Vele Storiche Viareggio, the 13 wonderful stories of the winning boats


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Vele Storiche Viareggio VSV in regatta_Foto Maccione
(photo by Paolo Maccione)

What a celebration the 17th edition of the Vele Storiche Viareggio Rally .

Vele Storiche Viareggio – The protagonists

Exhibitions, meetings, tours but above all 58 of the most beautiful vintage boats in the Mediterranean competed in two regattas (characterized by light wind) bringing the waters of Versilia back to the “golden age” of yachting. Let’s explore the “best of the best,” i.e., the boats that excelled in their categories. We tell you their beautiful stories, also with the help of information found by the Vele Storiche Viareggio Association.

The Great Return of the Pilgrim

The Vele Storiche Viareggio Trophy was awarded to the 1971 ketch Pilgrim, which arrived specially from Naples under the command of young Emmanuele Dalla Vecchia, son of the late Pippo former president of the Reale Yacht Club Canottieri Savoia, who thus keeps the family sailing tradition alive.

Vele Storiche Viareggio - Crivizza - pilgrim
Pippo Dalla Vecchia (second from left) aboard the Pilgrim in a shot from a few years ago

The boat is moored at the place of honor at RYCC Savoia, and its cockpit has hosted the greatest sailors in history. A real “private living room” of Pippo Dalla Vecchia.

historical sails viareggio
The Pilgrim  (photo by Paolo Maccione)

Pilgrim, 14 m long and 3.80 wide was commissioned by Vezio Amati, its first owner, and was built in 1971 by Carlini Shipyards of Rimini to a slightly modified design by Jack Laurent Giles, one of the “cult” designers of the 20th century. In 1994 Vezio Amati and his wife decided to pass the baton to Pippo Dalla Vecchia, the only person who could recognize both the emotional and nautical value of the boat.

Emmanuele Dalla Vecchia, Pippo’s youngest son, inherited his father’s passion for the sea and classic hulls. Born in ’98, he practically grew up on Pilgrim, falling more and more in love with it as time went on. Then the boat was put in dry dock and remained there for six years: in 2017 the boat embarked with Emmanuele on a restoration journey that ended de facto in 2021, returning it to its former glory.

Barbara, 99 and not feeling it

The 2022 Artiglio Trophy and the 2022 Tyrrhenian AIVE Cup in the “Epoch” category went to Barbara (18.00 x 3.30 m), designed by Gosport’s legendary Camper & Nicholson shipyard in 2023. The victory of the Florentine’s boat Roberto Olivieri, under the command of Vincenzo Zaccagni, was the result of the more than 1500 miles of sea covered by this yacht to participate in all the rallies in the central and northern Tyrrhenian Sea (Livorno, Le Grazie, Archipelago Sail Rally, Argentario Sailing Week, Naples, Gaeta, Imperia, Mariperman La Spezia, Viareggio), alternating aboard over 50 crew members. A prelude for the grand celebrations to be held in 2023, the centennial year.

Vele Storiche Viareggio Barbara (1923)_Photo Maccione
Photo Paolo Maccione

Barbara is design number 318 built by the Camper & Nicholsons shipyard in Gosport, England, in 1923. Built in teak planking and pitch pine on oak framework, she has had among her former owners Harold Francis Edwards, a well-known English yachtsman and successful racer; Baron Amaury de la Grange, who made her based in Cannes since 1928; and Count Robert-Jean de Vogue, general manager of Moët & Chandon and creator of the Dom Pérignon brand, who owned the boat until the 1960s.

In 1982 Barbara was used as a support hull for the Atlantic windsurfing crossing completed in 24 days. In 1998, philological restoration was initiated in Spain by Astilleros Mediterraneo and later transferred to Viareggio and entrusted to the care of the Francesco Del Carlo shipyard.

The philological restoration work involved renovation of the hull, deck plan, interior, plumbing, and sail rig.

Vele Storiche Viareggio, super Crivizza!

The Artiglio Trophy 2022 and the Tyrrhenian AIVE Cup 2022 in the “Classics” category, however, was the preserve of Crivizza (11.67 x 2.86 m) of Ariella Cattai and Gigi Rolandi. A III Class RORC (Royal Ocean Racing Club), 11.52 meters long, designed in 1958 by Englishman Alan H. Buchanan and launched in 1966 by the Apollonio shipyard in Trieste.

Vele Storiche Viareggio - Crivizza (1966) in regatta_Foto Maccione
Crivizza (photo Paolo Maccione)

In 2019, the boat circumnavigated Italy with Mauro Pelaschier to promote respect for the sea through the One Ocean Foundation’s Charta Smeralda.

