He is one of the five members of the worldwide technical committee of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF); and he is currently visiting El Salvador, where he is not only measuring the Salvadoran vessels for the Central American and Caribbean Games San Salvador 2023, but he is also giving a camp to Salvadoran athletes.
“I am a friend of the sailors from El Salvador,” he emphasizes in his first sentence, and then explains that where he lives in Mexico, “we have a lake much smaller than this one, called Valle de Bravo. I’ve been sailing there since I was 5 years old”, said Kenneth Porter.
Kenneth emphasized that in Valle Bravo, a city located 156 km southwest from Mexico City, they are quite lucky since they have many vessels.
“The passion for this sport started in 1952, we have 120 J/24 ships in the lake. I started sailing with my dad, I did it until I was 16 years old, from there I started doing it in the Olympic 470 category until I was 30, then I switched to J/24”, said the Mexican, who has been champion of his country for 20 years.
Porter explains that Valle del Bravo has a small lake compared to Ilopango, which measures 8 × 11 Km, with a surface area of 72 km², and an average depth of 230 m.
“This lake is magnificent, beautiful, I had the chance to visit it 15 years ago, and I loved it, it was fascinating. I was told that the wind was going to be very light during the Central American and Caribbean Games because of the rain, but these conditions are wonderful”, describes Kenneth.
The Mexican champion is impressed by the constant wind, and the nice temperature that allows smooth sailing without the need of special suits.
“Nothing is needed to sail. We normally sail in cold or hot conditions, which are not ideal; over here, the conditions are perfect, we can’t ask for anything better. I think that this place can be a mecca for a world championship, or many”, Porter said.
The Mexican said that Salinas, in Ecuador, has been the venue for several regattas, but it doesn’t meet the conditions that Ilopango Lake does.
“We have the example of Salinas, Ecuador, I am sorry, but I like it better over here. And Salinas has hosted I don’t know how many championships. The people have realized that it can be a way to attract good tourism, and there can be economic benefit from that tourism”, he explained.
Porter considers that his sport has the advantage of being recreational or competitive; but above it all, it benefits all those who practice it, since it is educational and makes people more responsible and focused.
Regarding this measuring task, the Mexican claims that “the ships are good over here, obviously, there are things that can be improved; but if we do the necessary work in the next few months, we will be able to see the results”.
Kenneth considers that the size of the Ilopango Lake is suitable for the J/24 vessels.
“Larger vessels are irrelevant, these belong in the sea, but this lake is suitable for any kind of sailing. There can be recreational sailing, or sailing trips, as well as any kind of competitions. There are several types of sailboats, whatever the Salvadorans choose, will be suitable”, he commented.
At the same time, referring to Fesavela, Porter emphasized that there are many kids working with some vessels.
“They are already started with the necessary classes, they have the J/24, the laser, a few boards, among others. That’s what I call being on the right path for competitive sailing”, he commented. He later emphasized that “this lake has some very special characteristics, you don’t see this wind everywhere in the world. It is difficult to get a place where the wind blows at a certain time in a specific direction, and with this temperature. It is quite wonderful”.
Additionally, he said to be pleased with the water conditions, since besides having a nice temperature, it is uncontaminated fresh water.
“The lake is uncontaminated, I congratulate the Salvadorans for being clean and neat. I feel bad for Valle de Bravo, it’s about to turn into a sewer. I feel bad, but it happens. It makes me happy to have been invited”.