Fair Wind Following Seas

Maria Catalina Sandoval, the daughter of an Admiral of the Republic of Colombia embarks on the ship ARC Gloria, the flagship of the National Navy, to go after her memories; hers and his father's. On that trip, the past and the present come together in the same space so that Catalina can get to know his father and once on land, realize who she is and say goodbye to him.


In the eyes of a four-year-old girl, a ship will always be a fantasy tale. For Catalina, "El Gloria" has been present in Catalina’s life through her father, Alberto; from his hand and with his voice she learned to dream, sailed the seven seas, got to know Australia, knew what the Aurora Borealis was and crossed storms in the Indian Ocean, after getting to know deserted islands. Together with Alberto, she learned to love the sea and the sailors.


In her teens, Catalina's world turned to art and music, a world that clashed with the upbringing of Alberto; at that moment, the lives of Catalina and her father were like antipodes; opposite and distant.


Thirty years later, Alberto is old. Catalina understands that destiny is inescapable and that she needs to navigate, face that sea she heard so much about from her father, in order to know him and to capture in her memory as much as possible of his life, so that history does not fade or deteriorate. “El Gloria” becomes a space - time in which, at last, both worlds converge. It is in the most exciting moments of her father's life that Catalina finds inspiration for this documentary.


The ship sails, a journey in which the past and the present are interwoven begins. Alberto has died, his ashes have been anchored in the sea, but through some letters written in 1970, he reveals to Catalina the most intimate details of navigating. The crew of “El Gloria", the Deck Chief and his Commander are the characters that give life to today's cruise. They break their routine to tell stories and bare their soul. In them, Catalina discovers the essence of the sailor, everything that her father told her once and that only becomes latent in the sea.


After six months of circumnavigating the world, “El Gloria" returns home. Their crewmembers are reunited with their families. But for Catalina, the return has another meaning: she left her father at sea, and in the process, she got to know herself and understood that the lesson her father left her was to go and conquer the world in the same way as he did.

















Fair Wind Following Seas

The smell that comes from the mixture of oil and seawater is perhaps the first memory. It’s the smell of the docks of the Navy Base; it’s the sea of Manzanillo and the oil of the ships. It’s an adventure of the memory where I am caught by the hand of my old man, my hero, the sailor, the guitarist, the friend. His thick and firm voice always gave me peace of mind; although the tone of authority with which I heard him command made me feel proud and protected, sometimes I was frightened by the fact that for me, discipline was elusive.

It was with that voice that I learned to dream; with it I sailed the 7 seas, I traveled four times in the ship Gloria, I got to know Australia and the Tasman Sea; I knew what the Aurora Borealis was; I crossed the line of the Equator while they crowned him as King Neptune, and I toasted with wine in the Antipodes of Cartagena. From his hand I loved the sea and the sailors.


These memories place me in an inescapable reality, and that is that I grew up in that world of the sea, sails, ships and the Colombian Navy. However, when I was an adolescent that world was very distant and conflicted with mine; I played the sax for a ska band and rode a skateboard all over the city. At that moment, being the daughter of an Admiral disagreed with the unarmed world with which I dreamed in a time of violence, bombings and drug trafficking in Colombia.

I studied Art at Universidad de los Andes and I always had an interest in video. I was in Buenos Aires studying documentary film when the Gloria arrived. The emotion that I felt touched a lot of fibers. I had the opportunity to sail on the ship while it was going out to the sea by the Rio de la Plata, and at that moment I knew that the best way to connect with my old man was to look for his past, remember his adventures and that childish feeling of wonder that his ship stories generated in me.

The ARC Gloria is the ambassador ship of Colombia to the seas of the world; it is the ship in which Colombian sailors are trained and a reference for all Colombians; however this is a story that has never been told. This was the first time that the Navy allowed the entry of a film crew during one of their cruises. Based on my personal experience and the opportunity they gave me, this is a documentary that not only tells my story and that of my dad, but also that of all the crew and commanders who have navigated in the Gloria, and the impact that this has had in them and in their families.



Fair Wind Following Seas

You could say that since I was born, or since my dad was born, this idea began to take shape. But in reality, it has taken many years of my adult life to tell this story that is so important to me. I understood after many comings and goings what my dad meant to me, and it was in his illness and death, when I connected with him and learned everything about him, his life and those fantasies that he created in my head when I heard his stories about his trips in the Gloria. I want, through my personal history, to tell the story of all the Gloria families that have lived and will live the same as me.

Making this documentary has not been easy. Since I had the idea in 2007 in Buenos Aires, 11 years have passed. Not even my dad thought they were going to give me the permission to board the Gloria, but I did it. Seven years later, and avoiding many obstacles, we are in postproduction with a team in which I believe and of which I am very proud.


This has been the process:


  • 1932: Alberto Sandoval Solano is born.

  • 1951: Alberto enters the Navy of the Republic of Colombia.

  • 1974: Maria Catalina de la Cruz Sandoval Luna is born.

  • 1968: The ARC Gloria is built. It is finished in the Shipyards of Celaya (Spain), and arrives in Colombia in July.

  • 1970: First cruise of Alberto in the Gloria as Deck Leader and third officer on board.

  • 1971 - 1972: Alberto sails as the Second Commander of the Gloria.

  • 1979: Alberto sails as the Commander of the Gloria.

  • 1990: The Sandoval Luna family lives in the Naval Base of Bahía Málaga. This is where Catalina has a closer contact with Alberto's work.

  • 1995: Catalina starts studying arts in the Universidad de los Andes.

  • 2001: Catalina gets her degree in Arts and Music from the Universidad de los Andes.

  • 2007: Catalina gets her Master's Degree in Documentary Cinema in Buenos Aires. As part of that year's cruise, the Gloria arrives in the city and Catalina has the opportunity to see it for the first time: the Gloria out of her country. What she saw and felt when she saw it arrive at the port with the cadets on the sails singing the national anthem, connected her with Alberto, made her feel nostalgic and distanced from her father. This is the spark that ignites the project.

  • 2008: Alberto has a kidney failure.

  • 2009: Catalina presents the project to the National Navy; though they approve it, it gets shut down at the last minute.

  • 2010: Catalina returns to Colombia to be with Alberto. Catalina insists with the idea of the documentary.

  • 2010: On December 24th, Alberto dies.

  • 2011: On January 13th, the Navy gives Catalina boarding authorization to sail on the 2011 cruise to the United States, the North Sea, Morocco, Spain and the Antilles.

  • 2011: Between May 13th and June 4th, Catalina and the team embark for the first time for a month between Cartagena (Colombia) and Alexandria, Boston (United States).

  • 2011: Between September 26th and October 26th, Catalina and the team embark for another month between Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Spain) and Cartagena (Colombia).

  • 2012 - 2018: With a lot of difficulty and obstacles, Catalina has continued in the post-production of this story that seems an impossible task, but that since that day in Buenos Aires that she left sailing in the Gloria through De la Plata river, she knew she had to tell.