There are1773 participants at the start, and over 1100 at the finish line of the 55th edition of Trieste’s Barcolana presented by Generali, which is won by Furio Benussi’s 100-footer ARCA SGR with his 16-year-old daughter Marta as co-helmsman. There is no wind in Trieste – before the start, the Gulf allows two knots from the East, but when the cannon fires at 10.30 the boats are basically motionless.
The “big boats” take up to twenty minutes to break free from the pack. Francesca Clapcich and Claudia Rossi choose to head towards Barcola aboard the Generali boat, Woodpecker Cube, while the other Maxi boats all tack to the left towards Miramare because if any breeze arrives, it will come from there. Arca Sgr, Prosecco DOC Shockwave 3, and Way of Life make up the trio of favorites, but with virtually no wind, the very small and super-light boats find themselves in the top positions. The first puff of wind arrives after half an hour: Arca spots it first, tacking early, followed by the competitors. There’s the illusion of finding more pressure, which lasts only a few minutes.
The potential leaderboard is chaotic; the top positions keep changing constantly. It’s here, more than an hour after the start, that the bowmen climb onto the trapezes, trying to decipher a racecourse that’s difficult to interpret and highly variable. The situation becomes clearer when the wind “mocks” the forecasts and shifts back to the left, a move that brings the downwind boats back into play, those that for a while seemed to be on a “sightseeing tour” towards Muggia. The left turn also brings an increase in intensity, just a few tenths of a knot, but you can feel the difference. Arca takes back the lead, reaching speeds of up to six knots, creating its own personal breeze. Now it’s just a matter of keeping an eye on the competitors and heading straight for the first buoy, which has meanwhile been declared the finish line to allow as many crews as possible to cross it within the time limit, in the true spirit of “barcolano.”
Arca Sgr wins with a time of 1 hour, 49 minutes and 55 seconds. Furio Benussi celebrates with his daughter Marta and tactician Lorenzo Bressani, while a fight for second place goes on a little further back. Prosecco DOC Shockwave 3 engages in a duel with Way of Life – the former arrives narrow from below and luffs as much as possible; thanks to great stubbornness, it ends up being a success, and Mitja Kosmina finishes second, only seven seconds ahead of Way of Life. The podium is complete, but behind the first three finishers there is still a great Barcolana edition going on. Maxi Jena comes in fourth and Molo Longo, Vallicelli’s historic TuttaTrieste with Andrea Nevierov, comes in fifth, crossing the finish line two hours after the start. In the meantime, it is time for the rear to put away their sandwiches – the sun beats the mist, brings some heat, and finally allows a little breeze to come in, which will escort more than a thousand crews to merrily cross the finish line.
On land and at sea, the crowd cheers for the winners, while on the Molo Audace the prize-giving ceremony takes place. The cup is awarded by Minister for Sport and Youth Andrea Abodi, together with SVBG President Mitja Gialuz, Generali’s Chairman Andrea Sironi, SVBG Sports Director Dean Bassi, winner of the 54th edition Wendy Schmidt, and the face of the event, sailor Francesca Clapcich.
“It has been an exceptional edition of the Barcolana,” said SVBG President Mitja Gialuz, now in his tenth edition as president, “a regatta with 1773 registered participants, of which over 1100 crossed the finish line despite the lack of wind. A tactical race and great celebrations took place at sea, while extraordinary participation was registered on land, perhaps even higher than during the 50thedition. Trieste was sold out, full of young people, tourists, and many people who wanted to experience this unique event firsthand. I had the pleasure and honour to share several moments of the regatta with the Minister for Sport Andrea Abodi, whom I would like to thank for his participation.”
The third edition of the Trofeo Generali – Women in Sailing was awarded to Federica Tuniz (SVOC), who ranked 31st in the 55thBarcolana Autumn Cup, with the first mixed crew to cross the finish line with a woman as head skipper.
The cup, created by Barovier, also comes with a Generali Academy coaching and leadership course, to be tailored to the winner’s needs.
In addition, Generali has made two special mentions to Alice Linussi (22) of Allianz’s Anemos II (18th place) and Marta Benussi (16) of Arca (1st place) respectively.
Generali’sChairman Andrea Sironi commented, “It has been a Barcolana full of enthusiasm and participation, and whose spectacularity has restored the beauty of the Trieste area and of a sporting discipline – sailing – which can involve people and encourage values such as fairness and inclusion. We are delighted to award the 2023 Trofeo Generali – Women in Sailing to Federica Tuniz, while also making a special mention to two young women, Alice Linussi and Marta Benussi, whose commitment and passion, which they shared with their crew, led them to cross this important finish line today at sea. We believe that the cup is a valuable prize since change must be accompanied over time. This is why we will offer the winner a coaching course that can give her the strength to apply it to other fields of her life. People’s potential is a cornerstone in which Generali firmly believes.”
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