Hempel Two Person Offshore Worlds: Italian duo’s resounding victory

Giovanna Valsecchi & Andrea Pendibene have sailed to a resounding victory on leg two of the 2021 Hempel Mixed Two Person Offshore World Championship in Italy.

The crew representing Marina Militare (Italian Navy) crossed the finish line at Marina di Ravenna at 13:19 hours on Wednesday afternoon, around 15 miles ahead of their nearest rivals. This has been a predominantly light airs, upwind leg, with the fleet of 10 Figaro 3 keelboats racing 300 miles from Bari in the south of Italy.

Giovanna Valsecchi & Andrea Pendibene holding flag on their boat following the finish.
Giovanna Valsecchi said, “I know everything about Andrea, he knows everything about me. We know our strengths and what we prefer… That is why we are a good team.” Pic – MMNRT/Zerogradinord

Of the three legs in the 2021 Hempel Mixed Two Person Offshore World Championship, this is the most significant in terms of overall points. After the winner’s lunch time victory, it looks like the best of the rest will drift across the finish sometime around sunset. Lying in second place on the water is the other Italian entry, Team ENIT, with Claudia Rossi and Pietro D’Alì keeping a close eye on the chasing pack.

Along with Team ENIT, the closest rivals for a podium finish are a group of boats all within a mile of each other, including Team South Africa (Michaela Robinson / Siyanda Vato), Team Belgium (Sophia Faguet & Jonas Gerckens) and Team Sweden (Lennea Floser / Martin Stromberg).

Most experienced offshore racer and winner of leg one, Guillermo Altadill, is back in seventh place, an indicator of just how tough and unpredictable this leg has been. If Team ESP are struggling, anyone can struggle. Which is why Andrea Pendebene was so delighted with his unexpected victory alongside his long-time sailing partner Giovanna Valsecchi. “You always have big emotions when you win, but even more when we arrive in front of legends like Altadill and D’Ali; it’s not possible!

“There were two options on this leg. All the other guys sailed towards the land, for the land breeze, or you go the other way for the other wind out to sea. We decided to go for the other wind, sail direct, minimum manoeuvres, keep it simple.”

Part of the strength of the Marina Militare duo is the fact that they have been sailing together for nine years. “We are only one person,” said Valsecchi. “I know everything about Andrea, he knows everything about me. We know our strengths and what we prefer. In light wind, I like to helm, and he prefers to helm in strong wind. That is why we are a good team.”

Giovanna Valsecchi & Andrea Pendibene on a kite reach waving. One of them is sitting on the windward finn/foil coming out from the boat.
For the final leg, competitors will sail from Marina di Ravenna to Venice. Pic – MMNRT/Zerogradinord

There are ten teams from eight nations competing in this inaugural World Championships. Part of the 2021 Marina Militare Nastro Rosa Tour which has already seen the Figaro 3 fleet navigate the western seaboard of Italy, the 2021 Hempel Mixed Two Person Offshore World Championship is an 816nm race that is being played out across three stunning stages along the Adriatic coast:

Leg 1: Brindisi to Bari
Leg 2: Bari to Marina di Ravenna
Leg 3: Marina di Ravenna to Venice

There are teams representing Italy, Belgium, USA, South Africa, Great Britain, Spain, Sweden and Poland.

The event concludes at the end of leg three in Venice, when the first ever winners of the 2021 Hempel Mixed Two Person Offshore World Championship will stand on the podium in one of Italy’s most beautiful cities.

For more information, see: https://www.nastrorosatour.it/

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