Italy was one of the first countries in Europe to go into lockdown when the Covid pandemic began in March. But that hasn’t stopped the O’pen Skiff class from functioning, although like the rest of the world, the circumstances are very different from how things were originally planned and huge efforts have had to be made to respect the necessary safety and sanitary recommendations and regulations.

The O’pen Skiff class owes its existence to an original Italian design, that has been brought to worldwide attention and commercial success initially by BIC Sport and now TAHE. It has been very popular in Italy and, recognising this, the 2020 World Championships were scheduled to take place at Calasetta (Sardinia) in July. These were cancelled, given that travel to and from Sardinia was impossible due to Covid restrictions, but then re-scheduled for the same week in 2021.

Despite that disappointment and Covid restrictions, we have been able to run our Italian National Championships, with three rounds of competition, at Arco (Lake Garda), at Ostia on the Mediterranean coast near Rome, and finally Rimini on the Adriatic, with a variety of water and wind conditions to test the competitors’ full range of skills. We have 3 categories of O’pen Skiff competition : U17, U13, plus a special category for our youngest future skippers, that we call PRIME. At the end of these 3 rounds, the top 10 in the U17 and U13 categories rankings qualify for the end of season one-off Champions Cup, with the leaders of the rankings earning the title of National Champion. The Champions Cup is due to take place at the end of October 2020 in Taranto, on the Ionian sea coast in southern Italy, depending on further Covid developments.

More than 100 young skippers took part in the 3 rounds, with lots of excitement at the final round in Rimini, where the National Champion titles and some crucial top 10 rankings were confirmed.

Congratulations to Manuel de Felice, a familiar face and name from European and World O’pen Skiff competitions, and winner of the 2020 U17 rankings and Italian National Champion title, fair reward for his commitment and skills.