Ambrogio Le Roi: Beccaria wins Mini Transat and makes Italian sailing history

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Breschi Photos

When he won the Les Sables – Les Acores, starter of the Mini Transat, We troubled a comparison with cycling by calling it “Dantesque” (read HERE), quoting the July 10, 2014 front page of L’Equipe dedicated to Vincenzo Nibali, hero of that fifth stage of the Tour de France in hell, in the rain and mud on the Roubaix cobblestones.

Ambrose Beccaria’s first image from Martinique. Boat and skipper apparently in good shape, although he appears to have suffered a bowsprit problem a few days after departure

Today Ambrose Beccaria entered history, won the Mini Transat in the category Series (with the time in the second leg of 13 days, 1 hour, 58 minutes and 48 seconds), is the third non-French sailor in the history of the regatta to succeed and the first Italian, and this November 15, 2019 will be remembered as one of the glory days of our sailing. And so we are also pleased to disturb another quote from the world of cycling, this time even more historical and musical. “And the French respect us, that the balls are still spinning…Between the French getting pissed off, and the newspapers fluttering.” That’s how Paolo Conte sang in Bartali, imagining a postwar Italian fan waiting for “that sad Italian outing nose” to pop up from that corner. And that fan today is a bit of all of us Italian sailors, who have been waiting for years for such a prestigious victory by a homegrown sailor. We are reminded of that magical year 2000, when within a few months we celebrated winning the Louis Vuitton Cup with Luna Rossa and two Olympic medals (Devoti and Sensini). And who knows, maybe this victory will bode well for the near future. Perhaps, without taking anything away from the Italian athletes who have achieved important results in recent years, we have been waiting for almost 20 years for a similar satisfaction, and now it has come thanks to this boy from 1991.

943 SERIES / Ambrose BECCARIA

This guy we discovered in 2015 working in a shed in La Spezia. He had recovered a semi-destroyed Mini, the Pogo 2 with which Ian Lipinski had wrecked at the 2013 Transat. He put it back together with what at the time was just a friend and would become his partner, Vittoria Ripa di Meana.

Behind a great man there is always a great woman. The embrace on the Gran Canaria piers between Ambrose and Victoria before the start of the second stage. Breschi Photos

Four years ago he was a student; today he is a Naval Engineer, with several thousand miles of solo sailing behind him, and his name is clearly written in the Mini Transat palmares.

Ambrose Beccaria on the day of the launch of his first Mini 650 in 2015, the Pogo 2 renamed Alla Grande

Why did Ambrose win? And why did he do so by dealing one of the most resounding “beatings” in the history of ocean sailing to French specialists? He won because he probably always had the clear ideas. He did not want to participate, he wanted to compete and do it at the highest level. “I’m a competitive guy, I’m not satisfied” he told us in the first interview dedicated to him by our newspaper, the Journal of Sailing, which would later crown him 2018 Sailor of the Year.

A “backstage” image during the 2019 Sailor of the Year photo shoot by Martina Orsini. Giuffrè Photos

But it is one thing to say it in words, quite another to put these intentions into practice. Ambrose in those years set aside 90 percent of his skipper’s salary to invest in a good fast boat, such as the Pogo 2 with which he took part in the 2017 Mini Transat. Beccaria quickly realized that in order to be competitive it was necessary to go out and meet the best and imitate them. His trips to the Atlantic, to that magical place called Lorient and around which the best of world ocean sailing revolves, became more and more frequent. Increasingly long French stays, both to train and to participate in regattas with the best. Thanks also to the early sponsors who came alongside him, because Ambrose has the ability to have clear ideas and be credible, less dreams and more goals, and above all, he has the vision of a concrete way forward to achieve them. And then in the sea it is strong, because in the end the sponsors also follow you because you show that you are able to get results. And in his achievement there is perhaps also much of his being an Engineer. It is no coincidence that some of the most prominent ocean sailors are, for example, François Gabart, Armel Le Cleac’h (the last two Vendée Globe winners). Because talent is important, but if you add to that knowledge of physics, mathematics and mechanics, in sailing, in this type of sailing that is increasingly looking to the future, you have a leg up. In short, sailing at sea is essential, but studying is important.

