The present and future of Vasco Vascotto in the TP52's and the America's Cup
Vasco Vascotto, the legendary Italian sailor, doesn’t only speak about the TP52’s in this interview to ValenciaSailing and ZeroGradiNord a month before the start of the 2009 AUDI MedCup season. The Italian skipper of Pisco Sour (former Mutua Madrileña) also talks about the current situation of the America’s Cup as well as his Dabliu Sail Project challenge.
Question: We last saw you in New Zealand, where you were one of the cornerstones of Damiani Italia Challenge’s great performance, and we now find each other one month before the start of the AUDI MedCup, ready to jump into the game, despite the lack of a main sponsor. You will be leading Pisco Sour, the 2008 Mutua Madrileña yacht that has been modified not only aesthetically but also from a technical point of view.
Vasco Vascotto: Our boat was modified and updated based on Rolf Vrolijk’s latest thoughts. In her one can find come of the peculiarities that characterize the most recent yachts designed by the same office: Matador and Artemis. Work has been extensive and covered the hull, deck as well as sail plan. We have also retouched the mast: We extended the spreaders and moved the attachment points of the shrouds. In addition to that, we tried to make her more aggressive. Everybody opted for opaque coloring, that I personally find lacking elegance. On the contrary, we went full ahead with shiny black, which in my view is very, very chick. Another small charm we granted ourselves was our name, going back to being called Pisco Sour, a name that has followed us throughout our adventure in the TP52 class. The name stands out from the black hull and is made out of untreated carbon fiber. We are very satisfied and now it’s up to us to fine-tune her in order to make her sail fast.
The modified Pisco Sour
Question: All works have been financed by Dabliù in their entirety. From what we understand you are always looking for a sponsor.
Vasco Vascotto: Absolutely. Unfortunately the world is currently going through a financial crisis. Dabliu Sail Project has always made very big investments: we went to Auckland, to Lanzarote and we will now be in Alicante and I realize that we are among the very few that can still afford certain "games". As far as the Copa del Rey is concerned, we will always have Mutua Madrileña’s support, but for the AUDI MedCup circuit we are absolutely free, although a couple of very interesting contacts have already been initiated.
Question: Onboard the yacht, as far as the crew is concerned, are there any changes in view? Who’s going to be on your side?
Vasco Vascotto: Despite the fact my press officer Silvia Berti used to tell the press I was 25 years old during 8 consecutive years, this winter I thoroughly checked my ID card and I realized I was much closer to 40 instead. I think the time has come to look around me and trust someone younger, just the way Franco Corazza and other boat owners did with me. The main core of the crew will always remain the same, except for some that, due to other obligations already scheduled, will not be able to be with me. That’s the case with Cesare Bozzetti who is currently working on an important project in Venice, although he will join us in the later stages of the circuit. Nevertheless, the true novelty this year will be Alberto Bolzan taking the helm, a young guy that in my view is, looking into the future, one of the smartest and most serious young sailors of the entire Italian scene. The names will more or less be the same, starting with Matteo Auguadro, Michele Paoletti, but I will not reveal more, let’s say that the most important fact is indeed the introduction of Alberto Bolzan, as for the rest you will soon find out.
Question: Last year you had Nacho Postigo with you and in addition to being your navigator he’s one of the heads of the MedCup circuit and an advocate of the GP42 class joining it. What’s your view on the entrance of the GP42 class in the MedCup? Do you consider it positive?
Vasco Vascotto: This year as well I will have the honor to sail with Nacho, I’m very happy and proud of it. He’s a very intelligent person that has understood that the TP52’s and GP42’s, under the current conditions, represent the highest level of world sailing, also because the America’s Cup is out of the question right now. I think it is the best way to give the optimal visibility to a sponsor such as AUDI that continues with great dedication, and also reach the highest level possible in every event. It is undeniable that these two classes and the MedCup circuit, under the current conditions, represent a little bit what the Moto GP and the 250 represent in motorbike racing. I am absolutely convinced that Nacho and his associates will do a great job, just like they did last year.
The modified Pisco Sour
Question: Do you think that the three new TP52’s will be decisively superior compared to the rest of the fleet or are differences going to be less marked?
Vasco Vascotto: Matador, Artemis and Team New Zealand will be superior because they start on a stronger foot with greater resources than the rest of the teams. During the last years they have been the best performing teams and their crews are first-class. As far as the yachts are concerned, we have reached an ideal point because the whole group is really compact: last year in fact every boat finished at least one race dead last. These days one works on minimal differences and this make every race extremely close and emotional. It’s a unique show either onboard the yacht or from a spectator boat.
Question: Dabliù Sail Project is also an America’s Cup team. Since you presented your challenge you were personally present in all competitor meetings that took place under Alinghi’s auspices. What is currently the general feeling in these tough times?
Vasco Vascotto: I am extremely positive; I think the America’s Cup is a competition that will never die. I hope they find a solution to get back on the water. We sailors want exactly that. We are not politicians fighting a war, we only hope to be back sailing and racing as soon as possible, in a balanced America’s Cup accessible to everybody.
Question: If a Deed of Gift Match takes place in 2010 would you be interested in participating in eventual Acts or similar regattas?
Vasco Vascotto: It’s an option we are taking into consideration. Everything that will allow us to be present and competitive and that will serve to give our sponsors visibility is taken into serious consideration by us. These Acts could, undoubtedly, represent an injection of confidence in the sport of sailing. I will repeat that we will value any option just as we valued our presence in Auckland in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series, similar to what we do for any event where it is possible to be duly prepared. I believe that in order to take part in such an event you should also check your wallet. I hope we will also be rewarded by sponsors trusting a team that has produced excellent results in the last 20 years.