VELA Cup 2022, here are the 7 magnificent stage-winning boats

Vela Cup 2022 – “Cover” photo by Giovanni Mitolo

Five stages plus two special events, 400 boats of all types from dinghies to megayachts and more than 5,000 “sea lovers” involved, splendid prizes for (almost) all participants provided by the partners who decided to sail with us.

More than 50 pages in the print and digital magazines of the Journal of Sailing, 45 web articles, DEM and related social posts, 8,000 shares, nearly 700 thousand sea lovers reached.

VELA Cup 2022 – Goal to have fun

These are, very briefly, the numbers of the TAG Heuer VELA Cup 2022, which from May to September, around the Boot, from Liguria to Puglia, from Veneto to Sardinia, brought together enthusiasts with one goal. Having fun, on land and at sea.

sailing cup logo

The secret to the success of the circuit, which has been organized by the Journal of Sailing since 2014, is certainly the fun and celebration ashore.

VELA Cup – Everyone can participate and win

But there is more. Any boat can win. Just “get it right” with the right strategy, no matter whether you are aboard a small dinghy or a cruiser, a 60-footer or a sport boat. If you make the right choices at sea, the VELA Cup rewards you.

In fact, an overall overall winner on handicap time is elected for each leg using a secret formula, and the heterogeneity of winning boats, leg after leg, confirms this once again. The VELA Cup is that circuit of sailing in which everyone can participate and in which everyone can win.

We could have told you about the 2022 VELA Cup with a sterile list of data. But we prefer to tell you about it through the beautiful stories of the overall winning boats of each stage.


J/92S – 9.14 m – Sporty, fast and also comfortable!

TAG Heuer VELA Cup Chiavari
Where: Liguria
When: May 7/8
Participating boats: 61 on May 7, 55 on May 8
Overall winner: Pomella J (J/92S) by Nicola Vivanet

J/92S Pomella J
Nicola Vivanet’s J/92S Pomella J was the overall winner on handicap at the TAG Heuer VELA Cup in Chiavari. Photos by John Mitolo

The overall winner on corrected time of the first leg of the TAG Heuer VELA Cup 2022, which competed in Chiavari (based at the Marina di Chiavari – West Calata), in Liguria boats of all types and crews from all over the world, was a small, but “naughty” boat. Nicola Vivanet’s J/92S Pomella J .

But what kind of boat is it? The J/92S (9.14 x 3.05 m) is a 2005 design by Rod Johnstone as an “update” of the successful J/92 (also the brainchild of Johnstone, 180 hulls launched between 1992 and 2003). Starting from the 92 platform, the boat has been optimized in terms of cockpit design, deck, keel, rudder blade and sail plan (with zero-overlap jib).

The bowsprit makes it easy to maneuver the gennaker, and at the carriers, fun and glides are assured. Not least because a generous sail plan (46.52 sq m upwind) is matched by a light displacement (2,545 kg). But beware, the J/92 is not a pure racing boat. Below decks it has four berths (two side berths in the saloon, double berths in the bow) toilet, and galley in the saloon: everything you need for a cruise (fast, mind you), as a family.

Grand Soleil 341 – 10 m – Vismara’s masterpiece

TAG Heuer VELA Cup Brindisi
Where: Apulia
When: June 4
Participating boats: 43
Overall winner: 2Alfa2 (Grand Soleil 341) by Giuseppe Cazzato

Grand Soleil 34.1 2Alfa2
The Grand Soleil 34.1 2Alfa2 winner of the TAG Heuer VELA Cup in Brindisi. Photos by Giuseppe Lanotte

The second leg of the TAG Heuer VELA Cup circuit, for the first time in Brindisi waters (with the boats hosted at the Marina di Brindisi), saw Giuseppe Cazzato’s Grand Soleil 34.1 2Alfa2 triumph overall, according to our secret compensated time formula.

After the first Grand Soleil in history, Finot’s 1973 GS 34 and Alain Jezequel’s 343 (1984), Cantiere del Pardo’s return to the 10-meter class in 1999 was entrusted to Alessandro Vismara with the Grand Soleil 34.1 (10.00 x 3.27 m). While Patrick Roseo took care of the interior, Vismara was asked for a hull that could guarantee performance in racing (then IMS 3) but also comfort in cruising and space below deck.

Vismara, building on the experience of the 40-foot IMS Pistrice and Querida and many optimizations on racing and cruising boats, found the “square” by designing a hull with rounded lines and a waterline length (8.87 m) for the time close to the overall length. Two versions are available for both keel (1.60 or 1.80 m) and sail area (55 or 65 sq m).

The boat, which remained in production until 2005, was successful, and many models were multiple winners on race courses: 2Alfa2 is one of them.

When cruising, comfort is assured: the sail plan is balanced and handling is easy, especially at the carriers. Below deck, the GS 34.1 is comfortable: two double cabins below deck (forward and aft), L-shaped galley, chart corner, bathroom, large galley saloon. The weight is also low: 4,200 kilograms. One of the secrets of the lightness of the GS34.1 is the symmetrical division of the interior, which allows furniture and bulkheads to be made structural.

