Tommaso Stella, the rigger of IBSA Class40

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Tommaso Stella, the rigger of IBSA Class40

A career that speaks for itself: expert navigator, successful skipper and long-time trusted member of Giovanni Soldini’s team. Tommaso Stella was also the master of the NGO ship Mediterranea which, during the Alex mission, in 2019, patrolled the sea off Lampedusa with the aim of saving the lives of those who were in danger or shipwrecked. Today, as a rigger, he is part of the project Sailing into the Future. Together.

But what is rigging? It’s a very technical term that probably only insiders know. “Rigging is the preparation of the materials, sheets and halyards, which are used during the manoeuvers. Within the IBSA Class40 project, I’m in charge of preparing every manoeuver that will be carried out on board, and I decide with Alberto which materials to use for each of them, taking into account both the weight and the loads, which are very important on these boats, even if they are only 12 meters long”, explained Stella.

The rigger’s work is very important, because his evaluations and choices can significantly affect the performance of both Alberto and the new IBSA Class40: “Safety is the priority: first of all, I check that the lines are suitable for the load they will have to bear; after that, the goal is to be as light and performing as possible”, continued Stella. “Finally, I also take care of choosing the most suitable materials for abrasive manoeuvers; some must have a lot of grip on winches and stoppers, while others must slide well, reducing friction and limiting any stress in the equipment, but in particular any effort of the sailor. Materials also deteriorate – indeed, some of them feel the effects of the sun – and this factor also affects the final choice. My work lies between the regatta and the factories that produce ropes and lines; everything has to be perfectly adjusted to its function on-board the IBSA Class40”. Tommaso has a long-standing relationship with Alberto, whom he met many years ago when, still very young, he asked him to take care of the rigging of his boat in preparation for his first Mini Transat. “I have a very nice relationship with Alberto: he is a very competent person, he goes to the bottom of every issue and every detail. He is not only a “pilot”, but he takes a keen interest in all aspects of the preparation of the boat. We discuss a lot and about everything, and the solutions to various issues emerge precisely from this interaction. This is very interesting for me, and it is formative for both of us”. 

IBSA 40

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