Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sailing the Barcolana- a Cultural Experience!

Barcolana Regatta starting line 2015 (Trieste, Italy)- The 47th edition of the Barcolana is basically a mass celebration of the end of the sailing season on the Adriatic.  It’s hard to describe it as a race since the highlight of the Barcolana is always the mass start with around 1,700 boats starting on the same line to begin the 13 nm course. For any sailing enthusiasts and for those who do not want to miss a unique show in the world, this crazy event takes place in Trieste, every year, on the second Sunday of October.  The event is more sailing festival than a regatta, it’s a magical mixture of pro’s and amateurs, cruisers and racers, and every imaginable thing that floats that can justify putting up something that looks like a sail.  Near bathtubs have “sailed” the event, taking hours to complete the 13nm race, only to cross the line to wild cheerleading and singing from the massive throngs of people gathered along the waterfront (it is a party, after all, and 1,700 boats means well over 5,000 people enjoying the celebration).

This year, the course was closer to the shore and the finishing line was just off Piazza Unità d'Italia, which forms a spectacular backdrop to finish the “bay tour”.  The starting line was just off the seafront in Barcola and the first buoy was closer than before, making the first stretch shorter. The offset mark of the second buoy was repositioned, and the third buoy was placed close to Miramare Castle, thus modifying the position of the third stretch and reducing its length.

In short, the “regatta” (if you could call it that) was run as parallel as possible to the seafront giving spectators the opportunity to watch the race from both the seafront in Barcola and the Karst plateau, as if they were sitting on the stands of a natural stadium. Spectators were also be able to enjoy the event from other places on land, from the Miramare Castle to Piazza Unità d'Italia or the San Giusto Castle, as well as along the Napoleonica walking path or Strada del Friuli.

Barcolana Race sailing offshoreThe weekend started with the typical fall “Bora”.  It blew a full gale for over 24 hours on the eve of the Barcolana; gusts reached over 60 kts!  In fact, it was blowing so hard that all racing and events on Saturday in the open plazas were cancelled due to “flying objects” (chairs, tables, tents, skirts, etc).  Nevertheless, by delaying the start until 12:30pm on Sunday, the Barcolana set off without too many collisions and less than 10 protests (that are never filed anyways).  The fleet took off on a slow reach to start and as they got offshore, the winds increased enough for hundreds of spinnakers to be deployed and create a magnificent parade to the offshore mark with Trieste’s striking city and mountain range forming a spectacular backdrop.

Overall, despite the complete insanity of the starting line, e.g. you try to cross it without getting hit from five directions, many J/teams sailed quite well.  Starting with Class 1, the J/120 J-ONE MILLIGOR sailed by Lorenzo Simeoni took 18th in class of 250+ boats.  Then, the J/44 LULI owned by Riccardo Pujatti and skippered by Mirella Francheschini took 23rd.  In Class 2, the J/39 CHARLIE VICTOR owned by Matteo Ranza and skippered by Nicoletta Santi took 15th. In the enormous Class 3, the J/109 SAGOLA owned by Fedrigo Perisutti and skippered by Massimo Minozzi was 3rd in class followed by the J/105 NEMBO SPEED sailed by Piero Fornasaro de Manzini that took 6th place.

Barcolana Regatta courseWith such a massive start and a lot of boats over 35 feet, the small boats tend to suffer a bit- lots of wind shadows by big clunkers that are just fast enough to roll you can be a painful experience.  Nevertheless, in Class 5, the J/92 JOLE sailed by Mariolina Murianni placed 10th. Then, in Class 6, the J/80 ANTIGRAFFIO sailed by Renzo Bezzan took 5th place!

Finally, the J/24s were dueling fiercely for wind (gasping for it, in fact) and for class honors in Class 7.  The top J/24 was ANONIMA sailed by Tullio Ranni in 27th. Classmate BRIGANTE TIBURZI sailed by Francesco Feri was 2nd J/24 and 30th in class.  The third J/24 was SKIZZO sailed by Dario Radin, taking 33rd place.  The 4th J/24 was MR WILLY skippered by Flavio Vassallo in 35th place.  Then, the 5th J/24 was LAMU sailed by Paolo Ciacchi and Marina Planet landing in the 48th spot. Apparently, they all had a fantastic time, survived to tell the story and had a whale of a celebration back on land after the finish.  What a great way to end the season!  Perhaps Newport should do the same after the boat show, start between Rose Island and Conanicut YC dock and go north around Halfway Rock and back to the finish between Fort Adams and the green can off Goat Island!  Then celebrate at Candy Store/ Clarke Cooke House- the new, new “Candy Store Cup”!!  To see some Facebook posts of the Barcolana Regatta
For more Barcolana Regatta sailing information