Melges 24 – 7.32 m – “Derivone” fun.

TAG Heuer VELA Cup Venice / Round the Lido Race
Where: Veneto
When: July 23
Participating boats: 70
Overall winner: Furia Buia (Melges 24) by Jacopo Longo

Vela Cup 2022 Melges 24
Jacopo Longo’s Melges 24 Furia Buia won the TAG Heuer VELA Cup Venice overall. Photos by Simon Palfrader

The third leg of the TAG Heuer VELA Cup, for the first time together with the Venice Sailing Company‘s Round the Lido Race, was on a spectacular course in the Lagoon with the Serenissima as a backdrop. Among the 70 participating boats, Jacopo Longo’s small and very fast Melges 24 Furia Buia came out on top overall.

Even today, many One Design specialists call it the best monotype produced by Melges, and the good numbers on the race courses confirm that the Melges 24 story is far from over. Long 7.32 m and 2.50 wide, born from the pencil of Reichel & Pugh in 1993, is capable of providing the owner with breathtaking thrills. Stiff monotyping, relatively low costs and the excellent work done by the class in the past meant that all those who, dissatisfied with time-compensated racing, wished to try their hand at a level playing field converged on Melges.

The construction is sophisticated, sandwiching fiberglass with carbon reinforcements, a material also used for the mast and bowsprit. Impressive speed under asymmetrical spi at the masthead that makes the Melges glide like a drift. There is not even a winch on board: winches are replaced by stockers and ratchet blocks. The interior is makeshift; the cockpit is huge for the size of the boat.

Vela Cup 2022- RS 21 – 6.67 m – Sporty and “eco”

TAG Heuer VELA Cup Cala dei Sardi – Costa Smeralda/Porto Rotondo
Where: Sardinia
When: August 27/28
Participating boats: 45
Overall winner: Nox Oceans (RS21) by Pier Andrea Nocella

Pier Andrea Nocella’s RS 21 Nox Oceani won the overall TAG Heuer VELA Cup in Cala dei Sardi. Photos by Simon Palfrader

The fourth leg of the TAG Heuer VELA Cup, the one at the Cala dei Sardi Marina, was also a first. And it was a success. Taking overall victory on corrected time, beating a diverse fleet of much larger boats, was Pier Andrea Nocella’s tiny RS21 Nox Oceani.

Surprise? Not so much. TheRS21 One Design (6.67 x 2.20 m) is a fast and fun boat equipped with a lifting keel, complete with a retractable electric motor, Mylar mainsail, and carbon mast. Today in Italy, the RS 21 class enjoys great vitality with a full calendar of events and regattas.

Let’s list some of its clever solutions: the tiller of the rudder is short and low to allow the helmsman to override it on a gybe; thehe stern locker hatch creates a support surface for the helmsman in carrying gaits. Its height improves the volume of the interior space; lhe single suspension is centrally located so that the entire armed boat can be lifted quickly and safely. The recessed bow hatch allows the bowsprit to fully retract. It is embedded in the deck and allows water drainage on both sides.

Also: the along the bowsprit, to increase the gennaker’s exposure to the wind and get more space between the clew and the jib forestay to make it easier to pass the gennaker on a gybe. The candlesticks are removable. A solution that allows boats to be stacked for transport if necessary: as many as six hulls tucked inside each other can fit in a container! Great idea to reduce possible transportation costs in view of regattas.

Another tidbit: the mainsail circuit ends with a double turret to allow the adjustment of the mainsail for both the helmsman and the crew. A real convenience in, for example, strong winds or when there is a need to quickly caulk the mainsail at buoy turns.

Finally, the keel has a wide profile to improve lift at low speeds, and is equipped with a seaweed cutter that can be operated from the cockpit.

XP-50 – 15.57 m – You use it as you wish. But always convenient

TAG Heuer VELA Cup/Golfo dei Poeti Cup
Where: Liguria
When: September 17
Participating boats: 90
Overall cat- race winner (and first in real): WB Eight (XP 50) by Gianclaudio Bassetti

WB Eight, winner of the TAG Heuer VELA Cup / Golfo dei Poeti, is an XP-50 like the one pictured above.

The final leg of the TAG Heuer VELA Cup, in Spezia, was held as part of the new Golfo dei Poeti Cup, which brought as many as 90 boats of all types to Ligurian waters. Absolute protagonist of the VELA Cup, first in real time and also winner of the Regatta “Rating FIV” class, Gianclaudio Bassetti’sXP-50 WB Eight. A performance cruiser/racer with an X-Yachts nameplate, just like the X-41 WB-5 and XP44 WB-7, other Bassetti boats.

The XP-50 (15.57 x 4.43 m) is part of the performance range of the historic Danish shipyard. A “long-lived” boat, considering that Niels Jeppesen designed it in 2012 and it is still in production. It is built with the infusion technique and the exploitation of carbon fibers instead of classical steel, so the ratio of ballast to total weight increases, resulting in stability, even in relation to a very powerful sail plan (152.92 sq. m.). Much attention was paid to weight distribution, where the designers carefully chose the placement of the water and diesel tanks, under the dunnage to concentrate the weights down and amidships.

