Bamboozles to whom? Three stories of young people ready to do anything for sailing


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The three young people whose stories we tell you. From the top, clockwise: Marco Martinez, Pietro Giolli, Elia Favaro

If you are a boomer who thinks today’s young Italians are “bamboozled,” the stories you are about to read will make you think again. Among the many we tell you every day, we have chosen three.

Young, sailors, ready for anything

These are three stories that have so much in common with each other. Starting with a passion – a lot – for sailing. But there is more. The protagonists of our stories are young people (30 and under) who have sacrificed everything-or almost everything-to pursue their dream. That of living by boat, or otherwise accomplishing something exceptional to be remembered for a lifetime.

They are three young people who are determined and ready for anything. That they refitted their three small boats (another common point) with their own hands, demonstrating and acquiring expertise and skills as true sailors. They did not just realize their dreams. They also learned a trade. That, which is in high demand today, of knowing boats and being able to put your hands anywhere.

One, Elia Favaro, just crossed the Atlantic from Cape Verde to Barbados solo. But his story begins years earlier, when he fell in love and decided to buy and restore his boat. The other, Peter Giolli, rescued an old X-79 and after breathing life back into it crossed the Baltic Sea. The latest story we tell you is that of Marco Martinez, who restored an old Arpège to make it his home and sails the Mediterranean in the wake of Ulysses.

“I wanted to do the Atlantic alone at all costs.”

We told you the first story some time ago. It is that of Elia Favaro, 30, from Salgareda, a small town in the province of Treviso. His dream was to travel the world by boat so, during Covid, he scouted out an old Van de Stadt 34 (10.25 m). He put it back together with his own hands, and after months of “crazy and desperate” work, he set off with Coconut (that’s the name of the boat) from Caorle and sailed along the Italian coast and the Mediterranean, landing first in Murcia, Spain, and then stopping in the Balearic Islands.

Elijah Favaro
Elijah Favaro

From there Gibraltar, then Cape Verde and landing in the vicinity of Murcia, Spain. With his boat, which is called Coconut, he made a stop in the Balearic Islands. Then Cadiz, Madeira (where he arrives after he was reported missing), Canary Islands. On December 3, he left Tenerife for Barbados. After a technical stop in Cape Verde. To get to Bridgetown (Barbados).

Coconut, the Van de Stadt 34 purchased by Elijah and refurbished with his own hands

It took him 24 days and 10 hours to travel the 2,300 miles solo amid many vicissitudes: broken autopilot, power failures on board, all sorts of breakdowns, broken rigging. Elijah’s parents also told us what it is like to have a child alone in the middle of the sea…. But this crossing was his dream, and Elijah solved all the problems like a true sailor.

“I restored a 1981 boat to cross the Baltic.”

Let’s continue with another great story of a guy who had a dream and worked hard to achieve it. Pietro Giolli, 27, is a Milanese “expat” in Finland who works in a large sailboat yard. Peter wants a boat at all costs, but his wallet is crying. He found an old X-79 (7.96 x 2.88 m) from 1981 (Relax, that’s the name of the boat) and decided that his boat MUST be that one.

baltic crossing - 33
Peter Giolli

He finds a deal with the old owner and is able to buy the used boat in installments. Peter lives far away from the place where the boat is dry-docked, and to prepare it for launching, he drives 200 km a day after leaving work. In one week the boat is able to sail.

The “before and after” of the work aboard Relax, the boat with which Giolli undertook the Baltic crossing

Peter takes the boat by sea near his home in Pietarsaari. There he began the restorations, conservative and painstaking, carried out with his own hands. In May 2022 the boat is finally ready, beautiful thanks to Giolli’s work. A good story, culminating in the crossing of the Baltic Sea (from Finland to Denmark, more than 1,000 miles), to meet at the X-Yachts shipyard the historical builder of the X-79.

“An Arpège is the house with which I explore the Mediterranean.”

At the age of 25, he went to live on a boat, put it back together, and set out to explore the Mediterranean in the footsteps of Odysseus. This is the last story we tell you today. That of Marco Martinez, a Pisan of Neapolitan descent, whom we told you about a few years ago (we know that Marco still lives by boat today).

Marco Martinez

His grandfather used to take him to sea in Procida in his gozzo, and this was the “virus” of Marco’s passion for sailing. When lockdown arrives in 2020, he decides to turn his life around as a student finishing a doctorate in economic history. He finds an old Arpège (9 meters) from 1973 in Genoa. It is sound, but decommissioned. He takes it to the Lungarno in Pisa, the city where he resides, and refurbishes it. In fact, he does more. He goes to live there. “With the sander, I removed dozens of layers of antifouling, accumulated over fifty years. I got the boat I was living on 24 hours a day back on track.

An Arpège like Marco Martinez’s.

In 2021, he departed with his Arpege from its mooring along the mouth of the Arno River heading south, continuing eastward and reaching Turkey.

Youth and sailing, there are so many other beautiful stories

We have chosen three stories of young people who are “crazy about sailing,” but over the years, we have told you so many. We also mention that of Paolo Naccari, who lives on a boat with his cat Morghy, or that of “Bonzo,” who moved to Australia and participated in five Sydney Hobarts, that of New Zealander Stephanie Dawn, who lives on a small 28-footer.




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