sabato 5 ottobre 2019

Club Nautico Versilia, the birthplace of historic sailing

Let us discover Club Nautico Versilia, which together with the Associazione Vele Storiche Viareggio is organising the 15th edition of the gathering-regatta Vele Storiche Viareggio, to take place from the 17th – 20th October 2019.  The collaboration between VSV - whose boats are moored within the fellowship and whose President is Gianni Fernandes - and the CNV which was founded in 1957 and is today chaired by Roberto Brunetti with Admiral Marco Brusco as his Vice-President, is renewed and consolidated year after year. Many of the most beautiful classic yachts in the Mediterranean and further afield are moored on the quays of CNV.

The club is in a strategic position in the heart of the town of Viareggio in Italy, the pearl of Versilia which has become over the years a renowned nautical centre used by the most beautiful megayachts and megasailers in the world. Its headquarters, founded in 1957 by Harry Bracci Torsi, look directly over an expanse of water containing around 70 boat moorings spread over three jetties. A synergic and unbroken collaboration with the Italian Navy, in particular with the Port Authorities which, in an adjacent area, have their operational headquarters and the moorings of the Coast Guard’s patrol boats. Club Nautico Versilia, one of the most important associations concerned with the promotion and spread of pleasure boating, today has more than 150 members. In 1962, at CNV, the unforgettable offshore competition Viareggio-Bastia-Viareggio was born, and here too, in 2005 the venture of the regatta of classic boats organised by the Associazione Vele Storiche Viareggio began, which in 2019 is in its 15th edition:  it has become the most important and popular end-of-season sailboat gathering reserved for the Ladies of the Sea.  From the 17th to the 20th October a fleet of more than 50 historic sailing boats, the oldest built at the beginning of the 20th century, will live again the golden age of yachting when aristocrats or wealthy business men commissioned boats to be built using precious woods, and then competed against each other with rules based on fair-play and gentlemen’s racing. CNV will as always offer their prestigious clubhouse, bar and restaurant, as well as the other structures necessary to receive crews and vehicles for assistance on the quay, and their contribution is vital for the perfect success of this important occasion.

Club Nautico Versilia has always had a close relationship with historic sailing boats, ever since the above-mentioned Viareggio-Bastia-Viareggio race which later became an offshore competition of worldwide fame. In 2006, in the space beside the Club, a celebration of the most famous motorboats from all over the world, called VBV Legend, was organised.  In the sixties the Trofeo Internazionale Emilio Benetti, limited to the Star Class, was born, in which great champions of this centenarian sailing dinghy took part, and in the same period the Vela d’Oro, a high sea regatta which involved the towns of Viareggio, Bastia and Livorno, also began; in the past famous people like Cino Ricci and Giorgio Falck have taken part.  These quays have seen historic sailing boats like the two-masted Royono of 1936, on which President J. F. Kennedy sailed with Marilyn Monroe, and all the most important boats of the Naval Academy, from Stella Polare to Artica II, from Capricia to Corsaro II, from Caroly to Chaplin. The story of the magnificent Bermudian Cutter, Zephyr, launched in England in 1929 by the boatyard Philip & Son of Dartmouth and designed by J. M. Soper & Son, is interesting. This boat, 20 metres long, was already registered at Club Nautico Versilia in 1966 and today, 90 years after her launch, her new owners continue to be members.  Ardi too (ex Kerkyra II) is a source of pride.  This boat, an 11-metre Bermudian sloop launched in 1968 by the German boatyard Abeking & Rasmussen and designed by the New York office Sparkman & Stephens, was commissioned by Marina Spaccarelli Bulgari, the well-known business woman from the luxury jewellery sector. Admiral Agostino Straulino, a hero of Italian sailing, competed in regattas on Ardi. In 2012 it was donated to Club Nautico Versilia by Countess Carol Minutoli Tegrimi according to the will of her husband Count Alessandro Minutoli Tegrimi who was for many years a prominent figure in CNV. Ardi has become the sail bearer of the club; she took part last season – under the guidance of the Board Member Fabio Conti -  in the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge sailing regattas in the category “Classic Yachts” where she did extremely well, thus increasing the image and prestige of CNV, and this year – under the member Luca Poli – she has just won the CSSN-ADSP Mariperman Trophy in the sea around La Spezia.

Over the course of the various editions of the Classic Yacht regattas the rooms in Club Nautico Versilia have hosted numerous initiatives, always open to everybody, linked to the promotion of maritime culture. Here there have been exhibitions of boat models (the exhibition will take place again this year), photographers (Marco Trainotti, Giovanni Nardini), paintings (Emanuela Tenti, Sandro Feruglio, Silvia Serafini) and maritime art (Giovanni Caputo, Andrea Maggiori). In 2017 an important competition of elegance for motorcars was held, with jurors such as Raffaello Napoleone, CEO of Pitti Immagine. Books written by well-known people from the nautical world (Piero Maria Gibellini, Davide Besana) have been presented as well as projects of new sailing adventures (the circumnavigation of the world by the sailor Patrick Phelipon).  The management of the Club has always given great support, starting with the “master of the house” Muzio Scacciati who, every October, as well as giving operational technical support,  takes care of the drinks parties and open-bar for all the 400 and more crew present in Viareggio.

Club Nautico Versilia can boast of organising two of the five legs that comprise the Artiglio Trophy, the regattas of historic sailing boats which take place every year between May and October in the high Tyrrhenian Sea. They are the Challenge Trophy “Ammiraglio G. Francese”, set up in 1996 in memory of Admiral Giuseppe Francese who was an important contributor to the birth of the Coastguards, and the fifth and last leg, which is in fact the Vele Storiche Viareggio gathering.  After the last day of the regattas the season’s winners are announced and awarded their prize in the Clubhouse and a new invitation for the forthcoming season is made.


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