Barcolana crush

The yacht race with the world’s largest fleet has been run again in Italy, with the usual close-calls and scrapes.


Photography by Studio Borlenghi

The 49th Barcolana regatta was held in the picturesque Gulf of Trieste. With over 2000 vessels taking part, it is the largest and potentially the biggest demolition sailing derby in the world.

This year an entry list boasting 2,101 boats and a total of 25,000 crew, has ensured the Barcolana Regatta is now officially the world’s most crowded race – recognised as a new Guinness World Record.

The Barcolana is a historic international sailing regatta taking place every year in the Gulf of Trieste on the second Sunday of October.

More than 250,000 spectators watch the Barcolana from the Trieste seafront, known as the Rive, and from the Karst highland. Thanks to the particular formation around the Gulf of Trieste, spectators can enjoy the race from numerous observation points as if sitting in a natural “sailing stadium”.

The Barcolana is a unique event on the international sailing stage: on the same starting line pro teams and amateurs race side by side on boats of different sizes. The race takes place on a 15-mile four-sided, fixed mark course.

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The 49th Barcolana was won by maxi Spirit of PortoPiccolo, the old Z86 Morning Glory, ensuring back to back victories by Italians Furio and Gabriele Benussi. The winning time this year was one hour 12 minutes, 17 seconds.

The Benussi’s took-out the 2016 edition of the Barcolana with the maxi 72 Alfa Romeo, have been working in the shadows over the past few months preparing to defend their title.

They purchased the 86-foot maxi (26m) with a carbon hull and canting keel, which as Morning Glory (then owned by German software magnate Hasso Plattner), won the 2004 Newport Bermuda Race and the Transpac in the same year. The boat had been languishing in a shed in Marseille for four years, but will now campaign regularly.

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