Bona and Beccaria, the Coppi and Bartali of sailing return to compete for the Defi Atlantique


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Bona and Beccaria party on the docks at Point a Pitre after Route du Rhum 2022.

It was them again, Ambrogio Beccaria and Alberto Bona, the Coppi and Bartali of modern sailing, who took Italy to the Ocean on Class 40s. This time the theater of the challenge will be the Defi Atlantique, the return Atlantic crossing after the Route du Rhum, crewed this time, on the Guadeloupe-Horta-La Rochelle route for a total of 3500 miles divided between 2200 in the first leg and 1300 in the second .

Defi Atlantique. Beccaria and Bona in crew

Shot Nevis AllaGrande Pirelli's Ambrogio Beccaria begins to press on Alberto Bona's IBSA © RORC/Tim Wright
Allagrande Pirelli

There are 13 Class 40s on the starting line, and although many class bigwigs are missing, the regatta promises to be exciting. On addition to the two Italians, there will also be Axel Tréhin (“Project Rescue Ocean”), winner of the Normandy Channel Race 2021; Ian Lipinski (“Crédit Mutuel”), winner of, among others, the Transat Jacques Vabre in 2019 and holder of the 24-hour speed record aboard a Class40 (achieved in crew with Beccaria); Brian Thompson (“Tquila”), winner of the Volvo Ocean Race in 2006 aboard “ABN AMRO One.”

In 2019, the podium in the first edition was taken by Aymeric Chappellier on “Aïna Enfance et avenir” with a time of 15 days and 3 hours.

On board with Ambrogio Beccaria will be Alberto Riva and Gianluca Guelfi, the latter being one of the two designers, along with Fabio D’Angeli, of Ambrogio’s Class 40, Allagrande Pirelli.

IBSA by Alberto Bona © RORC/Tim Wright
IBSA by Alberto Bona © RORC/Tim Wright

Crewing with Alberto Bona will again be Spaniard Pablo Santurde del Arco, and coming aboard will be Pietro Luciani, vice president of Class40 and runner-up at the 2019 Défi Atlantique with Catherine Pourre aboard the Class40 Eärendil.

It will be the test that will open the Class 40 season, which promises to be intense and will culminate next November with the Transat Jacques Vabre, the transatlantic doubles race. In between will be the CIC Normandy Channel, Les Sables-Horta and the Fastnet.

The Defi Atlantique thus represents a useful test for Allagrande Pirelli and IBSA, who are likely to find themselves battling close together as already seen at the RORC Caribbean 600, after Alberto Bona eventually prevailed.



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