Italian domination at Mixed Two Person Offshore Worlds
Published on September 24th, 2021
When the Mixed Two Person Offshore World Championship was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19, it not only derailed the inaugural event but also halted momentum for the event’s inclusion at the Paris 2024 Olympics.
But despite the International Olympic Committee’s decision to table the event for now, the first-ever world title finally got its opportunity during a three-stage event in Italy.
Ten teams representing eight nations, two of which from the USA, raced the one design Fígaro 3s in three distance races from September 15 to 24, with the outcome of the 2021 Hempel Mixed Two Person Offshore World Championship to be decided at the finish line in Venice.
The final 60-mile sprint from Marina di Ravenna to Venice was the culmination of 816 nautical miles of racing in the semi-foiling keelboats, and it was the Italian team Claudia Rossi and Pietro D’Alì that took the title after the hard-fought leg.
When the final leg started at mid-day on September 24, Rossi and D’Ali were slow out of the starting blocks but took the lead for good by the halfway stage, but when the final approach to Venice involved navigating around a myriad of restricted zones due to oil platforms and other sea furniture, some teams brought protests against others to seek clarification on whether others had contravened the restrictions.
There was not yet a clear winner, so for Rossi and D’Ali the champagne remained on ice until protests had been concluded. Once several teams received penalty points for navigational errors, the Italians were able to pop the cork, a release of emotion as they were finally able to celebrate becoming the first ever World Champions of Mixed Two Person Offshore competition.
“It’s an amazing feeling, it’s like a dream that has come true,” said Rossi. “We fought until the end but then we had some protests to discuss, so it was not really easy. But now we can just feel good and have a party together because we did a great race and great teamwork together.”
Aged 29, Rossi is exactly half the age of Pietro D’Ali, one of Italy’s most experienced and respected offshore competitors.
“I hope this format keeps going in the future,” noted D’Ali. “This is a perfect format for the Olympics.”
Finishing runner-up was the other Italian team sailed by Giovanna Valsecchi and Andrea Pendibene. Two Italian teams winning on home waters doesn’t tell the story as Team Belgium (Sophia Faguet and Jonas Gerckens) ran the winners very close for overall victory but had to settle for third overall.
Coming in fourth place and punching above their lack of offshore experience was Team South Africa, crewed by Michaela Robinson (age 21) and Siyanda Vato (age 28).
“We’ve spent 11 years racing against each other,” said Vato, “but this was the first time we’ve raced together. We worked together really well as a team, we’ve achieved much more than we could have dreamed of, lots of positives!”