Alberto Bona: “Ready for Route du Rhum, balancing thinking and doing”

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Alberto Bona - Route du Rhum1
Alberto Bona, on the Class 40 IBSA, is one of the Italians who will tackle the legendary Route du Rhum

One of the great “epic” events of ocean sailing is staged on November 6. The Route du Rhum, 3,542 miles solo nonstop from Saint-Malo in Brittany to Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe.

Three Italians are competing on the Class 40 (the 12.19 x 4.49 m oceanic open class): there is Alberto Bona with the brand new IBSA-marked hull (we told you about his round bow here, instead here his latest interview with us), Ambrogio Beccaria on AllaGrande Pirelli(info here) and Andrea Fornaro on 171 Influence. The only “paisan” among the IMOCA 60s, however, is Giancarlo Pedote with Prysmian.

Alberto Bona arrived in Saint Malo and wrote for us his first impressions.


Alberto Bona: “Me in balance between thinking and doing.”

Here we go. The poor weather conditions expected over Brittany over the next few days kindly invited us to anticipate the transfer to Saint Malo, and now here we are, moored and sixteen days away from the departure of the Route du Rhum.

Of course it is not my first ocean crossing, but it is my first Route du Rhum, one of the races that stand in the Olympus of ocean crossings, and it is also my first solo with the Class40 IBSA.

I admit that the emotions are many, however, upon reflection I think it is also the first time when I stand on the starting line of a regatta feeling perfectly balanced between thinking and doing.

It seems to me that we have found the balance between these two things. From the beginning we were very clear in our minds what it meant to do this regatta with the experience we have behind us, with a beautiful boat like the one we were able to build, and with a solid and extremely supportive sponsor like IBSA. In this project there is actually no difference between saying and doing, even though there is indeed a sea, indeed an ocean, in the middle!

We have a newly launched boat on which we did the essentials. Usually when you go to the essentials, you are forced to make choices, to prioritize to simplify, and simplifying is so important in this sport.

Alberto Bona - Route du Rhum2

Because when you find yourself alone in the middle of the sea, everything can get complicated in an instant, so you have to try to keep things as simple as possible so you can eliminate some variables. From that point of view, I think we did a very good job, and that certainly makes me see the glass as half full.

In the half-empty part of the glass is the fact that in this class I am a rookie, everything is new to me. This will be the first time that I will be able to plot a course based on detailed weather information that I will receive directly on board and the precise position of the opponents.

The strategy is all in flux, the course I will take will of course depend on the weather conditions we will find – it is impossible to think of making firm predictions two weeks before departure, that would be fantasy weather! – but I am very curious to see how I will manage the descent to warmer latitudes to chase the trade winds. I mean, there’s going to be a lot of things that I’m going to do for the first time, so I’m going to have to think a little bit more, I’m going to have to get a little bit more tired than someone who’s going on their third or fourth crossing on a Class40, but I’m looking forward to it!

Alberto Bona*


*Who is Alberto Bona

Born in Turin in 1986, Alberto Bona while still an infant cruised across the Mediterranean on the family Camper & Nicholson. At the age of eight, he began dinghy training. In 2006 he built himself a 2.5-meter drift in his backyard and crossed the Tyrrhenian Sea alone, from Liguria to Corsica. Then one-design racing “between the buoys” and the first Atlantic crossing at the ARC.

Alberto Bona
Skipper Alberto Bona

At 27, he took part in his first Mini Transat (solo transatlantic on 6.50-meter boats), finishing fifth, one of Italy’s best results. In 2017 he switched to Class40s thanks to his friend Giovanni Soldini (who lent him his former boat), and he is together with the Milanese sailor on the 70-foot trimaran Maserati. He later cut his teeth aboard the Figaro Beneteau 3, the first production foil monohull. Now Bona is ready for IBSA’s Class40 where he is expected to attend the Route du Rhum in November, the first leg of the three-year project “Sailing into Future. Together” with IBSA. As soon as he can, he loves to fly on the small Waszp foil dinghies. He is a bearer of Circolo Vela Bellano (not coincidentally, the club’s sports director, Luca Bertacchi, is also the team leader of the Class 40 IBSA project).


The company that believes in sailing

For this challenge, Alberto Bona could find no better partner than IBSA (Institut Biochimique SA), a Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company founded in 1945 in Lugano. IBSA is now present with its products in more than 90 countries on 5 continents, has a consolidated turnover of 800 million francs and employs more than 2,000 people.

The team leader of the project IBSA Sailing into the future. Together is Giorgio Pisani Vice President of Southern Europe, a great sailing enthusiast. “This project is not only an ocean crossing but also an opportunity to tell IBSA’s values. Sailing is a sport but also a life experience and courage, and it also brings us as a company closer to the theme of social sustainability by supporting inclusive sailing initiatives,” Pisani reveals.

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