Mini Transat: Ambrogio Beccaria pushes hard to take win

At 16:31 UTC on Friday in Le Marin in Martinique, Ambrogio Beccaria took the win (prior to the decisions of the jury) in the production boat category on the second leg of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère after 13 days, 01 hour, 58 minutes and 48 seconds of racing.

Not content with having dominated the production fleet from beginning to end, Ambrogio also kept pace with the very best of the prototypes to finish third overall.

Having already secured victory on the first leg, the Italian sailor, who was participating in the event for the second consecutive time, finishes the event as the outright champion of the production category in this 22nd edition.

“I feel very emotional. I’ve been working towards this for the past five years. That’s it now, I’ve done it! I haven’t got a true grasp of what’s happened yet, it’s really a dream come true. I was leading the whole time, but out on the water it wasn’t easy,” Ambrogio said.

“The first week was very intense. I didn’t think we’d be able to push so hard! I said to myself that we really were a group of nutcases to enjoy hurting ourselves to this extent. In fact, it’s a mixture of pain and pleasure.

“A lot of physical suffering was involved. We were underwater for a week. We’re not fish. The human body isn’t designed for that. Fortunately the next stage of the race was a little calmer; otherwise I don’t know how I’d have held out… I was able to think about the man and not just the boat, which was a dictator (laughs).

“It was a positive sign to have the status of favourite at the start. However, on the flipside of that, I was putting a lot of pressure on myself too. I handled the pressure though. I came here to win and I’d have been disappointed not to achieve that.

“It’s great to have made it here to Le Marin. I don’t know why but it’s a lot more beautiful than it was two years ago (Ambrogio finished 26th production boat in 2017). There must be a reason for that (laughs)!

“We set off with big winds and seas. Everyone got a bit frightened in Las Palmas. My coach often says that you need to be the first to reduce your sail area, but also the first to hoist it. So I attacked hard and the boat was incredible in the breeze; she’s a plane! I got into the rhythm.

“My boat is simple. I reckon they must have frightened themselves more in the prototype fleet. I didn’t think it would be possible to compete with the top prototypes.

“I did a massive broach where I bent by bowsprit, but miraculously it’s still there! It scared me. I said to myself that things could very quickly go pear-shaped. Victory can slip through your fingers in 20 seconds.

“Even though I knew that I had a big lead, I always had it in the back of my mind that anything can happen in offshore racing at any time and make you start everything from scratch.”

“When I realised I was going to win, I completely lost the plot. I was on totally the wrong tacks as I approached the line; it was sheer madness, to the extent that this morning I was questioning whether my competitors had caught up with me. It’s more powerful than me; I always have these little niggles when I’m on the water.

“I’ve fallen in love with this sport and I want to take it even further. This victory certainly makes you even more driven to experience new adventures. I can’t wait!”

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