Farewell to Ernesto Gismondi, the man who loved to rip spi

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ernesto gismondiThe Edimetra, his great passion, are boats famous throughout the Mediterranean, as beautiful and efficient as his Artemide lamps.

Gone at 89 is Ernesto Gismondi, a great sailor and pure yachtsman as well as an enlightened entrepreneur. He had founded in the 1960s one of the excellences of Made in Italy, Artemide, the multinational pocket lamp company that brought signature design to lighting.

His seven Edimetra have participated in hundreds of regattas in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Some important ones he even won, such as the Giraglia and the Three Gulfs. And every summer, cruising in the same boat he used to race. Gismondi has traveled the length and breadth of the Mediterranean on vacation with family and friends.

Ernesto Gismondi, sailor in soul not by performance

Gismondi went sailing for passion, not for show or hunger for victories. He was never dazzled by the desire to spend mountains of money to become a successful shipowner. He was not part of those shipowners who do nothing on board, carried by professional sailors.

He truly loved sailing and going to sea. He liked being at the helm, dressed like an ordinary sailor. The only quirk as the creative man he was, a red bandana so as not to burn his “bald spot.” His latest Edimetra, the seventh, is a wonderful 65-foot (20-meter) yacht designed by German Frers and built in New Zealand by Cookson, purchased by Riccardo Bonadeo, owner of the famous Rrrose Selavy.

Ernesto Gismondi, born in San Remo in 1931, called himself the self-taught sailor par excellence. He recounted of his beginnings in drifting: “I remember one regatta in Genoa: everyone was already on the water, I arrived late, pulled the hull off the trolley, and took off. In the opposite direction from the fleet, because I didn’t know how to interpret the race committee signals.”

The first Edimetra was a slow Dufour 35, then switched to a Grand Soleil and went on to an X Yachts.

And then the blue Edimetra VII, with that beautiful white “e.” that stood out huge at the stern, a little masterpiece of design, as were her lamps. Case in point: the legendary Tizio table lamp from 1972, on desks halfway around the world.

What’s the taste if you don’t break anything in the regatta

Gismondi’s last recollection, recorded in an interview with La Stampa, makes it clear what a sailor he was: “I still have the images of the last Giraglia Rolex in my eyes: we passed the island, the wind came up from the east, we caught it in the stern and Edimetra started to fly…. 25-26 knots…Some people are careful not to ruin the sails. For me it is the opposite. If you don’t force the spinnaker, what’s the point of putting it up? It’s a delight to come back to port and say you ripped the spi, you broke the tangon… At that Giraglia we were on the podium. The fun is getting to Genoa, to the dock, and waiting for those behind you to slap them around. This is the true essence of the regatta.”

And about going to sea: “The sea? He is in charge. You want to get out, but that gentleman there tells you to stay down … I have learned to respect it.”

Goodbye Ernesto.


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