Alberto Bona at the 55th edition of the Barcolana
The Barcolana – the historic regatta which takes place every year on the second Sunday of October and which holds the Guiness World Record as the largest regatta in the world, due to the 2,689 boats registered for the 2018 edition – took place on Sunday, October 8, in Trieste. The 2023 edition saw 1,773 boats at the start, as well as thousands of spectators, enthusiasts and onlookers gathered on the Trieste shores, including our skipper Alberto Bona, who took a short break from his training in preparation of the Transat Jacques Vabre to attend the event, not at sea, but from land, in the unprecedented role of sports commentator.
Bona was in fact a guest on the two shows that covered the regatta live – the special broadcast on Rai Sport with Giulio Guazzini and the production curated by the organisation and streamed on the Barcolana Facebook channel, with Fabio Colivicchi and Alec Wilkinson – commenting and discussing with the other guests in the studio, including the president of FIV – Federazione Italiana Vela (the Italian Sailing Federation) Francesco Ettorre. Characterised by a “textbook calm”, which allowed 2 knots from the East at the start and some sporadic wind shifts, the Barcolana55 saw the triumph of Furio Benussi with his 16-year-old daughter Marta as co-helmsman on board ARCA sgr, a Maxi with a length over all (LOA) of 34 m and a 45-meter high mast that won the Barcolana trophy for the sixth time. In the Gulf of Trieste – together with the “big” ones, in name and in fact – there was also a large fleet made up of a thousand smaller boats ready to engage battle not only in the rear, but also side by side with the Maxis in the leading group, thanks to the scarce wind and their light hulls.
“Seeing so many people on the quay”,commented Bona, “here in Italy too is a very nice feeling. In France, it is common for people to gather to watch the starts of the big regattas, but in Italy it’s not so common, and here in Trieste there is a truly joyful atmosphere. Maybe”, he added smiling, “maybe one day we will participate in the Barcolana with the Class40 IBSA!”.
Speaking of IBSA, there was no shortage of questions from the commentators to Alberto regarding his preparation for the Transat Jacques Vabre, which will start on October 29 from Le Havre.
“Ocean sailing”, remarked Bona, “is experiencing a unique moment: getting to one of the most important regattas with four Italian skippers is not to be taken for granted and is a source of great pride. I am also very happy with the work we are doing on the inclusion front, together with IBSA, which supports FIV’s Para Sailing Academy (a disabled sailing school) to direct the spotlight not only on sporting results, but also on social commitment”.