On vacation with Max Sirena. Locations, tips, Luna Rossa skipper’s secrets for a perfect cruise

Max Mermaid HolidayLuna Rossa’s skipper as not have you ever seen him. Between America’s Cups, he loves to go cruising with his family and of the mainland does not wants to know. We asked to Max Sirena to tell us what a boating vacation means to him and to reveal tricks, places of the heart, tips for unforgettable sailing

When I finish with Luna Rossa, I will drop everything, buy a boat-a boat as I say-and go around the world.” The dream boat of Max Sirena, Team Director of Skipper of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team, the man who made us dream in the America’s Cup of flying monsters, “It does not have to be new or comfortable. But true. It has to be a boat that I can talk to. Like an old Van de Stadt, or a classic Swan“.

Because in the end, Max, born in Rimini in 1971, is an old-fashioned sailor. One who appreciates unhurried navigation. The anchor given in the roadstead. The solitude of some cove away from the crowds. A perfect and experienced cruiser, whom we asked for tips, tricks, places for an unforgettable boating vacation.

max siren
Max Sirena with partner Tatiana and children Lorenzo and Bianca

CONVICT WAS A CHARTER

Let’s start by saying that I, in the sea, have been going since childhood but to do regattas. Then, the real turning point, the one that made me fall in love with cruising, was in the summer of ’99, when I met my future wife Tatiana. We rented a boat together to sail a week in the Tuscan Archipelago: he tried to kill me twice (laughs, ed.), in a turn and maneuver at the helm! In boating you know, it’s either slaughter or swear eternal love.

We haven’t slaughtered each other, now we have two children, ages 7 and 13, and between America’s Cups, we just jump in the boat as soon as we can. Just think, before we left for Auckland for the last America’s Cup, we lived two months on board moored in Cagliari!“.

THE ONE, TRUE WAY TO EXPERIENCE THE BOAT

After the experience of ’99, “I had discovered a different way of experiencing the sea and a lifestyle that has no schedule, where you can do what you want, when you want. You wake up when you decide, take a dip in the water, entertain yourself with shipboard chores (which I really enjoy), fish, you choose how long to stay in one place.

Max Sirena was the owner, until 2017, of an Azuree 41 (12.50 x 3.94 m) from the Turkish shipyard (curious coincidence) Sirena Marine. “Too many commitments in the America’s Cup forced me to sell him.”

Cruising is the only way to experience sailing all-around: that’s also why I don’t like to spend the night in port, for me roadstead all my life. If I have to go ashore again, it’s like being in a hotel.” We ask Sirena if he has ever owned a boat: “I did, until 2017: an Azuree 41 (12.5 x 3.94 m: curious “homonymy,” it is from the Turkish shipyard Sirena Marine, ed.). Great boat, but I realized I couldn’t keep up with her as much as I wanted to because of “the America’s Cup” and had to sell her. If I need a boat for now I rent it“.

MAX SIREN’S HEART PLACES TO REACH BY BOAT

Where does Max Sirena go on a cruise? “I have been fortunate, with the work I do, to travel all over the world. But the most beautiful sea we have at home is undoubtedly the Mediterranean. It gives you an incredible variety of sights and landscapes: and Italy is the most beautiful place in the Mediterranean. I especially love the islands because, unlike the mainland, where weather conditions tend to repeat themselves throughout the year, they are buffeted by different winds, which makes them different in every corner“.

As a good adopted Cagliari native (Max moved to the Sardinian capital where Luna Rossa is based), Sirena is a lover of Sardinia: “From the middle down Sardinia is all beautiful. East coast, west coast, south coast. No matter where you sail: you will always encounter beautiful places. To the east is the Gulf of Orosei with its bays, such as Cala Luna, descending further south, toward Cagliari, Cala Marongiu, with its crystal waters.

“I really enjoy sailing from the center of Sardinia down. The beach of Tuerredda, which stretches between Capo Malfatano and Capo Spartivento,” in the territory of Teulada (southwest Sardinia), is splendid.

