When I first started planning cruises on the Catalan coast, rather than studying a pilot book, I looked to the Catalan nautical writers who, though writing sometime in the past, used language that I could readily absorb. Two writers stood out—Josep Pla and Carlos Barral. Both sailed extensively on this coast from the '40's to the '70's and as I lapped up their prose I began to feel an almost personal attachment to them. While Pla was paused, detailed, literary and enjoyable purely for his masterly use of the Catalan language, Barral described sailing and the coast with larger, more spontaneous brush strokes and his vivid colours reflected his passionate nautical spirit.
Pla died in 1981, his boat 'Mestral' long lost to scrap. Barral died in '89, and his boat 'Capitan Arguello' ended up in Tarragona's 'Museu del Port.' Barral was from Calafell, just round the next headland from OB's beach, and the dedicated souls of the association 'Pati Catala Calafell, Mar Mitic, Mar Ludic' have striven to return Barral's boat to its home beach in Calafell. But for all the negotiations Tarragona Museum hold tightly to the treasured Capitan Arguello. So the association studied the possibility of building a replica but that plan unsurprisingly was beyond their budget. They did the next best thing, found and restored a deteriorating llaut which, though of smaller dimensions, they painted in Capitan Arguello's distinctive black and orange colours and named La Carlos Barral.