In 2021 it was purchased by the current owner, AIVE Secretary General Luigi ‘Gigi’ Rolandi (son of former FIV president Carlo Rolandi), who in between lectures in Experimental High Energy Physics at the Normale University of Pisa, where he teaches, participates in vintage sail rallies.

Since her return to sailing she has literally proven to be a winning hull. Suffice it to say that in the course of participating in summer regattas, the boat has always finished on the podium. Crivizza will soon join the Del Carlo Shipyard for a series of works ahead of the upcoming season.

Rainbow, the boat “of the spider man”

Let’s move on to the winners in the individual categories. Class 0, winner of the Trophy named after Admiral Florindo Cerri, the C&C 61 Rainbow (18.71 x 4.60 m). In 1972 no one had ever seen a sandwich hull of this size. the Rainbow was commissioned by cartoonist Stan Lee, the daddy of Spider-Man and the whole “Marvel world.”

The boat was named Robon, a twin of conductor Von Karajan’s then better known Helisara IV. In 2000 it became the property of the Rocca family, who restored it to its former glory after a total refiitting of the facilities and parts of the deck equipment, which retained the original character and style.

Eight long months in the shipyard before taking to the sea again to participate in regattas and cruise all corners of the Mediterranean. The basic Rainbow winters in the Ligurian Sea spending a few months ashore each year in order to keep the hull more intact and dry.

Historical Sails Viareggio 2022 - Rainbow (1972)_Photo Maccione
The Rainbow at the Vele Storiche Viareggio (Paolo Maccione)

A hull that in 1972, when it was built by the C&C shipyards on Lake Ontario in Canada to a design by Cuthbertson&Cassian, marked an epic turning point in the boating world. Because the two Canadian designers were forward-thinking pioneers in the world of boat building, assembling fiberglass and balsa (balsa sandwich) to create lighter and stiffer hulls.

Margaret, the 8 m S.I. Who at nearly 100 years old still wins

In Class 1 at the Vele Storiche Viareggio the triumph is Margaret (14.31 x 2.35 m). Margaret is an 8 Meter International Tonnage designed in 1925 by Johan Anker and built at the Anker & Jensen shipyard in Oslo, Norway, for Sir Ernest Rooney, an 8 Meter owner who was already a silver medalist in this class at the Paris Olympics in 1924. Its sail number is K4. The hull is mahogany and oak with mahogany and steel frames. The mast and boom are made of spruce.

From 1933 to 1977 Margaret belonged to the Ballantines, whiskey producers who for three generations took the helm. Not for nothing is the only concession to spartan surroundings below deck for 12 whiskey glasses.

Then the boat the boat was sold to Mr. Milne in England and in 1977 moved to Denmark to Copenhagen remaining in consortium ownership until 1989. The new name was Conip and the sail number D40. In 1990 it passed into the hands of Mr. Mesnel, a vintage boat collector from Saint Malo. The boat resumed its original name and a sail number: F40. Mesnel made a conservative restoration to the boat, redoing the deck and adapting the rigging to the harsh Breton conditions. In 2003 she was taken by her current owners (Pistoiese owners Giulio and Alessandro Baldi from Pistoia) to Italy where she participated in the Argentario regattas and later kept at berth in Viareggio. In early 2004, at the Pezzini Shipyard in Viareggio, it underwent a philological restoration.

Oenone, the boat that was also Emilio Fede’s

In Class 2 won Oenone (15.00 x 3.20 m), the 1935 Bermudian cutter owned by VSV Commodore Enrico Zaccagni. Designed by Fredrick Shepherd and built for Mr. Wardrop by the Berthon Boat Co. shipyard on the Lymington, England, slipways. In the late 1930s he participated in several regattas in the Solent, then moved overseas, first to Argentina and then to New York.

historical sails viareggio
Oenone – Photo by Marco Trainotti

In 1963 the boat under the name Union was owned by Eng. Roberto Garolla of Bard great sportsman, sailor, rower and former president of the Circolo del Remo e della Vela in Naples. Union remains in the Garolla family until 1968. In 1968 Union belongs to Emilio Fede, at the time a RAI journalist, and its home port is Anzio. Since 1972, traces of this yacht have disappeared from Lloyds Registers. Since 1977 the boat has been in Sicily. The owner is Giuseppe Filippone, a passionate sailor. In the 1980s Union made a brief entry into the fledgling world of vintage boat racing and proved fast.

