Moro di Venezia In 1992 all Italians fell in love with her when she won the Louis Vuitton Cup and then went on to the America’s Cup challenge in the United States, thus becoming the first non-English speaking nation’s vessel to try for the cup in its 141 years’ history.
We’re talking about ‘Il Moro di Venezia’, the red-hulled boat that came out of the Marghera shipyard in 1990 and, two years later carried the dreams of her followers into the waters of San Diego. Over the years, however, the boat lost its appeal and ended up docked in Trieste alongside many another anonymous boats. But ‘Il Moro’, Raul Gardini’s legendary boat that defined an era, is a special boat; a fact that the young Serena Zanelli and Enrico Prataiola always knew. In May last year they decided to buy it from the previous owner and return it to competion. Not without difficulty though. “Il Moro di Venezia has been a matter of Italian pride, and in a moment of economic and cultural crisis like the one we’re experiencing, we want to bring back to splendour a piece of history of which we are proud.”
di Barbara Maccari
How did you get your passion for sailing?
Enrico: «Ever since I was a child I had a passion for the sea and sailing. The feats of ‘Il Moro’ in the America’s Cup kept me glued to the tv when I was a boy; since then I’ve cultivated this passion even though it’s not been easy, living in land-locked Umbria. The turning point was in May 2013, after I went on a sailing course at the Montedoglio dam with Serena. We met ‘Il Moro’s’ previous owner and started to take an interest in the boat.»
Was ‘Il Moro’ a good challenge?
Serena: «Il Moro was moored for years at the port of San Rocco in Muggia, Trieste. The last time she competed was in 2009 in a ‘Barcolana’. The owner wanted to sell it for some time, but hadn’t found the right buyers. Then we arrived and convinced him with our enthusiasm and passion. ‘Il Moro’ is back in the (Venice) lagoon in trust of the skipper and general manager Claudio Carraro, who’s giving us a big hand in a field unknown to us».
What difficulties have you encountered this year?
Enrico: «The first of all was in terms of logistics, in that the boat was in Trieste and getting it back here wasn’t easy. We tried to get her to Ravenna, but due to a number of complications we failed, so we transported it to Venice, its historic home, the land to which it’s linked, and it’ll stay there. Other difficulties we found was in the search for sponsors, who are a necessity. We’re giving ‘Il Moro’ the chance to get back in the game and shine once more, so it’s not just an economic, but also a cultural opportunity; but it’s not easy making this clear to companies bearing in mind the difficult economic times in which we find ourselves. The return of ’Il Moro’ was greeted with great fervour in Venice and everyone’s supporting us; here in Umbria things are more complicated, not living in a coastal area, but it’s a challenge we’ve set ourselves to overcome.»
What races have you done in ‘Il Moro’ and what’s to come?
Enrico: «We recently participated as guests on the second Principality of Monaco trophy, which took place in Venice, while with regards to the future the next regatta is in October and we’ll be at the Barcolana in Trieste and the Valenziana in Venice, and a race in Chioggia is on the programme. We’ve also put together a competition crew of sixteen people, mostly from the north east of Italy.»
What are your plans for the future?
Serena: «First of all to compete and get ‘Il Moro’s’ name in the spotlight once again Then we’re thinking of making day trips with those who want to get closer to the sport or challenge themselves or even skippers and other professionals that want to handle boat of this nature, and last but not least to collaborate with sailing schools.»