Eight Bells: Fabio Fossati

Published on December 3rd, 2015

Fabio Fossati, a long standing member of the International Technical Committee of the Offshore Racing Congress, suddenly died last week at the age of 53 years after losing his battle with lung cancer.

Born in Milan, Italy, Fossati graduated in Mechanical Engineering at Politecnico di Milano, receiving a Doctorate in Applied Mechanics in 1994. As a full professor with a PhD in Applied Mechanics and a lecturer at the Master in Naval and Nautical Design program at Milan Polytechnic and at the University of Genoa, Fossati also carried out intensive research in the field of numerical and experimental fluid-dynamics as applied to the field of sailing yacht design.

He was the scientific research coordinator for the activities of Team Prada Challenge for the 2003 America’s Cup, of Team Luna Rossa Challenge for the 2007 America’s Cup and for the BMW/Oracle Racing Challenge for the 2010 America’s Cup.

This and other work helped elevate the Wind Tunnel facility he created at Milan into being recognised as a worldwide center of research excellence.

He initiated a myriad of important projects that will certainly have contributions well past his interrupted life. One in particular was getting Polytechnic support in 2012 for the building of Fabio’s original idea of the “Barca Laboratorio,” a fully instrumented boat for full scale testing of a sailing yacht – this project shows great promise, and has still to become fully operational.

His book “Aero-Hydrodynamics and the Performance of Sailing Yachts: The Science Behind Sailboats and Their Design” is a worldwide reference text for sailing yacht theory.

ORC expresses its deepest condolences to Fabio’s family for their loss, and recognizes the tremendous contributions he made to ORC specifically and performance sailing in general over the years with his extensive research work in the Wind Tunnel facility at Milan Polytechnic University.

Ciao Fabio, be sure that you will not be forgotten, and your ideas will be brought forward by the ones who grasped them and share your passion and progressive visions. – Dobbs Davis

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