Paolo Cian, the match-race king with the “vice” of the America’s Cup


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Paolo Cian was born in Naples on November 23, 1966. An architect with a bachelor’s degree, he took up sailing at a very young age and is one of the best match race helmsmen in Italy
. He is an athlete with the Yellow Flames, and the competitive achievement he remembers most proudly is his bronze medal at the 1998 Soling World Championship, which earned him the title of 1999 Sailor of the Year. His passions include spearfishing and skiing, but when he can he goes sailing, strictly cruising. He was helmsman of Mascalzone Latino at the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2003 and of Shosholoza, the first African boat in America’s Cup history, in 2007. His recent successes include victories aboard Giuseppe Puttini’s Swan 65 Shirlaf.

Excerpted from The Journal of Sailing, March 1999. “There is no doubt about it: the most important result achieved by Paolo Cian, born in Naples on Nov. 23, 1966, in ’98 was third place at the Soling Worlds held on Lake Michigan in the United States. However, the Guardia di Finanza helmsman, who also won with the Soling at the pre-Olympic week in Genoa, the Mediterranean Championship and the Italian Match Race of the class, has impressed with the extraordinary completeness of his preparation, achieving success throughout the year and in the most diverse specialties. In fact, he has won: the Rimini-Corfù-Rimini and the Barcolana at the helm of the 55′ Riviera di Rimini, the IMS Minialtura tricolor on the ILC 25 Go Fast Siad and the Rothmans Champions Cup of match racing.”

Excerpted from Il Giornale della Vela, March 1999. “He certainly did not regret, Paolo Cian, stuffing himself with antibiotics in order to be present in Milan at the 1998 Sailor of the Year award ceremony, organized for the eighth year by Il Giornale della Vela. In fact, the jury (composed of FIV viéepresident Gianfranco Busatti, Giornale della Vela editor Mario Oriani, Insalco CEO Fabrizio De Carli, award secretary Alberto Acciari, CONI’s Raffaele Pagnozzi, and FIV board member Gianni Paulucci replacing an injured Gaibisso) decided to award him the prestigious Timone d’Oro, preferring him over the other four pretenders: Lorenzo Bressani, Mattia Pressich, Andrea Scarabelli and Vasco Vascotto.

The helmsman of the Yellow Flames is the 1999 Sailor of the Year: “Winning the Golden Helm means that those in the industry have noticed the good quality of my work,” said a satisfied Paolo Cian, who, inviting Pierluigi Fornelli and Ferdinando Colaninno (his Soling teammates) to the awards stage, implied that it is for his achievements in this class (third at the world championship) that he considers himself rewarded. The jury, however, voted him a winner, deeming him a complete helmsman also for his successes at the Rimini-Corfù-Rimini and Barcolana with Riviera di Rimini, the Italian IMS Minialtura and the Rothmans Champions Cup match race: “The luck in 1998 was that I had Pierluigi Fornelli and Ferdinando Colaninno with me on all boats. We’ve only been together for a year, but we come from important experiences: Fornelli won an Italian Soling title at the helm; Colaninno is the most contested Star bowman in Italy. Enzo Di Capua, our Commander, has been good at putting us together.” Now, Paolo Cian’s goal is the Sydney Games: “We need to grow in match racing, a discipline that requires special preparation. That is why it was necrssary to close the ’99 selections. Knowing to participate in the Olympics in June 2000 could be late and it would be a shame.”




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