The hull has pitch pine planking and English white oak frames. The mast was built in 1989 by Sangermani Shipyards on Fredrick Shepherd’s original plans. The Honduran mahogany interior and bronze hardware are largely original. Beginning in the late 1980s, it began a gradual decline that led to its abandonment on a concrete yard in Palermo starting in ’98.

In 2005, Oenone entered the construction site at Del Carlo for its century restoration. Its elegant interior and furniture, original as well as the deckhouse and skylight, have been carefully restored. The now over-worn deck was replaced as well as parts of 20 ordinates. The floorboards are new and strong, and its planking is now solidly bolted with bronze hardware to the frames. Engine, rigs and rigging are new. Finally in the summer of 2013, Oenone took to the sea again after a meticulous and very long restoration.

Vele Storiche Viareggio – Alcyone, thoroughbred Sangermani

We come to Class 3, which was won by Eugenio Cividini’s Alcyone (11.24 x 2.45 m), a 1952 sloop that came to life in the legendary Sangermani shipyards in Lavagna, Genoa, based on a design from four years earlier. Alcyone also won among Vintage Yachts(CIM tonnage certificate rankings, maintained by AIVE, Associazione Italiana Vele d’Epoca).

Vele Storiche Viareggio
Photos by Paolo Maccione

From the same basic design came a number of nearly twin boats, with little difference in customization from one another. All stationed third class RORC, they were very marine, safe and fast. Fantasia was the first to be built in 1949, Jalea and Gioanna in 1950, and Lilli II in 1953.

Onfale – “As long as it’s fast.”

In class 4, Onfale won (who also triumphed. among the ‘Classic Yachts,’ winning the Challenge Trophy reserved for Sangermani hulls) by Nicola Bocci. The design, dated 1962 (12.00 x 2.88 m) is once again by Sangermani, to whom shipowner Lippo Riva approached with one request. “Do it any way you want, as long as it’s fast.”

historical sails viareggio
Onfale (photo by Paolo Maccione)

The result, as they write on the website of the Vele Storiche Viareggio Association, “she is portentous, a terribly modern hull for 1962, narrow, low on board, not very sleek, with the rudder separated from the keel fin. The aluminum mast and canvas deck instead of teak keep down the center of gravity and the weight, which is limited even by today’s standards; we are talking 5700 pounds. To facilitate maneuvering, the genoas were walled on a short bowsprit (now eliminated) that allowed them to be kept outside the stanchions. The rigging is classic sloop, with foresail staysail, the tiller rudder.”

The boat, “after winning the 1963 Giraglia in her category, and a large number of other races, has never known decline. All her timbers are original, as are the cabinet, compass and many other details. A true classic boat.”

Dragonera, “Signorile…waste of space.”

In Class 5,  the star was Dragonera (17.00 x 4.00 m), another Sangermani (with Marconi yawl rig) that saw the light of day in 1961.

The concept was that of greater comfort understood as space available in the interior volume unit. A 17-meter boat, 4 meters wide was designed for internal habitability for 4 people: a… stately waste of space. In the 1990s the new owner of Dragonera proceeded to a general structural inspection of the boat and a restoration in which every detail was enhanced and any changes that had occurred in the earlier period that were not in line with the original design were evaluated and possibly deleted for a return to complete originality. Under the careful guidance of the owner, an architect of high competence.

The boat has been lived in ever since as a sailing vacation home with personal items, designer details, tasteful furnishings, paintings, photos. A real boat for sailing while feeling at home.

Malteba, a boat ahead of its time

Malteba (11.16 x 3.42 m), winner in Class 6, is a C&C 37 from Cantieri Benello, designed in 1971 and launched eight years later.

Vele Storiche Viareggio

Also from the Association’s website, “It is a boat with an unusual line, the hull bottom lines are almost flat, anticipating the design of many racing boats of later years. The drift fin is steeply sloping toward the stern, a feature also repeated in the designs of larger boats by Canadian designers. The water lines to the stern close quickly, leaving a wide and very wide stern compared to the boats of the time, and again, anticipating much of future racing boat design choices.

Benello was an entrepreneur attentive to the evolution of hulls that in the 1960s/70s was taking place mainly in America, and he turned to Canadian designers Cuthberson & Cassian (whom we have already told you about for the Rainbow), at that time absolutely unknown to the nautical world in Italy. An innovative boat in many ways, in the early 1970s this sloop made headlines for its performance.

