Yacht Class n°22 (Sept-Oct-Nov 2020)
Co-organizer of the Palermo-Montecarlo offshore regatta, the Circolo della Vela Sicilia is very active in the Mediterranean but also worldwide. As proof, for the past few years, it has also been carrying the Italian challenge for the America’s Cup, with Team Luna Rossa.
Written by Aurore Teodoro – Photos: Studio Borlenghi, Benedetto Tarantino, CVS & All rights reserved
Such like the Knights of the Round Table, they were twelve, twelve prominent figures of Palermo to found the Circolo della Vela Sicilia in 1933. And, immediately, the club had a bright start. Its premises were inaugurated in 1934 in Mondello, a northern borough of the Sicilian capital, and its fleet of boats quickly took shape. The following year saw a number of major events confirm this good momentum. Starting with the first international regattas of the Circle, as part of the Sicilian Spring, in which the King of Spain Alfonso XIII took part with his 8m JI Hispania VII. 1935 also saw the victories of club members Mario Ducrot and Guidino Airoldi in the Star Class. Since then many successes have adorned the club’s trophy chest, like those of Enrico Ducrot, Alessandro La Lomia or its current president, Agostino Randazzo, who won the Italian Championship in the FJ, Strale, Tempest and 470 Classes and achieved prominent positions in world and European championships. This tradition remains today. In addition to its many social events (charity balls, lotteries, prize ceremonies, cruise trips for club members), the Circolo is very dynamic at sea. Organizer of major competitions, the club has been since 2005 the starting point of the offshore ‘Palermo-Montecarlo’ regatta it organises in cooperation with the Yacht Club de Monaco and Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. Won twice by club members (in 2006 with Agostino Randazzo at the helm, and in 2015 with Piero Majolino), this event has become one of the most important high sea regattas of the Mediterranean and has been part of the IMA Mediterranean Maxi Off-shore since 2015. In 2011 the Circolo della Vela Sicilia has entered the elite of world sailing clubs as it launched the challenge for the 34th edition of the America’s Cup with the team Luna Rossa Challenge. The club also participated to the 35th edition and was chosen again by Patrizio Bertelli as the challenger for the sixth and historic challenge launched by Luna Rossa team. It will sail against the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron as the Challenger of Record for the 36th America’s Cup, to be held in 2021 in Auckland, New Zealand.
Agostino Randazzo : “Our friendship is crucial in promoting a love for the sea and for the sport of sailing, and respect for the environment”
Interview by Jean-Marc Moreno – Photos: Studio Borlenghi, Benedetto Tarantino, CVS & All rights reserved
Son of the previous president of the Circolo della Vela Sicilia, Agostino Randazzo took the helm of the club in 2009, 43 years after becoming an official member. Today, the sailing enthusiast with a fine record is the president of this club and its 650 members, dynamic on the international scene.
What are the specificities of your Yacht Club ?Our Circolo’s premises lie in one of the most stunning coves in Mondello, surrounded by the pine grove of Punta Celesi. And I believe that the stunning beauty of our headquarters, due to the gorgeous nature around it, is exactly what makes it unique. The Circolo is open year-round and does not have a marina. It has direct access to the crystal-clear sea. And this is another highlight.
What are the key events organized by the Yacht Club?
We organize all kinds of events but our flagship is the ‘Palermo-Montecarlo’ high sea regatta. In 2018, H.S.H. Albert II of Monaco honored us with His presence at the start of the competition as a way to consolidate the longstanding friendship between Monaco and Palermo. H.S.H. had already been our guest in 2017 when the City of Palermo awarded him Honorary Citizenship.
What is your best memory as President?
The launching in Bermuda of the challenge to the 36th America’s Cup in representation of the Luna Rossa team as the Challenger of Record. Another wonderful experience was being on board the Luna Rossa sail boat with our yellow and blue burgee to compete at the San Francisco edition.
What would you consider to be the advantages of a twinning with the Yacht Club de Monaco?
The main advantage, and honor, is enjoying a friendship and collaboration with one of the most prestigious and dynamic sail clubs in the world.
How do these take concrete form?
Besides working together to organize the Palermo-Montecarlo regatta, whose 2013 and 2014 editions were won by Pierre Casiraghi, I believe that our friendship is crucial in promoting a love for the sea and for the sport of sailing, and respect for the environment. Also, every year a group of our young members participate in the international Optimist Team Race Championship in Monaco, and the two clubs have established junior teams which raced together during the last two editions of the Palermo-Montecarlo .This is a very tangible testimony to our collaboration and also for the future.