A wonderful conclusion to the 1st National Open Skiff regatta held in Taranto over three fabulous days of sun, wind, sport, and friendship: if on the eve of the event there was great satisfaction at having reached the record number of participants for this young youth class, at the end of the event there was even greater happiness at having disputed the maximum number of races (10 with two discards) in ideal conditions for everyone.

The Open Skiff class seems to be starting this 2023 with great enthusiasm, with a very close-knit fleet, which has chosen this boat for its choices, which in some respects are revolutionary and far-sighted: protests, apart from particular cases, are discussed and resolved on the water, so that the helmsmen are given the responsibility to penalise themselves in the event of an infringement: in this way, when they return to land, after having picked up their equipment, they only have to think about playing with their friends! Another choice, unique in the world, is to also include in the race course a board with free style manoeuvres (standing up or a 360 degrees of the boat depending on the flag hoisted at the start) to develop agility and balance, elements that will certainly come in handy in the transition to larger classes, considering the trend towards increasingly fast and acrobatic sailing. In terms of regulations, the class is also looking further ahead: the Open Skiff, having in-water refereeing, has been chosen by the Italian Sailing Federation and World Sailing as the ideal class for experimenting with the new Rule 18 (buoy passage).

The Taranto event allowed all the sailors to express themselves at their best, thanks both to the excellent wind conditions and the impeccable organisation by Circolo Velico Azimuth and its tireless President Vincenzo Marasco and his staff, in collaboration with Asd Olimpia/Molo Santa Lucia, Sezione Velica Della Marina Militare, Ondabuena Academy, Sporting Club M. di Pulsano, Centro Velico Alto Jonio and Lega Navale Italiana section of Taranto. Location, Race and FIV Protest Committee, and the always complicated unloading and loading of dinghies, boats, and trolleys were quick, allowing easy exits and returns from the sea and a stress-free restart.

Another thing that impressed was the many hugs between coaches, racers, and parents at the first regatta of the year, after a period in which hugs had been missing for some time: an atmosphere of friendship, as is the spirit of the Open Skiff class. As far as the podiums are concerned, the choice of the class was also in step with the times, providing for gender parity and therefore rewarding the top 5 overall, male and female together. And here we come to the podiums, which, if after the first two days of racing they were fairly well delineated in the under 12 and under 17 categories, in the under 15 category there was a twist that relegated the first in the ranking to tenth position.

Under 12
The very blond Ukrainian who fled the war in Rimini with his father coach Yasnolobov Sviatoslav won by seven partial victories, one second and two fifths discarded (CN Rimini). Behind him with scores close to each other Lapo Manigrasso (CV Talamone), Pietro Dedoni (WC Cagliari) and Manuel Albanese (LNI Taranto) first from Puglia and Taranto, finished in that order. In fifth place was the first female in the fleet, Sicilian Virna Di Gerlando (CV Sferracavallo).

Under 15
The under 15 category, the most numerous with 75 helmsmen on the starting line, as anticipated, had its first position overturned due to a mistake by the Sardinian Gianluca Pilia, who in the free style side did not make the expected 360 degrees turn: an error that cost dearly as in this case the penalty is not discardable; it would have been sufficient to go back to the limit buoy to carry out the exercise, to be able to discard the test and not take the huge amount of points for disqualification. It will certainly be useful for next time. Naturally the pursuers benefited, who moved up one position: Andrea Carboni (Veliamoci) won, four points ahead of Mattia Pau (WCCagliari); much further behind in terms of points were Mattia Monti (CN Rimini) and Irene Cozzolino (CN Monte Procida), third and fourth respectively. Fifth place overall for Hungarian Zsolt Szalay, who was in Taranto with his coach and family after a long journey.

Under 17
With everyone first after the two discards, in the under 17s Niccolò Giomarelli (CVCastiglionese) was unrivalled, winning by 21 points over Domenico Schiano Di Scioarro from Campania (CN Monte Procida); third was Ludovica Pintus (LNI Sulcis) followed by Chiara Sussarello (LNI Sulcis) and Giulia Sinibaldi (CV Talamone). Worthy of mention is Pavitra Tripaldi from Taranto (LNI Taranto), seventh overall (and first Apulian), protagonist of an overall victory in the tenth and final race.

Italian Class President Guido Sirolli commented: “If good mornings are anything to go by, Taranto was a great success in terms of participants, fabulous organisation, and the enthusiasm of the quadras that came from all over Italy, including the larger islands! This year we expect to exceed 400 registered athletes and 40 clubs associated with our class!

In addition to the World Championship in Rimini in July, with 250 members already registered, the great novelty will be the Italian Championship Team Race Clubs scheduled for August at Lake Iseo where, to be admitted, clubs will have to select one of the three regattas scheduled at Lake Trasimeno on 1/2 April, in Cagliari on 6/7 May and Rimini on 20/21 May to enter the 10 clubs that will be admitted to the Italian Championship. This formula also enhances the role of the Club and its team of 3 with an Under 12 and 2 among the Under 15/16!”

The appointment for the 2nd National Open Regatta is at Easter at the Circolo Velico Sferracavallo, in Sicily.

View full results