Pulga is Spanish for flea. The pulga in this story is a boat and its story is a short one. In the gloomy post-civil war days, this spirited craft must have been a little beacon of optimism. Built in 1944 by Sebastian Roch from lines drawn by a local engineer, Lluis Ferrer, the Pulga is an 11ft 4in carvel dinghy. 75 were made in total and some, the notice in the museum will tell you with pride, were exported to the US. The plucky little boat wore
Sebastian Roch senior was so distraught that he ceased production of the boat and nobody else, it seems, stepped into the breech. Sebastian junior’s sailing companion Mariano Mallol survived the capsize and, in memory of Sebastian and the Pulga, had a model of the boat built, which was carried to the chapel of Sant Magi in Tarragona. The model is still there today.
Of the 75 boats built only one example is known still to exist--this one called Bruja, (witch) on display in El Museu del Port de Tarragona.
The Pulga is an attractive boat with lines that would look good on a much larger boat. She also has a hidden beauty in her materials, there’s no oak, spruce or mahogany, but Mediterranean white pine, wide grained, knotty and resinous and olive wood, materials that clearly state her nationality, making her an authentic piece of Catalan history.
Authentic but obscure, a google search for pulga reveals thousands of pages detailing the habits of wingless blood-sucking insects of the order siphonaptera but nothing about this brave little craft.