Ambrose’s 943 Geomag gliding just after the start of the second leg of the Mini Transat. Photo Breschi.

And then nothing happens by chance. Ambrose started as the favorite for this 2019 Transat, he knew it and his opponents who respected and feared him knew it. Those French skippers who had been training with Beccaria for the past year knew how fast he was, how meticulous Bogi’s knowledge of his boat was, and the perfect level of “tuning,” of fine-tuning, to which he had arrived. They knew how meticulous and centered the study of Geomag’s sail program had been, developed with North Sails, which has been following it since its inception in 2015 (first with designer Giovanni Sanfelice in Italy then with the French specialists at North in Vannes).

But Starting as the favorite, and winning the first stage already, also means being able to withstand enormous pressure, which can crush you at times when you have to make important decisions under stress, at times when in Atlantic Bogi has “beaten hard” on Geomag, keeping impressive 24-hour mileage averages. And even in the last two days, just before the arrival in Martinique, Ambrose showed that he knew how to handle the pressure, when he realized that it was done and that he should not overdo it he perhaps lifted his foot off the accelerator slightly, well aware that sailing is a mechanical sport and his Geomag was now “tired” after an ocean crossing experienced at the “limit” under the whip of his jockey.

Then enjoy it Ambrose, really enjoy it. Victory will probably initially leave you with a small feeling of emptiness and bewilderment, like when you have been chasing something for a long time and when you get it you feel like you are losing that balance that has kept you on your feet over the years of ocean gliding. Everyone will ask, “what do you do now?” Like when you graduate and everyone is eager to know your future plans. Now it is “summer” for you Ambrose, it is time to have fun, time to rest, you have the luxury of being able to choose what to do and also the luxury of taking a break, reflecting and waiting to regain the right motivation. Congratulations Bogi, and thank you.

Mauro Giuffrè

BECCARIA STORY

1991: He was born in Milan, Italy, and from an early age his family “proposed” sailing to him as a leisure pursuit. Little Ambrose is curious but that world does not yet feel like his own.

2002-2006: Young Ambrose attends the Velamare Club in Sardinia. Curiosity about sailing grows and explodes into passion after a scuffle in Flying Junior with a friend.

2006-2010: Ambrose decided to seek boarding on offshore boats and participated in some of the classic races in the Tyrrhenian Sea, such as the Giraglia, Three Gulfs and Middle Sea Race.

2009-2013: With two friends he began the adventure in laser 4000 to seek those feelings of adrenaline and sport that offshore boats cannot give him. First victories are coming.

Pogo 2 renamed to the Great Ambeco

2013-2014: Ambrose gets into a Mini and love breaks out. In 2014, he bought the wreck of Ian Lipinski’s Pogo 2, salvaged it (with a trip of hope to Portugal) and refurbished it.

2016: International results are not long in coming, Ambrose is second at Les Sables – Horta – Les Sables and Italian Mini 650 champion for the second year in a row. Sailing Newspaper’s Sailor of the Year wins “TAG Heuer #don’tcrackunderpressure” award

The feat in Formula 18

2017: Paired with Bernardo Zin in an uninhabitable F18, he challenges Nico and Vittorio Malingri on the Portofino-Giraglia route, beating the two highest-rated opponents and inventors of the record.

2017 encore: Beccaria set off for his first solo Transat 650, sixth in the first leg, broke the bowsprit in the second and missed the podium but still completed the race.

The new adventure on Pogo 3 begins

2018: New boat, a Pogo 3, and new sponsor, Geomag. It’s raining victories in French regattas against Mini 650 specialists. Beccaria is now one of the most respected, and successful, Minists internationally. The goal is to win the 2019 Transat. The editorial staff of the Sailing Newspaper elects him Sailor of the Year.

2019: Confirmed top spot in the lead-up races to the Mini Transat and did not miss his appointment with history by becoming the third non-French skipper to win the legendary transatlantic.

 

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