FORZA GAETANO! From Cala Gonone to the wild oceans


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All right, we will come to your house. As long as you don’t shatter our so-called with the usual Vendée Globe VHSs.“. This is how friends responded to the young Gaetano Mura, in the 1990s, when he invited them to his house overlooking the sea in Cala Gonone
(Nuoro), in that then still wild Sardinia. This is to make you understand that, as the Sardinian navigator, departing today for the circumnavigation of the globe aboard a Class 40 (“Solo Round The Globe Record” the name of the project), tells us, “the idea of traveling the world was always in me. Now that my children are grown and I’m 48, it’s the right time to put it into practice“.

Gaetano has always had a passion for the sea:As a child before going to school I would go out to sea in the fishermen’s boats to cast nets, and at the end of the tourist season I would go with friends to the Palmasera Residence to watch the small Alpa dinghies being hauled out to dry. ‘What I would give to sail on it!’ I would exclaim. ‘But you can’t sail on it, Gaetano,’ they would tell me. And I’d say, ‘Let me get on it, and see if I can’t sail it!’ I was stubborn and hungry for adventure. When I was 11 years old I used to ask permission to go to sleep on my father Salvatore’s old motor boat moored in the harbor. At night when I was sure I would not be seen, I would start the engine and cast off my moorings I would wander around inside the harbor, then back at the dock I would spread my sleeping bag on the bunk plank and fall asleep amidst the smell of oil and bilge“. Understand well that someone like that on the ground cannot and should not be there.

His career at sea began early when he embarked as a deckhand on fishing boats, then after military he continued as a commander on passenger transport, again in Cala Gonone:When I was 19 I had command of a boat with 200 passengers.” At the age of 20, Mura fell in love with a sailboat seized in a boatyard in Sardinia: “Going to see it I met a person who was preparing a boat for a round-the-world voyage, and who was to dispose of a dilapidated 23-meter vintage sailing ship, the Dovesesto. I did something crazy: I bought it together with two friends to start a charter business with them. Those were other times, and three young people could make an investment. However, I remember that by sewing together all the signed promissory notes we could have made the spinnaker!“. Mura would not be separated from the Dovesesto for 18 years, learning so much (and self-taught) about navigation. In the meantime he learned about the Ocean: in 1997 he took part in the ARC on a 60-footer, while in 2009 he was 24th in the Mini Transat, then came the Class 40 in 2012. In total, he has five ocean crossings to his credit (including two solo crossings): legendary was his last Transat Jacques Vabre, in which he dismasted and managed to pull up the mast together with partner/friend Sam Manuard (who designed his Class 40) in the middle of the Atlantic. He also sailed in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Gaetano has many miles behind him. Now it is ready.I realized this after my participation in the Route du Rhum was skipped because the sponsor backed out, in 2014. The time had come to dare. But not with the mindset of a racer. I’m a sailor, I needed a challenge that was in my wheelhouse.“. Together with Bert Mauri and Cantiere Gottardi of Olbia, he operates a total refit of the Class 40 (renamed Italia) to prepare it for the solo round-the-world voyage:We gutted the boat and then ultrasonically inspected it inch by inch, replaced rigging and halyards using textile, redesigned the deck plan, and made a new deckhouse with rigid sprayhood for ocean sailing. With North Sails we designed a Dyneema sail game, with two spi on furler, one on sock and one Code 0. We added a stay for the forestay and a furling foresail, reinforced the winches, installed a Spectra watermaker, an Eberspaecher heater, and all Garmin electronics. Together with Bert, we have, among other things, added two watertight bulkheads on board and a carbon bayonet respect rudder that can be connected to the autopilot“.

Fourteen months of work with water under the throat in terms of budget (the venture will take place under the auspices of Enit and the Region of Sardinia): “And that’s right. If I had the ‘ready meal’ I would have risked making some mistakes in preparation by taking everything for granted. The search for money has been a great training ground. In recent times I have been relieved of the task thanks to 1 Off, the company that was responsible for finding budget for the project. I now leave Cagliari with a clear conscience and a clear boat: and let’s see if, to make 21,600 miles, it will take me less time than Chinese Guo Chuan’s 137 days. But the important thing, for me, is to get there.“.

Eugene Ruocco



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