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Transat CIC: Italy’s Ambrogio Beccaria takes Class 40 win

Yacht Racing Podcast

Italy’s Ambrogio Beccaria on his all Italian designed and built Musa 40 Alla Grande Pirelli added the hugely prestigious Transat CIC Class 40 title to his steadily growing collection of solo and short handed ocean racing honours this morning when he crossed the line of the historic race at 03:47:55 hrs (CET/Italy. 23:47:55hrs local NYC) in first place, ending an incredible head to head, a battle of nerves and skill, with France’s Ian Lipinski (Crédit Mutuel) – a greatly respected friend, rival and former co-skipper. Beccaria’s elapsed time was 11 days, 16 hours 17 minutes, and 55 seconds.

For the 32 year old Milanese solo racer victory on this iconic 3,900 nautical miles race across the North Atlantic from Lorient to New York is his third major Transatlantic success, adding to his formative 2019 MiniTransat win and last year’s Transat Jacques Vabre two handed victory with French co-skipper Nicolas Andrieu.

Speaking after crossing the finish line he said: “It is not often you win two Transatlantic races in a row in six months and this is the first solo race that I have won on the boat, that is very, very important to me. And this is one of the best races I have ever done. A lot of the time it is about pain and suffering, this time I was very, very aware all the time of what I was doing and everything worked very, very well.”

All Italian
In his debut year with the slippery, powerful Gianluca Guelfi and Fabio D’Angeli design he finished second on the 2022 Route du Rhum and was only denied the win by Yoann Richomme, winner on Tuesday of the IMOCA class on this famous race which was first contested in 1960 as the Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race. Beccaria’s Italian triumph follows the pioneering Class 40 success of Giovanni Soldini, who had an outstanding win in 2008.

But while Beccaria’s previous wins have been more the result of superior boat performance backed up by excellent strategy – witness the final third of last Autumn’s Transat Jacques Vabre when Beccaria chose the south side of the course on the approach to Martinique to win – the Italian found his match on this ‘north face’ course in Lipinski with whom he won the 2022 Normandy Channel Race on the Frenchman’s boat as well as taking third overall on the Les Sables Horta race.

Early on after struggling with initial technical problems Beccaria was down in fourth and stayed there until emerging out of the first big low pressure. As the winds eased Beccaria took a more definitive lead. He worked that out to 74 miles over Lipinski before the leaders ran into light winds. But in the strong Gulf Stream currents and gentler winds the Italian – not knowing well the unpredictable strong currents – lost all of that again to Lipinksi.
But as they emerged out of the next front Beccaria’s strategy was better, getting south earlier, and he made the key gain which he grew to be just under 40 miles ahead of Lipinksi at the finish line some 110 miles off New York this morning.

The match, a battle of nerves and skill
Theirs has been an engaging thrilling match with the lead changing at least five times. Lipinksi – sailing his last race with his remarkable 2019 David Raison designed Mach40 – has been a respected co-skipper to Beccaria on many occasions, not least winning the 2022 Channel Race together and being third on the Les Sables Horta offshore race together last year. On the original scow design, Lipinski won the 2019 Transat Jacques Vabre.
Paying a tribute to Lipinski a couple of days ago Beccaria said, “ It has been hard to find routes as I don’t have the masthead zero any more and so in the light winds I have to work to different angles. And so yes, I am sailing with my FRO in light winds and not doing so bad. And it is wonderful to be here with Ian as her is someone I really, really appreciate, to have this battle with him is special, there is no better mate to have this fight with, I can’t wait to see how it ends in hopefully less than two days. When the high pressure moves there is another front coming with more wind and more waves.”

Beccaria reported that he had a damaged bulkhead early in the race which he took time to repair which was followed on May 5th with the loss, damaged off the Masthead Code Zero. But since leading out of the last high pressure system Beccaria has extended to a more conclusive margin.
And long before the start Ambrogio had an appealing view of his fundamental desire to go to New York by sea….

“Going to New York by sea resonates, particularly recalling all the generations of Italians who have left their homes to seek a better life.”
Doubtless he will find the time to go and celebrate in style with among the huge, partisan Italian community in New York. He is due to arrive at the One15 marina during the day Friday.

AMBROGIO’S WIN IN NUMBERS
Finish time: 03:47:55hrs (UTC) 23:47:55hrs local NYC
Race time: 11 days, 16 hours, 17 minutes, 55 seconds
Distance sailed: 3280.06 nautical miles
Average speed (on the Great Circle): 10.52 knots
Actual average speed: 11.70 knots

Main image © Polaryse

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