Work has been carried out in Narbonne.

04-03-2020Pierre Legeard

The Miguel Caldentey is one of the few surviving Majorcan "pailebotes", this word being a corruption of the English "pilot boat" of the second half of the nineteenth century.

In the case of the Miguel Caldentey, it was built in 1916 at the Llompart shipyard in Palma. It was in operation until the 1970s, by which time it had become obsolete because of maritime transport advances; it had been a cargo ship on routes to and from the mainland. It was bought by a French company in 1973 with the intention that it should be used for tourism purposes.

In 2006, representatives from the Council of Majorca went to take a look at the boat, which had on one occasion partially sunk. It was felt that the boat could be recovered, but it was the French government which took the initiative in doing so; the French had declared it an historical monument in 1988.

Restoration work on the thirty-metre boat has been ongoing in Narbonne. In a couple of weeks time, the restored boat will undertake its first voyage. It will go to Sète and Port Vendres, and from the neighbouring port of Collioure it will journey to Puerto Soller, which has strong historical trade and social associations with French ports, especially those like Collioure which has long had a strong Catalan culture.

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