With a tribute to Tigullio reborn after the storm surge, the Tag Heuer VELAFestival began


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From left: Matteo Viacava (Mayor of Portofino), Antonello Piras (Commander of the Santa Margherita Coast Guard), Paolo Donadoni (Mayor of Santa Margherita), Carlo Bagnasco (Mayor of Rapallo)

The October 29 and 30, 2018, storm surge is an event that will go down in history, but the towns of Tigullio have shown that they can pick themselves up through teamwork and industriousness. This, and much more, was discussed at the opening event of Tag Heuer VELAFestival 2019, “This is how we saved the Tigullio,” with speeches by the mayor of Santa Paolo Donadoni, the mayors of Rapallo and Portofino, Carlo Bagnasco and Matteo Viacava, and the Commander of the Santa Margherita Harbor Master’s Office Antonello Piras.

Guests with Sailing Newspaper Editor-in-Chief Luca Oriani

The VELA Festival had promised to stay in Santa Margherita, in the Tigullio setting that has given birth in recent years to the most beautiful and crowded editions of the VELA Cup, and here, in fact, the great festival of sailing and boating has remained. The opening day was thus an opportunity to recount the stages of a reconstruction of the harbors and coastline that is still in progress, but close to complete resolution, and that has seen municipal governments engaged in the front row since the day after the storm surge.

The spirit of reaction that Santa Margherita Ligure and our fellow citizens have had since the first hours of the storm has accompanied us in our work and decisions. A team effort that restored normal conditions in a short time and will allow us to rebuild the port safer than before” recounted Paolo Donadoni.

He is echoed by Rapallo Mayor Carlo Bagnasco: “The October 29/30 sea storm hit the city of Rapallo hard, but we never gave up. Fortunately, having managed the emergency very carefully thanks to the timely issuance of the alert, and the continuous presence of emergency responders, there were no injuries. In a few days, the city departed again and at Easter was cleared of all wreckage as was promised“.

Portofino in difficulties has always reacted and will always react. Thanks to the committed companies, thanks to Metropolitan City and Region. Thank you to the Portofinians who decided to stay in the Borgo and helped revive it. We came back more beautiful than before” concluded Portofino Mayor Matteo Viacava.

Luca Oriani and Mauro Pelaschier

Also speaking on stage was Mauro Pelaschier, Azzurra’s historic helmsman in the America’s Cup, who is now involved with the One Ocean foundation, which, through the Charta Smeralda, promotes a code of ethics to share principles and actions to protect the seas drafted to raise awareness of plastic pollution. Common goals with the Sailing Newspaper’s Med Plastic initiative, carried out through the Eco Sailor Manifesto. The three mayors and the Coast Guard Commander signed the two manifestos to testify to the authorities’ commitment and sensitivity to environmental issues and the protection of the marine ecosystem.

Matteo Viacava signs the Sailor Echo Mnifesto.


Friday, May 3 is one of the highlights of the 2019 VELA Festival, the menu in fact puts on the plate the Oscars of Sailing, the awarding of the 2019 TAG Heuer Sailor of the Year and all the other prizes up for grabs (TAG Heuer Innovation, #dont’crackunderpressure, Performance, Young by B&G). The finalists are Sofia Tomasoni, Ambrogio Beccaria, Ocore boys Francesco Belvisi and Daniele Cevola, Carlo De Paoli, and Francesco and Giacomo Galimberti.

At this link all the biographies of the finalists and the names of the Most Voted, Med Plastic and Career Tribute award winners

At this link the complete agenda with day-by-day events

A complete list of exhibitors can be found at this link



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