9 gennaio 2023
by Ilaria Conti

Barcolana, Schmidt and the Glass Ceiling


Clear sky and moderate Bora wind, almost a hand-to-hand fight: luffing, jibing and crossing the finish line in the waters of Trieste. But this time, the winner was a woman. This is the first time in the history of the 54 editions of the Barcolana, the most crowded regatta in the world.

The queen was Wendy Schmidt, 67, originally from New Jersey, at the helm of the American boat Deep Blue. The wife of the former CEO of Google described the competition as “absolutely crazy.” The 85-footer crossed the finish line in 57 minutes and 47 seconds, ahead of the Italian Arca, sailed by the Benussi brothers from Trieste, which broke a sail at the start.

“It was the most exciting regatta in my 15 years of sailing,” said the winner. “Sailing is a wonderful sport that has no gender, age or barriers. I encourage people to sail, to love sailing because we are all connected to the ocean: whether we know it or not, we are all part of its future,” she added.

The competition was held on 9 October and began at 10.30 am with the cannon fired by the Italian Navy training ship, Amerigo Vespucci, in front of the Miramare Castle, taking a quadrilateral route of 13 nautical miles.

The two favorites, Arca SGR and Deep Blue, were head-to-head and, perhaps with a bit of luck, it was the American boat that crossed the finish line. Arca's gennaker exploded just as they were hoisting her to overtake Deep Blue.

The 1,614 boats taking part also included Coop, with an all-female crew led by skipper Francesca Clapcich.

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