South of Arbatax, then, there are beautiful, almost moon-like beaches: the sea has a dark bottom and is full of stingrays, splendid animals. Also splendid is the lighthouse at Cape Bellavista at night. Also Villasimius, from Chia to Carloforte, Capo Malfatano with Tuerredda beach, Cala Zafferano, the dunes of Porto Pino, Iglesias. Amazing places to wake up in the morning in total silence (if you are lucky enough to go there before or after August)“.

“I also find the surroundings of Arbatax with their ‘lunar’ landscapes magnificent: if you have the chance, pass by the lighthouse of Capo Bellavista at night, it is a unique sight.”

Speaking of islands, Max really likes the Ponziane (Ponza, Palmarola, Zannone) and also theTuscan Archipelago (with a fondness for the Formiche di Grosseto), a place where he found the love of his life. But he, who was born on the Adriatic, is only telling us about the Tyrrhenian?

Max really loves the islands, “The three small islands of the Grosseto Ants are wild and beautiful to explore by boat.”

I when I go boating I look for the clear waters to dive into, the nature, the solitude. The Tyrrhenian Sea offers me more insights: but even in my neck of the woods there are breathtaking little-known places. I am referring, for example, to Vallugola Bay in Rimini. Going further south, Conero and Gargano are top destinations: we Italians always tend to go abroad to find what we have, in a better version, at home“.

And on his Adriatic? “Vallugola Bay in the Rimini area, or the beautiful beaches of the Conero (such as the Two Sisters) and the Gargano.”


THE RULES OF THE CRUISE

“SYRENIAN”

After the places of the heart, it is time for advice to those about to set sail on a cruise: “First, a premise. There are two types of cruise passengers. Those who experience the boat as a hotel, stopping every night in the harbor and using it only to move from one place to another. And the real ones, who experience all-around navigation. I am one of these, and I appeal, therefore, to those like me.“.

The first tip of the ‘cruise according to Max’ is Avoid stage scheduling in any way. Only in this way can you fully enjoy the places you sail; a schedule-which, by the way, is constantly subject to change because you don’t control the weather-is only likely to be a source of stress. You sail anchor only when you feel it is time to change places“.

“The true cruiser sails at night to amortize time and arrive at the predetermined destination at dawn to enjoy unique sights. I always do this, my children often offer to be my ‘second’ but they fall asleep in the cockpit, I wake them up when there is more to give.”

We come to the second advice: The real cruiser departs and sails at night, so that he can see the sights at dawn, away from the mess. I do this, sometimes my son acts as my second in the cockpit and always ends up falling asleep, I wake him up when there is anchor to be given in the roadstead (laughs, ed.)!”

Since Max likes to avoid ports, “a good watermaker is essential on board: you will always have drinking water and most importantly you will say goodbye to plastic bottles!”

Precisely because on a cruise I don’t want to know about ports, it is important to have the right equipment: the watermaker is an essential accessory so that we never run out of water and are forced to return to the marinas. Plus, thanks to the watermaker, I don’t need plastic bottles in the boat. No one needs water in plastic bottles, we are just lobotomized by marketing!“.

Aboard Max Sirena’s boats there is never a shortage of fishing gear: the big catch (like the 35-pound dolphinfish with which Lorenzo proudly poses) can always happen. “We ate raw, sashimi, tartare, fish steaks for days,” Max says. And “there’s nothing nicer than eating what you’ve caught yourself”-especially after the “hard work” you put into cleaning the fish!

Another ‘must-have’ aboard Max Sirena’s boat is thefishing gear: “I love very much to fish, both with a rod, in offshore and trolling, and in freediving. There is never a shortage of wetsuit, mask, fins, speargun and balloon on board: eating what you catch is one of the ways to experience the sea 100 percent“.

Unmissable for several years aboard Max Sirena’s boats, “the inflatable SUP. Aboard my boats it even replaces the tender. We use it to explore the roadsteads and go ashore.”

