Good Vibes for Ambrogio Beccaria at the Rolex Fastnet Race | Pirelli

Good Vibes for Ambrogio Beccaria at the Rolex Fastnet Race


Ambrogio Beccaria and his "Alla Grande Pirelli" achieved an excellent second place at the Rolex Fastnet Race: a result to be proud of, filled with emotions, and valuable experience on board, fostering a strong team chemistry with Nicolas Andrieu in preparation for the upcoming Transat Jacques Vabre in autumn. The thrilling sprint to the finish line allowed them to climb one position during the night between Tuesday and Wednesday. Ambrogio crossed the finish line just ten minutes after Erwan Le Draoulec's Everial. However, a two-hour penalty at the start weighs on the final outcome, potentially placing them in seventh position in the final ranking.

This was Ambrogio Beccaria's second participation in the Rolex Fastnet Race, the first aboard his Class40 "Alla Grande Pirelli." He had unfinished business with this race after the 2021 edition was interrupted shortly after the start, merely 24 hours in, due to dismasting.

The approach to the race was well planned, knowing they would compete with only two crew members in a regatta typically sailed with a crew of three. The idea was to treat it as an extensive training session and a way to get to know each other better onboard with co-skipper Andrieu. However, once they started, the competitive spirit pushed them to give their all and even more, always striving for the best. They performed admirably despite the nightmarish weather conditions that caused 112 out of 430 participants from all categories to retire within the first 24 hours. The Coast Guard had to carry out 28 rescue operations on the first day alone. "It feels like a month has passed since the start," Ambrogio had communicated from onboard in one of his video messages.

This was not an unusual scenario for a classic race in those waters. The Fastnet Race has been held since 1925, takes place in odd years, and its course runs from Cowes on the Isle of Wight to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin in Normandy (the new finish point since 2021), crossing the English Channel and rounding the iconic Fastnet Rock – with its mythical lighthouse – presenting numerous hazards such as strong tides, steep waves, and frequent storms.

The start was in the midst of a storm, and the final stretch was in slow motion. "Alla Grande Pirelli" crossed the start line under full sail instead of reducing sail like many others, and this decision paid off as Ambrogio and Nicolas gained an advantage over the rest of the fleet. However, the race organizers later announced that 8 boats, including "Alla Grande Pirelli," were penalized for starting early. Hence, the final result was seventh place instead of second. "Obviously, there's great frustration over the false start: Nico had just seen that the current had changed and was pushing us over the start line, but I fell for it. It's a shame because making up for a two-hour penalty will be challenging, but the fact remains that the race is magnificent, and we are giving it our best," explained Ambrogio in one of his onboard audio messages.

The race continued favorably. Upon entering the Celtic Sea, Ambrogio Beccaria led the Class40 category, becoming the first to round the Fastnet to the south of Ireland. Although the imperfect timing of their arrival in those waters cost them the advantage gained in the previous miles, they successfully navigated through a moment of danger one night, with strong winds and the risk of crossing paths with a cargo ship, which fortunately sounded its horn when "Alla Grande Pirelli" was 50 meters away, as reported by the Milanese sailor from onboard.

As they approached the decisive phases of the race, with most of the fleet heading towards Cherbourg, Beccaria charted a more southerly route to gain another advantage, crucial due to the two-hour penalty. This strategic choice seemed to pay off; after losing some ground, they recovered excellently, crossing the finish line in second place, just ten minutes after the first boat.

It was another outstanding performance, especially considering the synergy built with co-skipper Nicolas Andrieu, a 36-year-old Frenchman from Paris, raised in La Rochelle. This partnership will continue to work together until the Transat Jacques Vabre in autumn. Several more months of work lie ahead, and there is no intention of slowing down.