Monday, October 05, 2009

Azzurra at the Louis Vuitton Trophy in Nice

[Source: Yacht Club Costa Smeralda] The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda is to launch a new challenge which will bring the Italian flag to international waters under the name Azzurra. Yacht Club Costa Smeralda Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo announced the participation of team Azzurra in the Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta, scheduled to be held in Nice from 7th to 22nd November 2009, to an audience of national and international press at the Genoa Boat Show this afternoon. The new Azzurra team will be led by Yacht Club Costa Smeralda member Giovanni Maspero of Joe Fly, under the responsibility of skipper and helmsman Francesco Bruni, supported by tactician Tommaso Chieffi and team manager Alessandra Sensini among others.

“The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda is delighted to be embarking on this new adventure together with Giovanni Maspero,” said Commodore Bonadeo. “The firmly believes in the values which drive this young Italian team: first and foremost a passion for sailing combined with a constant search for improvement and a desire to seek out new challenges. The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda brought Azzurra to the America’s Cup in Newport in 1983, where we were total newcomers and certainly not among the favourites, but we competed well and our passion captured the collective imagination of the Italian public. I believe that Italian sailing now needs a team like this one, made up of young, enthusiastic and highly dedicated sailors”.
Giovanni Maspero has won several European titles in the Farr 40 and Melges 24 one-design classes as well as finished second in the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in 2008 and in the Audi Melges 32 World Championship in September of this year. Francesco Bruni and Tommaso Chieffi are accomplished America’s Cup sailors having amassed a total of six campaigns between them, while the rest of the crew has a range of match race and one-design sailing experience.

“Our common objectives and the faith placed in our team by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and Commodore Bonadeo is extremely rewarding for our entire sporting group – declared Giovanni Maspero – We feel an enormous responsibility, but I am firmly convinced that our sailing team’s merit, coupled with the experience of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda staff, which will join us in this exciting adventure, will provide excellent conditions to compete at the highest level.”

At the first event in Nice, racing will take place on equalized version 5 ACC boats supplied by the organization, and Azzurra will be competing against BMW Oracle Racing (USA), Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), K-Challenge (FRA), Swedish Challenge Artemis (SWE), Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS), Team Origin (GBR) and Team French Spirit (FRA). The team will also evaluate participating in future World Sailing Team Association events co-organised by Louis Vuitton in 2010. All events will be similar to the successful Louis Vuitton Pacific Series, held in Auckland in February of this year, which generated over 360 hours of television content and reached over 500 million viewers worldwide.

The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda is renowned for organizing international sailing events such as the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, the Sardinia Cup and the Rolex Swan Cup and this year completed one of its busiest seasons. The Club hosted twelve regattas in 2009 including two ISAF world championships, the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, the Audi Melges 32 World Championship and three events for superyachts – the Dubois Cup, the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta and the Perini Navi Cup — in addition to the 20th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. In the past, the Club has also promoted international challenges such as Azzurra, the first Italian Challenger for the America’s Cup (1983) and the motor yacht Destriero, which to this day holds the transatlantic crossing record set in 1992. The Club’s members currently number more than 500 and bring the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda colours to the most important sailing events across the globe.

The participation in the Louis Vuitton Trophy is the first step in a programme which intends to return the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and the brand Azzurra to the forefront of international yachting as a protagonist in global sailing events in addition to its established role as an organiser of world class regattas.

Azzurra crew list
Francesco Bruni – Helmsman
Tommaso Chieffi – Tactician
Tom Burnham – Strategist
Bruno Zirilli – Navigator
Daniele De Luca – Mainsail trimmer
Stefano Rizzi – Upwind trimmer
Pierluigi De Felice – Downwind trimmer
Gabriele Bruni – Checkstay
Piero Romeo – Checkstay grinder
Nicola Pilastro – Mainsail grinder
Massimo Galli – Grinder
Francesco Scalicci – Grinder
Cristian Griggio – Pit
Michele Cannoni – Pit
Luca Albarelli – Mast
Pietro Mantovani – Mid bow
Matteo Auguadro – Bow

Michele Gnutti – Reserve
Giuseppe Leonardi – Reserve

Gabrio Zandonà – Coach

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