Franco Pivoli’s tips (and places) for the perfect cruise

pivoli-boatThe sea, and the boat, Franco Pivoli (pictured opposite with his wife Livia) has known them since childhood, sailing with his family on two cruising trimarans during the summer. In 1967 he was among the founders of the Caprera Sailing Center.

pivotsIn the first half of the 1970s he starred on the IOR circuit; in 1976 in Montreal, Canada, he participated in the Olympics on the Tornado (finishing seventh). After a few years in which he was involved with, among other things, the Small America’s Cup, he returned to work for the Italian Sailing Federation from ’84 to 1991, coaching the Tornado team and taking a first and second place at the World Championships in Cagliari in 1991. There was no shortage of oceanic trimarans either, such as Innovation Explorer with Loick Peyron or Franco “Ciccio” Manzoli’s Cotonella. Today he is an avid cruiser (owner of Ulysses, a 1992 Grand Soleil 45 by Frers, photo above) and reveals his tips for the perfect vacation as well as his nine “must-visit” places to visit by boat.

“When spending money on a cruising boat, have an eye for equipment. Everyone gets caught up in electronic instrumentation and maybe saves money for a winch (side photo); better not to, because it will happen sooner or later that you will be at sea with a gust of wind and not be able to handle it because the winch is too small. The rollable gennakers made it easy to handle at the carriers: the first thing I did on Ulysses was to land the spinnaker. The battened mainsail is great, as are the lazy jacks. Never, ever take a furling mainsail in the mast: it must have its nice carriages, battens and boroses, always ready reefers. I gave myself the luxury of an electric winch to hoist it. Rolling is just fine. But maintenance is always the basis of everything. At the end of the cruise, the sheets should be washed with water and soflan and stored away. Sails need to be taken down, folded, and put away. And do it yourself. You also do the bilge cleaning; it’s not just for hygiene, but it allows you to understand what’s going on under the dunnages and understand the state of your boat.”

“Now that I keep the boat in Trapani, I can only enjoy the Egadi Archipelago. Cala Tonda in Favignana is absolutely marvelous: there is not a light around, just wonderful stars. In Corsica, Rondinara (side photo) in the south is magnificent, but the whole of the diton and the north coast are also splendid, with Cala Francese having a good sandy bottom and being protected from the Mistral. In Sardinia Porto Pollo, but in general the north of the island has been massacred. The Gulf of La Spezia reminds me of the mythical Brest, but in addition it has sun, warm water and wind. In the Adriatic, it is most pleasant and attractive to sail in the Venice Lagoon; the Tremiti and Gargano are magnificent places, but in summer they suffer a real invasion. In the high season, however, we are saved in Croatia, which has so many ridges that allow you to fully enjoy it.”



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