The other ways are well represented by what Max embarks on before he leaves: “Surfboard, windsurfing, inflatable sup. Precisely the latter is crucial because it allows me to explore roadsteads and coves: on board, it replaces the tender. A real convenience, I no longer have to have the engine attached to the pulpit and just drag the boat behind me while sailing, I don’t like that. I am a sailing purist, when I sail I set the sails well and make the boat run. Professional deformation“.

SMART TOOLBOX

Speaking of security, “the most important thing is, first of all, to know the boat in detail and to know how to interpret a problem in a timely manner. For example, the latest generation of boats rely heavily on electronics, but all it takes is for a fuse to blow or be mounted incorrectly to blow everything, and it is often not easy to see that the problem is there.

“Spare fuses should not be missing on board, as modern boats increasingly rely on electronics.”

I happened to need a fuse on a boat and didn’t have it available, I had to go ashore and borrow one from a Fiat Uno! Since then, there have always been a few fuses in my box ready for use. Together with a few selected multipurpose spare parts, the spare impeller, engine filter, four sea inlet plugs, a resin kit. I also bring with me many lines, of different diameters, and the kit to splice them. I once had to of replaced the motor belt with a Dyneema sock!“.

“I always carry a lot of lines of all diameters and materials in the boat, as well as a kit to splice them (photo 2) when needed. Just think, I once replaced the engine belt with a spliced Dyneema sock,” Max says.

BETTER TO EAT ON THE BOAT

We come to the kinds of comfort: “Before setting sail, I always board lots of fruits and vegetables, pasta, rice. And canned tuna, hoping to use as little as possible and catch tuna, octopus, skipjack, and so on: we once caught a Mahi-Mahi (a dolphinfish, scientific name Coryphaena Hyppurus, ed.) of 35 kilograms and we cooked it in all sauces: cooked, raw, in sashimi, tartare .

“My favorite recipe, learned from a sailor with whom I raced many times at Rimini-Corfu-Rimini, is a great classic: spaghetti with plain tuna and lemon,” says Max Sirena.

I then never miss a good bottle of Gin to sip at sunset and some wine. Since I go ashore as little as possible I don’t like restaurants very much, I prefer to cook on the boat: the recipe I love the most is spaghetti with tuna in white sauce with lemon, I learned it from a sailor who was on board with me in many Rimini-Corfu-Rimini“. We press him about restaurants: is it possible that Max Sirena does not have one in his heart? “I got it, I got it. The White Hedgehog on the beach at Cape Malfatano. But you have to book well in advance“.

MUSIC ON BOARD!

If any of you follow Max Sirena on Instagram, you may have noticed how on his profile images of Luna Rossa and racing are interspersed with performances by artists such as Paul Weller of The Jam, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Pearl Jam, Beatles, and Nirvana:

I like music so much, I listen from Patti Pravo to Led Zeppelin. And even in the boat it never fails: I like to pump it full blast while I’m sailing with 25 knots of air on the slack. I alternate between rock, grunge, jazz, classical music, singer-songwriters such as De André, Finardi, Venditti, and Jovanotti depending on the mood and style of sailing. My favorite band is Pearl Jam. Eddie Vedder is immense“.

Vitalogy, Pearl Jam’s landmark 1994 album: “On board I listen to all kinds of music, depending on the situation. From Patti Pravo to Led Zeppelin. But my favorites are definitely Pearl Jam, Eddie Veder is a legend.”

CRUISING WITH BERTELLI

We close by asking Max Sirena if he ever went on a cruise with his “boss” Patrizio Bertelli, the president of Luna Rossa and CEO of Prada: I was a guest aboard his boat. I got along better with him on the cruise than at work (laughs, ed.)!

Max on Bertelli “cruising”: “I was Patrizio Bertelli’s guest on a cruise and I must say that at sea Patrizio is another person, he relaxes, he doesn’t think about work, he lets himself go and shows the best of himself. You can really see that he is passionate, that he loves the boat and sailing.”

Joking aside, at sea Bertelli is a different person, relaxing, not thinking about work, letting himself go and showing his best. You can really see he loves the boat and sailing sailing. If it were up to him, the engine should be abolished. And how To blame him?“.

Eugene Ruocco

 


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