Melanie Aalburg: offshore sailing is ready to be filled with women

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Melanie Aalburg

The German skipper Melanie Aalburg will be lined up at the start of the mythical RAN 630 that starts April 20 from Livorno and is the first leg of the Navy Pink Ribbon Tour 2023, an offshore racing circuit that supports women’s sailing.

We are now one week away from the start of the Navy Pink Ribbon Tour 2023, a prestigious offshore racing circuit organized by Sailing Series International and Defense Services. Also in this third year, the event will feature a schedule of five spectacular and exciting competitions that will see crews from all over the world compete. Particularly women, because supporting women’s sailing at high levels is one of the main purposes of this important event, which also boasts among its partnerships The Magenta Project, an international initiative created to empower women in the world of competitive sailing.

The first scheduled event of the Marina Militare Nastro Rosa Tour 2023 is the 2nd Mediterranean Female Offshore Championship, an offshore regatta in which 10 female crews compete on the route of the legendary RAN 630 between Livorno, Porto Cervo, and Capri on Bénéteau Figaro Class 3s. Organized by the Livorno Yacht Club and the Naval Academy, the regatta will start on April 20 and is part of the Italian Offshore Championship . A tough regatta and an excellent training ground for offshore sailing. We discuss this with one of the skippers who will be featured in this edition, German sailor Melanie Aalburg, who is looking forward to lining up at the start in doubles with her friend Helen Fisher.

  • Melanie Aalburg, tell us a little bit about yourself and your passion for offshore sailing and racing…

“I grew up in a sailing family based in Berlin, Germany. There was a sailing club right next door to my house that I started attending at a very early age, and to this day that club is still my reference point. My parents were into offshore sailing, and I remember as early as 11 years old they would take me out on boats to explore the islands in front of the coast but also further away, like Iceland. After classic dinghies, I did a lot of cruising and then turned to racing as a professional. I completed two transatlantics, the first in 2007 with an all-female crew and then in 2018, as skipper in an all-male team. I have also participated in other renowned offshore races such as the Fastnet and the Round Britain Race. Last year I took part in the Pink Ribbon Tour circuit for the first time, racing in both the World and European Championships.”

– Do you like the idea of racing in the Mediterranean Sea as well?

“I can’t wait! After having sailed the cold waves of the Baltic Sea and the North Atlantic, it is time for me to also explore this sea that is able to offer completely different and beautiful horizons and landscapes.”

– What is your role and experience in the Quadriga Sailing Team project?

“The name of this team is curious and and refers to the chariot drawn by 4 horses that is placed atop the fomaous Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. It was created to take part in the Helga Cup, the world’s largest regatta for women skippers. Right now I am also part of the WelcomeOnBoard International Sailing Team through which I learned about the Pink Ribbon Tour circuit. And I also want to thank Claudia Crespi very much for that.”

Melanie Aalburg

– How do you feel about participating in the next Ran 630 regatta? What do you think is the biggest challenge in this long journey?

“For me, the biggest challenge is facing this long journey in doubles with my colleague Helen Fisher. Surely it will be necessary to manage the watch shifts and especially the sleeping times as well as possible. Then of course there’s the steering of a high-performance, very fast boat, so you have to be able to maneuver it as best you can, especially in changes of direction.”

– Can you describe the feelings of racing on foil boats like the Figaro Class 3?

“It is very special and fascinating sailing. In my experience, the best sensations are in challenging conditions, with big seas and strong winds where you really feel the balance and perfect balance of the boat.”

– The Pink Ribbon Tour is a competition that supports all women who want to sail long distances and enjoy this environment at the highest level. What is your idea on this and can you say something to the neophytes?

“There would be a lot to say on this subject. For me, the most important experience as a woman was crossing the Atlantic in the role of skipper in an all-male group. I realized that even today many skills on board are reserved exclusively for males, but only until new opportunities open up for women as well. It is only fair that we women, too, be able to live these experiences fully and up front. To young women who want to take up sailing, I would like to quote a phrase from the great aviatrix Amelia Earhart, who in 1928 was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic: ‘If there is a ready-made escape route, use that. If there is not, build it yourself, for yourself for all the others who will follow you.’ Here, events like the Pink Ribbon Tour for me represent so many escape routes…”

Melanie Aalburg

NAVY PINK RIBBON TOUR 2023 AT A GLANCE

OBJECTIVE: The goal of the Marina Militare Nastro Rosa Tour 2023 is to promote offshore sailing in Italy and the presence of women in offshore racing. But it is also a container of institutional, social and environmental values.

ORGANIZERS: The Navy Pink Ribbon Tour 2023 is organized by Difesa Servizi S.p.A. in collaboration with Sailing Series International Sports & Events, and with the key support of ENIT – National Tourism Agency and the Italian Sailing Federation.

EVENTS & DATES:

  • 2nd Mediterranean Championship Female Offshore. Locations: Leghorn. Dates: April 22-May 1.
  • Dmo European Championship. Location: Liguria. Date: tbc.
  • Navy Pink Ribbon – Giro d’Italia. Genoa. Dates: June 30-July 29.
  • Dmo World Championship. Location: Taranto. Dates: October 2 – 8.
  • Navy Pink Ribbon Fast. Location: Venice. Dates: November 5 – 19.

BOAT: All events on the calendar are run aboard the Bénéteau Figaro Class 3, the first series one-design with foils, used for the Tour de France. A fast and super technological 10.85-meter boat signed by Van Peteghem, Lauriot, Prevost (VPLP) who have synthesized the best of the world’s dedicated offshore foil in this project.

REGISTRATIONS AND WEBSITE: The official website of the Navy Pink Ribbon Tour 2023 can be found at www.nastrorosatour.it where all information can be viewed, race notices downloaded and registrations finalized for all scheduled events.

MMNRT LOGOS.

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