Interview with Luca Bertacchi, Team Leader of the Class40 IBSA project
A career in Italy and abroad between industry, finance and the insurance sector, the role of Sports Director of the Circolo Vela Bellano and the commitment to environmental protection and inclusion social through sport, and a great passion for sailing and the sea that has accompanied him since he was a child: Luca Bertacchi is the team leader of the IBSA Class40 and Alberto Bona project.
Luca, how was your passion for sailing born?
Sailing for me is more than a passion: I remember my first trip to Sardinia in the early ‘70s and the chance to sail aboard the Corsaro II, the historic yawl of the Navy… Since then I have never gotten off the boat. My father was a Navy officer and he passed on his passion to us; when we were children, he took us on a summer cruise on the Navy School Ships, then on the Flying Junior and finally on a nine-meter Comet. When I was ten we moved to Sardinia and the adventure of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda began: we spent our summers there, acting as instructors and helping our sailing “myths”. I remember a regatta on a Maxi at thirteen, where my role was to “wool” spinnakers below deck: I practically never saw the sky for six hours.
How did you meet Alberto? What prompted you to join him?
In 2021 I hired Alberto as a navigator for the Giraglia on BertaX, a 50-foot X-Yacht. Together we optimised the boat and made a successful regatta, that marked the beginning of a strong sharing of values and the conviction of being able to do something unique together.
Working with Alberto was one of the funniest and most engaging experiences of my life: Alberto is not only a talent of offshore sailing, but also an old-fashioned sailor, with profound and sincere values. He combines meticulous preparation with a sensitivity that I have rarely encountered. The experience gained in Brittany, working with the greats of offshore sailing, made him a complete sailor, with a lot of unexpressed potential still. On this basis, we worked together on the IBSA Class40 project, supported by the passion for sailing and for difficult challenges that unites us.
You maintain with Alberto a constant exchange of views on many aspects of the project: it could be said that you are his adviser, but also a supervisor. Could you tell us what are the main aspects you focus on in your interaction?
Alberto has matured a lot this year. Solitary navigators, especially self-made ones, have an evolved but very particular decision-making process: they are used to making important choices in solitude, often in conditions of physical and mental stress. We did a fantastic job sharing almost all the aspects, creating a team that could complement us in our weaknesses, opening us to different choices, that however have gone through a rigorous and structured decision-making process. We quickly find ourselves aligned on strategic choices, while on technical ones I ask many questions that often help the final solutions. The well-being and serenity of Alberto and the Team are the main focus.
What are the short-term goals in anticipation of the Route du Rhum?
IBSA Class40 will be launched shortly, and I would say that a first important goal has been achieved: it is beautiful! Now we need to focus on optimisation and reliability. We will have two very intense months, when every day, every night and every maneuver will be meticulously studied. The team is exceptional, and maintaining Alberto’s serenity at sea and on land will be crucial. He must arrive at the start of the Route du Rhum serene and sure of himself and his means.
What are the aims of the partnership with IBSA, the reasons that prompted you to propose the project to them?
IBSA is a Swiss excellence that combines the human aspects of family companies with the solidity and structure of large international corporations. The corporate values with a focus on people and sustainability, going through a process of first-rate research and technological innovation, were perfectly in line with the principles that animated our challenge. The strong presence of the Group both in Italy and in France, where it is a rising star, completed the harmony with our challenge on a Class 40, a boat designed and built in France, with an operational team of French excellence, but with a great Italian sailor at the helm. In short, we are thrilled to be able to share this beautiful international challenge with the IBSA Group, and I hope it can unite people in their passion for sailing and the environment.