Giancarlo Lodigiani: “This is how we will revive the IOR boats that made history.”


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Alassio, 1979. The Brava in its straps, its owner Pasquale Landolfi who is half underwater and looks bewildered at the photographer taking the scene: he is a young man from Como, a certain Carlo Borlenghi. The Brava is one of the icons of the IOR period. Mythical boats that newly appointed AIVE president Giancarlo Lodigiani wants to rediscover

Giancarlo Lodigiani, recent president of the AIVE, has clear ideas on how to revitalize the world of vintage and classic sails. We really like one of his programmatic goals, which is to revive the IORs, the protagonists of an unforgettable sailing season in the 1970s and early 1980s. How? Defining a new category: the “Classic IORs.”

We asked his sister Francesca, an experienced racer and journalist, to interview him for us and get his recipe for broadening the horizons of “vintage sails” (quotation marks are a must) and bringing young people closer to this wonderful-and sometimes forgotten-world. An interview that turns into a lesson in nautical culture…

Francesca Lodigiani interviews Giancarlo Lodigiani

Curious experience interviewing one’s brother. Moreover, 7 years younger. Similar in some ways, different in others. In common is a great passion: the sea experienced under sail. The ‘idea, which came to the editorial staff of the Sailing Newspaper. Francesca Lodigiani vs Giancarlo Lodigiani. Nice friends! Joking aside, it was all born in Cagliari in anticipation of the launch of Luna Rossa’s LEQ12, the prototype with the striking black, white and red optical livery. One of those moments when you chat and reminisce with director Luca Oriani. From there the talk about my brother, recently president of theAIVE – Associazione Italiana Vele d’Epoca, which with its Council, together with the CIM (Comité International de la Méditerranée, ed: its vice president is Italian, we told you about it here), wants to revive the IORs, the protagonists of an unforgettable sailing season for many.

giancarlo lodigiani IOR
Giancarlo Lodigiani. Photos by Paolo Amodei

Born in Milan to Genoese parents, 61 years old, Taurus zodiac sign, my brother Giancarlo (who depending on geological eras and latitudes is also known as Giampi, Gianca or Gianchi…..) has been married to Georgia for more than 30 years and has 2 daughters. Immediately after graduating in Economics and Business, earned with top marks and the added value of doing her thesis with Federico Caffè (a famous Italian economist), she spent a long time in London in the City where Irene and Giulia, often her crew, were born.

Giancarlo Lodigiani lives in Rome-he is CFO of a hotel group-butas soon as he can he goes to see how Voscià is doing, the beloved Sparkman & Stephens yawl launched by Sangermani in 1959, bought and restored in 2006 whose reunion is a beautiful play of fate and coincidence. But we will return to this in a future article. Now it is time to talk about his recipe for revitalizing the world of vintage sails.

– The balance of the first 10 months as AIVE president?

“Definitely very positive. The Aive is not a ‘one man band.’ The one man in charge does not work; instead, the united and motivated team wins. I can count on a proactive and collaborative Board of Directors-we are very united-and on the collaboration of a special person, Gigi Rolandi (son of Carlo Rolandi the historical president of the Italian Sailing Federation, ed.), the Secretary General, who gives me a great hand by making Aive work concretely.

Thanks to his wife Ariella Cattai, a great sailor from Monfalcone and computer expert, we also redid our website with Franco Pace’s magnificent photos, making it more functional and lively. Aive is the “shipowners’ union.” Our priority is to ensure that boat owners can enjoy their boats with satisfaction and having fun.

With Gigi we have been busy since the beginning of the year, first of all making the rounds of the sailing clubs that organize our regattas to strengthen relationships, and we have intensified relations with the IVF, after the pandemic it was necessary and appropriate. At the end of April, in agreement with YCI and FIV we renewed the CIM Council by including several Italian people both in the new Council and in the different committees: today Italy is present and well represented within the CIM.

We spoke with dozens of shipowners to hear and understand what to do to halt the decline in membership seen in recent years, particularly since the pandemic. We attended almost all of the rallies in the Tyrrhenian Sea and many of those in the Adriatic-it was a tour de force, but besides being fun, it was necessary to get an idea of the state of things.

Thanks to the YCI, which made a room available to us, we were able to bring together our historical archives, which were scattered in different places, and we put the library back inside the YCI library, naming it after the legendary general secretary of many years, Luigi Lang.

We made an agreement with the LNI, to bring young people closer to our world and to cooperate on issues of culture. We have made a deal with to facilitate contact between owners looking for crew and young sailors eager to embark on our beautiful boats. We identified some problems and especially solutions.

One of the solutions, after noticing how many vintage boats had disappeared from the race courses, was to Divide vintage boats into more homogeneous classes, for example, by separating the vintage boats born for racing, which are light and very fast like the NY 30 or 12-meter S.I., from the much heavier and slower boats born for cruising, which are less fast. If the number of entries is sufficient, dividing vintage boats into “cruisers” and “racers” will ensure races that will give more satisfaction to cruiser owners. We tried it in Imperia and Viareggio, and it works.

We are also working to make the categories and class division more homogeneous. Notwithstanding the ability of the CIM tonnage system to make it possible for different boats to be compared on handicap time, many owners have told us that they do not enjoy it at all if they see their opponent only at the start and then because of the very different performances, everyone does the race on their own.

Many complain that too many different performance boats are mixed in the classics category: the RORCs from the 50s and up to 65, with the RORCs post 65, and the IORs from 70 onward.

