Silvio Berlusconi and sailing. It was never love, only status


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silvio berlusconi and gianni agnelli
Silvio Berlusconi and Gianni Agnelli on the Extra Beat

It was never true love that between Silvio Berlusconi, who passed away today at age 86, and sailing. A great entrepreneur, four-time Prime Minister, born a petit-bourgeois with dreams of making it big, he was always considered a “parvenu” by the somewhat snobbish world of sailing. And he himself probably considered boats a real status symbol.

Silvio Berlusconi and the Lawyer.

Berlusconi’s myth-even sailing-was undoubtedly Gianni Agnelli.

It was not until the late 1980s that the entrepreneur was able to fulfill his dream of dating the Lawyer. Historic is the image of them aboard Extra Beat (Luca Cordero di Montezemolo was also on board), the 36-meter boat that Agnelli had built in aluminum by the German shipyard Abeking& Rassmussen to a design by Argentine German Frers .

Sure enough, shirtless, at the helm Gianni Agnelli. Berlusconi in white shirt, a little awkward, at his side. It is said that Silvio did not move from the cockpit for the entire sailing and that the lurching of the boat scared him a little.

Knight’s boats

In fact, when he had his first sailboat built by Perini Navi, the 42-meter ketch Princess Vaivia, the choice of a boat that would heel as little as possible was obvious.

Princess Vaivia

Berlusconi then often made his ketch available to his friend Ennio Doris so that Doris could personally oversee the renovations of his villa in Porto Rotondo, Sardinia, instilling in Doris a passion for sailing.

He asked Berlusconi to sell it to him, and he agreed, because in the meantime he had purchased the Morning Glory (48 meters, also a Perini Navi) from tycoon Rupert Murdoch.

By the way, here’s the backstory: Murdoch and Berlusconi, after 2004 (the year when the conflict of interest law could have convinced the Cavaliere to sell Mediaset), were the protagonists of a secret meeting on Morning Glory itself. It appeared that Berlusconi was to hand over his Mediaset business to the Australian Sky tycoon. Not only did Silvio not sell, but he then ended up buying Murdoch’s boat!

Morning glory
Rupert Murdoch’s Morning Glory later purchased by Berlusconi

Berlusconi “relaunched” Fogar

Silvio Berlusconi was also the man who helped to revive and “rehabilitate” Ambrogio Fogar, after the spotlight had been turned off on the Milanese sailor’s exploits, the doubts surrounding his sailings, and after the accident that cost journalist Mauro Mancini his life in 1977.

It was Silvio Berlusconi who believed in Fogar – the knight always liked characters – and gave him carte blanche on his television networks with the successful adventure program Jonathan – Dimensione avventura broadcast on Canale 5 from 1984 to 1986 and later on Italia 1 from 1986 to 1991.

Eugene Ruocco




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