Andrea Mura is a simply a great Italian sailor: we awarded him in 2014 as Sailor of the Year for his victory at the 2013 Ostar, but his career is littered with ocean successes. It is a pity he was not able to take part in the 2016 Vendée Globe (after buying the boat he was forced to give up due to budget problems), but we are sure that being the good “Sardinian-testard” that he is, the Cagliari native will succeed in his goal.
WE HAD WRITTEN ABOUT HIM
Taken from The Journal of Sailing May 2014. Sardinians are said to be hard-headed. And it is thanks to tenacity that Andrea Mura was able to fulfill his dream as an ocean sailor capable of wetting the noses of the French and British in the most challenging transatlantic races. His line honors win at OSTAR 2013, which earned him the 2014 Sailor of the Year award, is just the latest addition to an Olympian sailing palmares. Born in Cagliari, Italy, on September 13, 1964, he has a long and prestigious sporting history: eight years on the FIV National Team, three Olympic campaigns, and one America’s Cup campaign as a mainsail trimmer on the Moro di Venezia. In 2007, he put the Open 50 Vento di Sardegna on the water, beginning his oceanic journey. In Mura’s sights, among others, were the Route de Rhum, won in 2010, the Twostar and the Québec-Saint Malo in 2012, as well as the aforementioned Ostar.
THE NUMBER ONE ENEMY FOR A SAILOR? IS NOT THE GALE, BUT THE GOD OF MONEY
Don’t expect Moitessier-style romantic sailor tales if you ask Andrea Mura about the most difficult moment in her sporting history. He will answer you like this, “The never-ending quest for budget. Over the years I have experienced dramatic moments where I have seen my economic security die. I was running out of legs, in total failure. Passion leads you to make choices that reason discourages, choices that I risked paying very dearly for. Once I started the Vento di Sardegna project, I had sponsorships in the pipeline so I covered the cost of buying the boat out of my own pocket, with the assurance that the money would come back, but there were those who did not live up to their commitments.
I ended up with eight months of economic autonomy, then I would lose everything I had. I would have gone back to live at my parents’ house, like a 15-year-old, I couldn’t even afford a bicycle“. But then, with great sacrifice, he recovered. “I say this to you who decide to take my path: believe in it, always believe in it. Spend every last penny to chase the dream. The big feat for me, every time, is to be able to get to the starting line, to put together people, a project, a team, where human relationships are the basis of everything. I don’t do ocean sailing because the doctor ordered me to, but because I believe in it. It might seem bad to dwell on economic issues, but this is the reality of the facts in Italy. A problem that all my colleagues have, but I may have gone a little further.”
THE SEA AND I SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE
Yes, okay, but sailing? “Navigating is a game, my language. The sea is my life. When I’m there alone, in the ocean, I can deal with squalls and breakdowns, I have no problems. My only fear is losing the regatta, should the mast fall on my head, or should I bump into a container. I am a pure racer, so I go to sea to win.” Like his legends, “Russell Coutts and Paul Cayard, who taught me so much when I was on the Moor of Venice.” Among ocean sailors Mura particularly likes Michel Desjoyeaux, because “he created a new way of boating.” His favorite sportsman (did you have any doubts?) is Gigi Riva, Cagliari’s historic flag.
LA ROUTE DU RHUM AND THE DREAM VENDÉE GLOBE
What if Italy could finally put together a team to participate in the Volvo Ocean Race? “I would like to be part of it,” the Sardinian sailor explains, “but only if it was a serious project, because the VOR is a regatta that has to be approached well. Again, I’m not the type to go to the ocean to make up the numbers.” In Mura’s mind is the Vendée Globe: “When I bought Vento di Sardegna, I already had in mind my future presence at the Vendée. We hope to find the budget to purchase an Imoca 60. But let it be ‘on the bubble’. I greatly appreciate Alessandro Di Benedetto, who participated in the regatta with great humility, but the way I am, I would not have jumped into that project without being sure of my competitiveness.” While waiting to find the funds for the solo round-the-world race (“it’s not the case to launch challenges, I’ll talk when I have something concrete in hand”), Mura is preparing for the 2014 Route du Rhum, “the only regatta I can participate in with my old but trusty Open 50. I hope to repeat the success of 2010: it’s a crazy media event, very well followed in France, second only in ‘share’ to the World Cup.”