DEEP BLUE WINS BARCOLANA 54 PRESENTED BY GENERALI WITH A WOMAN AT THE HELM
WENDY SCHMIDT’S DEEP BLUE WINS, FURIO BENUSSI’S ARCA FINISHES SECOND, PORTOPICCOLO PROSECCO DOC COMES IN THIRD
Provisional classification: EWOL Way of life, who came in fourth, protested Arca for abandoning a sail at sea, which was retrieved by the support team
A dream come true. The Barcolana Cup is flying to the United States, to the New York Yacht Club, the same club that has held the America’s Cup for 132 years. American entrepreneur and philanthropist Wendy Schmidt and her Deep Blue have won the 54th edition of the Barcolana presented by Generali, which was held in Trieste yesterday on a perfect sunny day, with the Bora and gusts of wind up to 25 knots. 1614 boats took part in the race, with the Amerigo Vespucci ship symbolically kicking off the regatta. Wendy Schmidt has also won the ‘Women in Sailing’ Generali Cup, awarded to the first female skipper in a mixed crew, and it is the first time that a single team has won both cups.
Deep Blue crossed the finish line in 57’47”, beating Furio Benussi’s Arca by 59 seconds. Portopiccolo Prosecco Doc came in third, with Mitja Kosmina at the helm. “It is a dream come true,” said SVBG President Mitja Gialuz. “The Barcolana Cup, that was first organised in Barcola, a club of humble origins, will land at the New York Yacht Club. Trieste saw great celebrations both on land and at sea. The Barcolana, as often happens, has surprised everyone, giving us a wonderful week and an unforgettable day.” “I am happy for my team,” said American sailor Wendy Schmidt, “and for everyone who has worked so hard for so long – we have been sailing together for 15 years. Thank you, Trieste. Everyone has been absolutely wonderful here and it was a pleasure to sail and enjoy this beautiful natural landscape. Now I get why everyone loves taking part in this regatta in this city.” Speaking of female leadership, she added, “There are so many great, passionate, smart, talented female sailors. Sailing is a wonderful sport that knows no gender, age, or barriers. I always encourage people to sail because we are all linked to the ocean: whether we know it or not, we are all part of its future.”
Generali President Andrea Sironi said, “The Barcolana is a true celebration of the sea, an extraordinary show with a large audience full of enthusiasm, which shows their affection and bond towards this event which represents an entire city, Trieste, and which, with everyone’s contribution, has once again been a true success. Generali has supported the Barcolana for over 40 years, and as promoters of the ‘Women in Sailing’ Generali Cup we are delighted to see a woman, Wendy Schmidt, crossing the finish line first. Going back to sailing together, with a focus on sustainability, inclusion, and solidarity, is the best way to prove that we are going back to the norm, which will enable us to face new challenges. I would like to thank the organisers and everyone who made this celebration – my first celebration – possible. I hope that it will continue to grow and involve more and more people.”
PLAY-BY-PLAY – It is a wonderful sailing day in Trieste, with a light Bora in the early morning which then becomes increasingly stronger, until it reaches 28 knots in gusts. 1614 boats are at the starting line of an exceptional Barcolana. The start is adrenalin-filled, to say the least: the big names of the regatta are close together, but each one has its own clear idea of where to start from, because, with the Bora blowing, the best starting point is closest to Barcola. Arca starts between the centre of the line and Barcola, immediately hoists a headsail to luff at every gust of wind and aims to break away from the group quickly. Deep Blue sails downwind and hoists a gennaker for a different point of sail and immediately shows the perfect trim that it will then keep throughout the race. Portopiccolo Prosecco DOC, with Mitja Kosmina at the helm, starts under Barcola resisting the strongest gusts. Maxi Jena and Ewol Way of Life are right behind it, with the latter being forced to chase because of an improper hoisting of the gennaker. Woodpecker Cube Generali THSN sails close by. Some boats in the smaller categories have their moments of glory resisting the gusts of wind while surfing, in a Barcolana that will be one to remember.
A few minutes after the start, just as Arca is very close to Deep Blue, which is leading the regatta, the attachment of Arca’s headsail, that was allowing the overtaking, breaks. This is followed by frenetic moments: Furio Benussi’s crew are able to manage the situation but decide to abandon the sail at sea to adjust the trim, while Deep Blue continues its course towards the first buoy with surgical precision. Arca’s sail was retrieved by a support vessel, and this gave rise to a protest by Way of Life that will probably be discussed tomorrow by the international board. “As sailors and sports professionals, it is clear that the ISAF regulations have been broken”, wrote the Way of Life team in a note later in the afternoon, referring to the fact that the sail was left to the support vessel to recover instead of being retreived by the team.
However, the race is still open. Arca is the second to pass the first buoy, 140 metres behind Deep Blue, followed by Portopiccolo Prosecco Doc and Maxi Jena. It tries to make up ground in every possible way, but Wendy Schmidt remains in the best position in this duel at close quarters – almost a match race in a fleet race involving 1600 boats. Schmidt is able to keep the upper hand over Furio Benussi, who takes advantage of every gust of wind, trying to luff and bear away in order to find a way to overtake. The wind increases more and more on the side between Miramare and Trieste, with gusts reaching 28 knots. Benussi has to reef the mainsail to manage the gusts as best as possible, while Deep Blue confronts each gust with determination. The moment when the American team skippered by a woman crosses the finish line will go down in the history of the Barcolana, with Trieste warmly celebrating the first female skipper to win the race.
It has been an epic regatta for many crews, which have performed incredible feats in fighting against the gusting Bora in this edition. You will find the provisional classifications, both overall and by category, on the Barcolana website.