1965 is an important year-Dick Carter revolutionized the racing world with his historic Rabbit, and started the trend of designing boats by trying to “optimize” them so they would have more competitive ratings. In fact, before Carter, the designer designed the boat to be fast and safe, “seaworthy” as Olin Stephens put it. Then it would be staked out and its rating discovered.

With Carter we began to optimize boats according to the tonnage formula, looking for holes in the regulations and exploiting them as much as possible.

Today in the “classic” category we have quiet boats, racing boats optimized for the RORC, and since the late 1960s racing boats optimized for the IOR: Sciarrelli designed his first boat optimized for the IOR, Astarte II, launched in 1969. Lo and behold, these very different boats in terms of performance, shape and weight are all in the same category today, it does not seem the right thing to do, and the logical consequence has been that several owners, no longer having fun, have dropped out of rallies. This is not a good thing, and that is why we have been working to resolve this situation by trying to have more homogeneous categories and classes.

There are also many “grumblings” about the assignment of ratings, particularly regarding discretionary ratios. Therefore, we have created a Technical and Tonnage Committee and revised the way discretionary coefficients and ratings are assigned, precisely to provide a concrete response to the problems noted.”

Giancarlo Lodigiani- Programs and goals?

“To increase the number of members and people who are passionate about and appreciate our beautiful boats, especially young people. Coordinate the calendar of events to facilitate participation.

Dealing not only with regattas but also with culture, understood as the dissemination of information on the history and traditions of boating, with bulletins, emails to members, photo exhibitions, and publishing initiatives. We established the culture committee precisely to follow up on these aspects, which are not minor. Fortunately, among our members and associates there are people full of ideas and energy, some are even volcanic. With their ideas and help, I am sure we will accomplish good things.

Represent shipowners in dealing with the clubs, authorities and sponsors who organize rallies.

When an owner of our boats decides to participate in a rally or regatta, he or she must be highly motivated to decide to make the considerable effort, including financial, to prepare the boat, put together a crew, arrange for transfers, crew lodging, restaurants, galley, and whatever else is necessary to bring his or her boat to a rally.

What motivates an owner to do this? First, the race course with the right wind conditions. Then for the regattas to be well organized, and for shipowner friends to go there to have fun and good times with.

The gadgets offered by the sponsor, the gala dinner, and the glass of champagne at the awards ceremony may please, but they are definitely not what makes the owner decide which of the rallies to attend. Here, this is one of the roles of the Aive.”

– The IOR project: why, how and when.

“Reasoning about the dates that define whether a boat is vintage or historic, dates set now 40 years ago when the Aive was founded, we realized that they need to be updated, because what was modern 40 years ago has become historic to a young person today. We also became “historical” and with banked hair, who were children in the 1970s.

We are defining a new category: the “Classic IORs,” the boats of the 1970s and first part of the 1980s, those of the Ton Cups (Mini, Half, One and Two) and the Italian teams at the Admirals’ Cup and Sardinia Cup. I think of Mandrake, Brava to the many mythical hulls of that time.

Let’s think about one-offs and prototypes, even fiberglass ones because it’s time to break down this taboo, of course only for the “Classic IOR” category: epochs and classics will always be only those in wood or metal.

These IOR boats have made history. We think they should be rediscovered, that many would love to see them return to the race courses, and that a second life would be given to boats too often abandoned in boatyards, fiberglass boats that would otherwise create disposal problems. It would be nice to “extend” the life of these boats.

The 1970s/80s were glorious years for sailing in Italy. Azzurra’s magnificent adventure, the creations of the many architects, Italian and otherwise, who have made history starting with Azzurra’s “daddy” Andrea Vallicelli.

The IOR is in some ways a “character in search of an author”, in the sense that those nostalgic for those extraordinary times are many, and the boats, being made of fiberglass, even if they have been abandoned in the yard for years, can be refurbished much more quickly and at a lower cost than wooden boats.

Talking with friends Beppe Zaoli and Umberto Zocca of Montelupo who organized the IOR revival in San Remo, and reasoning about the Half Ton Cups in the Tyrrhenian Sea, I realized that the single regatta attracts, but it works up to a certain point, whereas if there were an IOR circuit the motivation to put back an IOR to do a series of regattas, and see old friends, today, precisely, with gray hair, would be much greater. As AIVE, a circuit with a large calendar of gatherings we already have. We talked to the circles that organize them and proposed adding virtually at no cost a category, the Classic IORs. All have enthusiastically joined in.

At this point the future Classic IOR circuit potentially already exists, it just needs to be made known so that owners can prepare boat, sails and crew for 2023 and that’s it.”

Francesca Lodigiani




1 thought on “Giancarlo Lodigiani: “This is how we will revive the IOR boats that made history.””

  1. alessandro masini

    Cara Francesca,
    Felice di leggerti sul GdV e soprattutto di leggere su quella che è stata la vela d’altura dei nostri tempi.
    Anche io come tuo fratello sono nato con lo IOR sui mitici Vinca e Vanessa (Carcano/Gallinari)).
    Volevo richiamare la tua attenzione sulla 151 miglia organizzata come sai da YCPA, YCLe YCRMP dove quest’anno per il terzo anno abbiamo inserito la classe “IOR Legend” da un’idea di Filippo Calandriello armatore dei vari Dida anche loro barche che hanno fatto la vela D’Altura in Italia. Sentiamoci che possiamo inserirla felicemente nei progetti AIVE. Un abbraccio Alessandro Masini

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