The C&C 37′ was perhaps the first fiberglass boat built in Italy, sandwiched with Airex interspace, with differentiated thicknesses and with study of fiber orientation to achieve greater stiffness for the same weight and significantly reduce weight.

In 2013 Malteba underwent a restoration in the Tomei Shipyard in Viareggio that mainly enhanced its interior making it more comfortable to sail.”

Grandpa Pius, Little Big Brigand

Moving on to Class 7, where the winner was Nonno Pio (7.50 x 2.50 m).“Nonno Pio” is a specimen of the famous Brigand 7.50, a small boat built by CIMA of Anagni (Frosinone), whose manager commissioned the design from Camper & Nicholsons in 1971.

The designs were signed by Raymond Wall, at that time Chief Designer of the C&N shipyard in Southampton. The drawings are still in the shipyard’s archives in Gosport and have been digitized, because of the historical importance of this small boat that had and still has much attention from enthusiasts.

It is a splendid boat for its size, very bolinier and very sweet on the wave. Maintained and restored by the Tomei Shipyard of Viareggio.”

Kaloni, the timeless appeal of the Grand Soleil 34

In Class 8, triumph for Kaloni (9.99 x 3.40 m): a 1979 Grand Soleil 34 by Finot. This boat was the first Grand Soleil model built by Cantiere del Pardo in 1973 to a design by Jean Marie Finot and enshrined its future and fortune. The Grand Soleil 34 was in production until 1983 and 290 examples were made.

Manuela V wins in the 5.50 m S.I.

Seven hulls of the 5.50 Meters International Tonnage class, a former Olympic class born in 1949, participated in the 17th Vele Storiche  Gathering and raced on a course dedicated to them.

Vele Storiche Viareggio Manuela V
Manuela V – Photo by Paolo Maccione

Due to the lack of wind, only one race could be run, won overall by Manuela V (1961 – YCRC) of Milan’s Guido Tommasi, reigning Italian champion, followed by Richard Leupold’s Whisper (1983 – CVMV) and Giangiacomo Stefanon’s Violetta IV (1957 – CVC). The top three in the ‘Classics’ ranking were Manuela V, Violetta IV and Twins X (1960 – AVEV). The other 5.50s present in Viareggio were Grifone (1963 – Navy), Twins IX Enterprise (1958 – Barone/Lombardi) and Rabicano (1967 – Larian Boat Museum).

Vele Storiche Viareggio – The rankings

Below are the top three finishers for each of the nine groupings into which the boats were divided:

VSV Class 0: 1st Rainbow – 2nd Chaplin – 3rd North Star

VSV Class 1: 1st Margaret – 2nd Patience – 3rd Kipawa (DNS)

Class VSV 2: 1st Oenone – 2nd Vistona – 3rd Arctic II

Class VSV 3: 1st Alcyone – 2nd Sula – 3rd Mä Vista

Class VSV 4: 1st Onfale – 2nd Midva – 3rd Crivizza

VSV Class 5: 1st Dragonera – 2nd Freya – 3rd Kalua

Class VSV 6: 1st Malteba – 2nd Mona Lisa – 3rd Millennium Falcon

Class VSV 7: 1st Grandfather – 2nd Scylla – 3rd Predator

Class VSV 8: 1st Kaloni – 2nd Good Girl – 3rd Marie Anne


AIVE Yachts Epoca ranking (9 entries in Viareggio): 1st Alcyone – 2nd Vistona – 3rd Oenone

AIVE Classical Yachts ranking (12 entries in Viareggio): 1st Onfale – 2nd Crivizza – 3rd Ojalà II

Artiglio Trophy 2022 “Epoch”: 1st Barbara – 2nd Alcyone – 3rd Margaret

Artiglio Trophy 2022 “Classics”: 1st Crivizza – 2nd Ojalà II – 3rd Onfale

AIVE Cup of the Tyrrhenian 2022 “Epoch”: 1st Barbara – 2nd Olympian – 3rd Alcyone

Tyrrhenian AIVE Cup 2022 “Classics”: 1st Crivizza – 2nd Ojalà II – 3rd Grifone

Vele Storiche Viareggio, not just regattas

Finally, to crown the event, organized by the Vele Storiche Viareggi Association in collaboration with the Versilia Sailing Club, three painting and photography exhibitions by artists Emanuela Tenti, Marco Trainotti and Davide Besana, a guided tour of the restorations underway at the Del Carlo Shipyard, which, after the pandemic, returned to host Saturday night’s big crews dinner at its headquarters in Darsena Italia.

Vele Storiche Viareggio
Photo Paolo Maccione



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