Ambrogio Beccaria – The Beginning | Pirelli

Ambrogio Beccaria – The Beginning


Yachtsmen need to understand the sea, they need to respect its inclinations, seek out its meaning - it is an unavoidable ontological requirement. Sailing, understood as a state of mind, first, and as a sport, secondly, thrives on the privileged and obligatory relationship with the sea, with water, with the environment. Ambrogio Beccaria was born in Milan, in a land where nature responds to other logics than the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, the ocean as a whole; home is hundreds of kilometres away from it. So to become the first Italian in the history of sailing to win the Mini-Transat – the historic solo competition that crosses the Atlantic Ocean on board six and a half metre boats –, to come second in this year's transatlantic Route du Rhum aboard the “Alla Grande Pirelli”, means that Ambrogio truly had that relationship with the sea and with water within him. He has had to cultivate and develop it little by little, nourishing it with talent and dedication, but he has always carried it inside. Even when he wasn't yet aware of it.

Ambrogio Beccaria, born in 1991, has been going to sea since he was eight years old. The Milanese bourgeois family did not own a boat, nor was it traditionally a family of sailors: his father is a lawyer, his mother a photographer, an aunt a designer (Luisa Beccaria). In short, his lineage was not of sailors. But Ambrogio soon discovered that sailing did not necessarily have to be in your blood. Certainly, you needed that little something extra. He had the good fortune of coming across sailing relatively early on in life, in Sardinia, where he attended the Velamare summer school, among the waves of the Archipelago of La Maddalena: it is in those waters that he discovered his passion and began to build a route whose horizon was still probably unclear to him. It was also thanks to the instructors who accompanied him in his first steps, who had probably already noticed he had some unusual skills, or at least had plenty of promise. It was clear from the outset that the beginning deserves a little more in-depth investigation: as early on as secondary school – Ambrogio went to Severi, in Milan, the scientific secondary school – he had the opportunity to leave the city at the weekend to take part in regattas all around Italy. His first experiences were on racing hulls, as part of a team, which he believes is where "you learn a lot, but you are just one of many, a joint workforce. It is enjoyable, you get to sail, but I have personally never been interested in the worldliness of sailing; I am much more interested in racing." So things changed when he was still a student at the Severi and he got his parents to give him a Laser 4000, a practically destroyed boat just over four metres long, which he restored with the help of two classmates and which he became the helmsman on.

His first regattas and first satisfactions came on Lake Como, an almost obligatory training ground for Milanese sailing amateurs. The rewarding results came rather early, and it was soon obvious that Ambrogio had something special: he won an Italian Championship and a bronze medal at the European regatta on Lake Garda. But the desire to try his hand at other experiences led him to change course: Cupid's arrow had struck the world of high seas, in other words long regattas, also inspired by the exploits of Giovanni Soldini, Milanese just like him, whom Ambrogio considered to be one of his childhood heroes (of whom he later became a colleague and friend: Ambrogio himself stated that Soldini was of great help from a psychological, theoretical and practical perspective, and when he bought the boat in 2019 he opened up his shipyard to him and supported him). In 2013 he climbed aboard a Mini 6.50 for the first time: he went to Portugal to buy the mini Kalonig, a Pogo2 model with which the French sailor Ian Lipinski had capsized in the Atlantic during the 2012 Mini-Transat – probably not the best omen. He took the boat to La Spezia, where he was living at the time, studying engineering, and in five months of work he completed the restructuring of the damaged boat, renaming it the "Alla Grande Ambeco".

Here, too, the results came as a natural consequence of his talent and hard work. After winning some regattas in the Italian Mini 6.50 Championship, he went to compete with French competitions and sailors. In 2016 he won a stage of the Mini 6.50 Les Sables-Les Acores-Les Sables (the second most important regatta in its category after the MiniTransat), which he completed in second place overall. After finishing second (then sixth due to a penalty) at the Pornichet Select, Ambrogio won his first Atlantic regatta, the Mini en Mai. He then also came first in the M.A.P., MiniFastnet, SAS (Les Sables-Les Acores-Les Sables) and finally at the Duo Concarneau. Then came the record 2017/18, a winning 2019 and the results that have made Ambrogio Beccaria the world sailor he is today. A sailor who has always won throughout life like a predestined winner, despite the fact that his origin might make you think otherwise.