Performance agreed, but also comfort. X-yachts in the deck layout has tried to make all maneuvers easily accessible even with a small crew, under the banner of easy sailing. Precious features that characterize the XP series include the furling drum recessed below deck and the fixed carbon bowsprit on which the anchor nose is integrated.

Below deck, thanks in part to the large beam, there is ample space and no shortage of stowage options. This also makes the boat suitable for long sailing.

The interior of the Xp 50 is available in a three-cabin configuration with double shower and single shower options. The sliding chart table allows you to sit forward or aft, or slide the chart table aft to increase seating in the side berths. A stationary chart table is also available that includes additional storage drawers, both with an easy-access electronics control panel.

But it didn’t end there. Alongside the five “regular” stages of the TAG Heuer VELA Cup 2022, two VELA Cup “Specials” were held in conjunction with the Chiavari and Venice events. The ICE Cup, reserved for premium made-in-Italy boats from the ICE Yachts and CN Yachts 2000 shipyard, and the Elan Cup, dedicated to boats from the Slovenian shipyard Elan Yachts. Here are what were the winning boats in the two sailings.

Vela Cup 2022 – ICE 61 Itacentodue – 18.85 m – Stainless. Like its owner

VELA Cup Chiavari / 3rd ICE Cup
Where: Liguria
When: May 7/8
Participating boats: 12 on May 7, 12 on May 8
Overall winner: Itacentodue (ICE 61) by Adriano Calvini

Itacentodue Vela Cup 2022
Adriano Calvini’s ICE 61 Itacentodue, winner of the “fastest ICE” award at the ICE Cup / VELA Cup in Chiavari. Photos by John Mitolo

There were owners from all over the world for the third ICE Cup, organized by ICE Yachts as part of the TAG Heuer VELA Cup in Chiavari. They also came from Malta. To prevail over the fleet, winning the “fastest ICE” award, a grand “old” boat, among the most victorious in the Mediterranean.

Itacentodue, the ICE 61 of 84-year-old sailing veteran Adriano Calvini. Perhaps there are no boats that better embody the “cruiser-racer” essence: in its “cruising” version, it is a comfortable 19 meters with which to travel the world as a family. But then you hollow it out, take down the regular sails and mount carbon ones, and it transforms into an ultra-performing racing boat, capable of winning the Giraglia (in 2021 it triumphed in the approach race and in IRC class 0) and many, many other races, giving the dust to the latest generation Mini Maxis.

The boat was launched in 2009 to a design by Umberto Felci, built by the CN Yacht 2000 shipyard, (now ICE Yachts). What makes this boat an evergreen of racing? Its construction studied to the smallest detail. Because, as Felci recounts, regulations change but boats remain, so at that time the best possible 60-foot “hybrid” was made.

A full carbon hull laminated by infusion, the interior made of special lightened materials derived from aeronautics enabled weight containment. The other “goodies”? The high-modulus carbon shaft and lifting keel that allows variable draft, from 2.5 to 4 meters.

Elan 410 – 12.27 m – Successful!

VELA Cup Venice / Elan Cup
Where: Veneto
When: July 23
Participating boats: 9
Overall winner cruise: So Beautiful (Elan 410) by Stefano Traforini

Vela Cup 2022 Elan 410
Stefano Traforini’s Elan 410 So Beautiful, winner of the Elan Cup in the Cruising class. Photos by Simon Palfrader

Although the winners of the Elan Cup 2022, held at the VELA Cup Venice / Round the Lido Race were two (the other, in the race category, being the Elan 40 Bear Three by Stefano Tosato), we tell you about the Elan 410 So Beautiful by Stefano Traforini, author of a near-perfect regatta that also led him to win the VELA Cup in Class 5 Cruising.

TheElan 410 (12.27 x 3.91 m), in production from 2009 to 2012 and designed by Rob Humphreys, follows the design philosophy of successful boats such as the Elan 37 (referred to by many as the best cruising boat ever made!) or the 340.

So, a boat designed for those who love the thrill of pure sailing and want to have fun in “up” adjustments, a true wind-powered machine that makes you forget about using the engine with a puff of ‘

air but which, in 30 knots of wind and formed sea, passes the wave smoothly and powerfully. The deck plan meets the requirements of dual use cruise-racing, facilitating circulation even with large crews, ensuring the necessary efficiency in maneuvering. The mainsail sheet, split German style, runs hidden under the deck, and the genoa trolleys are adjustable directly from the cockpit.

Substantial storage volume is complemented by a dedicated compartment for a life raft. The interior layout includes three cabins and one or two bathrooms. Room sizes are good, except for the aft cabins where one suffers from the presence of the rudder wheel recess at the bottom of the bunks.

Ready for the VELA Cup 2023?

Did you see that? At the TAG Heuer VELA Cup you can win with any boat. Both a cruising cabin cruiser and a fast “sportboat,” both a “drift” and a premium 60-footer. This is the spirit that has contributed to the success of the VELA Cup.

And since “a winning team does not change.” Get your boat ready – no matter what size, shape, philosophy – for the VELA Cup 2023! Info and dates soon on

edited by Eugenio Ruocco




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