the hospital center they diagnosed him with a perforation of the aorta artery and involvement of a kidney and spleen. In the words of the surgeon who intervened, if he had arrived ten minutes later, he would not have been able to do anything for him. The operation was a success and a few days later he was already recovering at his home, together with his wife, Sesé. His excellent physical condition was decisive so that everything was left in a scare. During his hospital convalescence, Don Juan Carlos was interested in his condition and telephoned him from Abu Dhabi.

The navigator, a lawyer by profession, wanted to thank the treatment received by the health workers of the Álvaro Cunqueiro Hospital with a public letter. He recognized all of them as “my angels.” «I can say how lucky I was to be able to enjoy his work, his professionalism and his affection, and to be able to be a guest in room 408C, where I had some wonderful cell ‘mates’ and was able to answer hundreds of amazing messages that got me more than any painkiller. Viejo wanted his letter to serve “as a humble tribute to all those who have cared for us tirelessly and beyond duty during this time of pandemic.”

Alberto Viejo’s is a nautical passion that comes from afar. He began sailing in the Vigo estuary at the age of twelve. Those who know him best define him simply as “a great guy.” At 52 years old, he has accumulated several world titles in different categories, always as a crew member, and has participated in the Admiral’s Cup, the Sardinia or the Volvo Ocean Race, a regatta in which he has historically been linked to Pedro Campos’ ‘Movistar’ teams . Viejo joined ‘Bribón’ in 2001, and since then he has been one of its most regular members. He today he has returned to the water to continue defending the colors of the ‘Rogue’.