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Gino Morrelli: A California Original

Published on April 9th, 2015

Gino Morrelli has had an impact on the sport as soon as he found the water, and has quietly become one of the leaders in sailing. Here John Sangmeister provides a glimpse of this California original…

Gino grew up building hot rod cars with his father. A self-taught engineer, Gino transferred his love of fast cars to fast boats, building a series of catamarans which he raced with his family off Hurricane Gulch off Cabrillo Beach, California.

In 1988, Gino was tasked with designing the platform for the 1988 America’s Cup defender, Stars & Stripes. Gino also served as a member of the Stars & Stripes sailing team in 1988. His ProSail 40 catamarans served as predecessors to today’s AC 45’s, both in design and race format (stadium racing). These boats are still actively raced on San Francisco Bay.

Gino’s pioneering work led him to a partnership with fellow adventurer, Steve Fossett. Mr. Fossett commissioned the design of Cheyenne (PlayStation) a 125-foot maxi offshore catamaran designed to break records including the non-stop Round-the-World mark. PlayStation went on to set numerous World Speed Records, often with Gino serving as watch captain.

The 2010 and 2013 America’s Cups expanded Gino’s influence on the future of the America’s Cup. The Morrelli & Melvin design firm served on the design team of the 2010 winner USA-17 and in 2011 Morrelli & Melvin was commissioned to draft the design rules for the AC 72s raced in the 2013 America’s Cup.

Morrelli & Melvin served on the design team of Emirates Team New Zealand’s 2013 challenger. ETNZ were the first to “Fly” and it was the Morrelli & Melvin influence that brought about this remarkable foiling transformation to sailing and the America’s Cup.

There are a few rare individuals who are universally beloved by team mates and competitors alike, and Gino Morrelli is one such individual. He is well respected throughout the sailing community for his sense of goodwill, a hands on approach, and willingness to tackle all sorts of projects.

Sailing is lucky Gino found the water.

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