Don’t miss Fogar Day: see you at the VELAFestival on May 10!

ambrose001Forty years ago the small Tuscan seaside village of Castiglione della Pescaia looked like the Olympic Stadium for the Roman derby. Tens of thousands of people gathered along the docks and harbor mouth to cheer Ambrogio Fogar and his little eleven-meter Surprise as a hero. Fogar was returning to the port from which he had departed 400 days earlier. That overflowing crowd was there for the tribute to the then 31-year-old who had first sailed solo around the world against the wind, from east to west. Wrongly, the sailing and media world forgot to remember that Fogar is the “daddy” of all Italian sailors, the first person who introduced sailing to Italians, before Azzurra, Moro di Venezia and Luna Rossa.

p0014The first who proved in Italy that even an ordinary man without much sailing experience can accomplish a feat. A former insurer in Milan, Fogar with an unending passion for adventure, had set off from the port of Castiglione della Pescaia on the morning of Nov. 1, 1973, aboard his “Surprise,” an 11-meter wooden boat that later became as famous as he was. There were no cell phones or satellite Gps, and to stay in touch by radio, one had to equip oneself with radio receivers and stand by the radio links of friends scattered around the world to get some news. The Giornale della Vela also wants to celebrate with Francesca, Ambrogio’s daughter, this which is much more than an anniversary for Italian sailing, passed over in silence. In that distant December 1974 when Fogar threw the line into the dock to rest his little Surprise that had brought him home safely, the modern figure of the sailor and the sailing enterprise was born in the popular imagination. It was the first time in our nation’s history that sailing came out of the narrow, elitist confines of a yacht club and the coven of enthusiasts and became a popular narrative.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Ambrogio Fogar’s great round-the-world feat against the wind, we give you an appointment in Santa Margherita Ligure at the TAG Heuer VELAFestival (May 7-10). To the great Italian explorer we decided to dedicate the day of Sunday, May 10, during which we will retrace his story with photos, videos and testimonies on the stage of the Events Area, together with his daughter Francesca and many friends who knew him. We are waiting for you!



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