Why would a sailing enthusiast come to Santa Margherita Ligure May 4-7, 2017, shouldering a trip that, for some, might even be a long one?
An enthusiast who lives in a city far from the sea is willing to travel and move to go boating on weekends. And he is probably happy to do so because when he arrives in port his mood changes, breathing different, clean air. In every sense of the word. Santa Margherita Ligure will breathe just that air. Air that smacks of passion for sailing, boats, sailing and everything around this world.
How does a boat show, while different from the usual, convey this atmosphere?
Those who think this is a trade show or social occasion have taken a wrong turn. Events like the VELAFestival are organized all over the world, Italy excluded. And they are very successful, unlike classic “fairs,” precisely because it is a time when enthusiasts, exhibitors, professionals, sailors, come together to speak the same language, that of passion. A four-day party in an ideal, real and not “plastic” harbor where we could chat,have a good meal, watch an exciting video, meet and talk with a famous sailor, visit a “marine” exhibition. Also, boarding dozens of boats of all types and sizes that fit every income, touching and trying on hundreds of accessories, exchanging opinions with those who work; in the sailing world, who tell you what and why they do it before they sell you something.
But why was Santa Margherita Ligure specifically chosen?
Because it has remained an intact fishing village in a natural harbor, set in an extraordinary gulf, the Tigullio and a stone’s throw from Portofino.
The advantage of this choice, also made the previous year, is that it is as magical as ports and towns on Mediterranean islands are, but on the mainland, easily accessible from all over Italy by road and rail networks and from all over the world thanks to the proximity of Genoa airport, a 30-minute drive from “Santa.”
So going into specifics, what do I find in this “sailing citadel”?
As soon as you have entered, you find yourself in front of a real marina, dozens of boats of the latest generation from the most important Italian and world shipyards. There is the best of world boating, from 2 to 30 meters, monohulls and multi. For every taste, with a few goodies, which cannot be found in any other boat show. “Cult” boats that have made sailing history. And if you want the boat used or for rent for next summer, you’ll be spoiled for choice. After visiting the boats, you will find lined up in plain sight about sixty booths where an enthusiast can find everything he or she dreams of concentrated in a single space, from the latest novelties to the essentials for a boat: accessories, equipment, sailmakers, insurance, leasing, etc.. Everything available not only to be admired, but also purchased.
But does all this still not correspond to a “fair”?
Have you ever seen at an Italian boat show a sailor engaging in a competition with a passerby to see who can tie knots better (and maybe teach them) or free outings for children? Has anyone ever seen a food court at a fair where, without charging an exorbitant amount, they eat something special, typical of Ligurian cuisine? The sailing citadel has a real big space reserved for events, relaxation, entertainment.
Will there also be small boats, dinghies, monotypes, kites, surfing?
There is a dedicated, reserved area in front of the beach with opportunities for sea demonstrations. Every day at the Beach Village, children up to 14 years of age can take a ride in special boats together with an instructor in complete safety. For example, you can visit and have great sailors explain how a micro boat like a Mini Transat can cross the Atlantic solo in breathtaking races at incredible speeds.
What if I want to come with my boat, enjoy a long weekend and maybe do some sailing?
There are discounted moorings and you can participate in the “Sailing Cup” open to boats of all sizes with a coastal route. You don’t need to have a tonnage certificate, the sea sailing party is open to everyone!
What about the “rest,” such as events and videos?
Every day from the time VELAFestival opens until the evening there is something for everyone. Let’s start with the video space. Over the course of the four days, the most significant sailing and sea videos will scroll on a large screen. A full day can be spent among mythical films, stories of great sailors, curious clips “à la paperissima,” and a live report of what happened at VelaFestival.
And in the “Event Space,” what happens?
Every day, several times a day it comes alive with meetings with famous people on topics that a fan cannot miss. For example: here come the great sailors of the year and sailing legends who tell the past, present and future of sailing. There are many other events taking place over the four days in the Sailing Citadel.
But what if you want to know something more specialized?
There is the meeting space where the most qualified operators explain their most innovative products, how they are made and why they are useful.