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Unshakeable moments in sailing

Published on May 12th, 2022

Luissa Smith, PR Director for the 2022 Bacardi Cup invitational Regatta, quizzed well-known sailing personalities about unshakeable moments that propelled them forward and incidents that still keep them up at night:

Lucas Calabrese (ARG)
2012 Olympics (Bronze), 2018 J/70 World Champion.

My breakthrough moment was winning an Olympic Medal at the London 2012 Olympics. I have had good results in my youth (Optis and 420s) but I hadn’t proved myself in the toughest competition of all.

Being one of the youngest (aged 24) in the 470 class and able to earn an Olympic medal gave me a boost in my confidence to continue on the path of professional sailing. It was a very tight race in which we match raced the Italian boat to secure Bronze.

I then moved to the USA and I am now focused 100% on professional sailing. I’ve always enjoyed new challenges and am constantly motivated to get better and work along the best.

Hold onto your hat:
One of the scariest moments I remember was when I was twelve years old and sailing Optis. We were sailing in Argentina in one of the biggest events of the year with 100+ boats. As we were getting ready to start the race, a huge thunderstorm came through. There was lightning everywhere.

As the Race Committee started to send us in, I saw a huge flash followed by a big “bang” and looked over to see there was black smoke coming out of the RC boat’s engine. They had been hit by lightning! It was all a big mess.

We managed to get a tow, and everyone took their rig down and started to go back in. I must have seen hundreds of lightning bolts on the long tow in. I then heard that the bow of one of the sailor’s Optis had melted.

It was a scary moment, luckily nobody got hurt, but we all learned from it and were ready for a nice day of sailing. It taught me to respect the elements as Mother Nature is way more powerful than we think she is.

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