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The 50th edition of Barcolana: the largest regatta in the world

by Emily Caroe 12 Aug 2018 12:58 BST 5-14 October 2018
Barcolana International Sailing Regatta at Trieste, Italy © Max Ranchi /

October 1969: It all started 50 years ago, when 51 sailing boats lined up on the startline in light winds for the first edition of Barcolana. There were no illusions of grandeur, it was to be a simple. pure, regatta, open to everyone, held at the end of the racing season on the second Sunday of October. The only requirement to join was to have, or to join, a sailing boat!

Since the beginning, Barcolana has been organised by the yacht club Società Velica di Barcola e Grignano (SVBG), a small club, whose club burgee was inspired by the peace flag, set up just a few months earlier in December 1968. Barcolana has grown in stature over the past fifty years and now welcomes competitors from all over the world in a festival atmosphere to celebrate together the spirit of sailing.

October 2018: SVBG, a breeding ground for some of the world's very best sailors with world champions, Olympians and America's Cup sailors in its alumni, now has over 600 club members and continues to organise the largest regatta in the world - Barcolana. In 2017, 2,101 yachts lined up for the start – a world record – and with over 25,000 people on the water and 300,000 on land, the city of Trieste comes alive for this unique spectacle.

Barcolana 50 will run from Friday 5 to Sunday 14 October 2018: ten exciting days on land and at sea with over 350 events across sailing, water sports, culture, art, social and educational workshops on the theme of the sea. Continuing the tradition of always racing on the second Sunday of October, the 2018 edition will be held 14 October. The traditional quadrilateral race course runs 13 nautical miles from Barcola and Miramare to the waters off piazza Unità, Trieste's city centre. Online registrations are open at

To mark the 50th anniversary, the start line will honoured with a fly-by from the Italian Air Force aerobatics display team (Pattuglia Acrobatica - Frecce Tricolori). While the fleet readies itself for the starting gun, the colours of the Italian flag will stretch for three kilometres in the sky above the start line between Barcola and Miramare.

The press conferences in Milan and London (at the Italian Embassy, in the presence of Ambassador Raffaele Trombetta, illycaffè Chairman Andrea Illy, SVBG Chairman Mitja Gialuz, Lorenzo Desalvo, Musement marketing manager) are the first official events that will unveil the regatta's poster designed by Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic with illy.

The two conferences will also present BarcolanaExperiences and the tourist packages created by Musement and available on for visitors to plan their ideal trip to Trieste and join the event either on land or sea.

"We are extremely proud and excited to be launching today the 50th edition of Barcolana – the world's biggest regatta," commented SVBG Chairman Mitja Gialuz.

"We are also proud to be honouring our forebearers who had the vision to start this regatta in 1968, and today, 50 years on, we aspire to continue with the same values and traditions of our founding fathers. The 2018 edition of Barcolan will be particularly special and the whole city of Trieste is coming together to celebrate.

"The Barcolana spirit will shine through with over 300 events on land and at sea creating a unique experience for everyone. The keyword this year is 'involvement': sailing is for everyone. The sea belongs to us all and we will celebrate our shared passion for the waters around us, sharing the spirit of the sport with sailors and non-sailors alike.

"We very much hope that Barcolana 2018 will be spoken about with great joy for many years to come."


  • 26 September - Registrations open for Barcolana50
  • 5 October - Event inauguration
  • 6-14 October - Trieste Seafront Barcolana50 Village activities
  • 6 October - Concert in Piazza dell'Unità (In aid of the Trieste Children's Hospital IRCCS Burlo Garofolo charity)
  • 6-7 October, at sea Barcolana Young (Optimist regatta), Barcolana Nuota (open water swimming), Lega Italiana Vela (Italian Sailing League): under 19 kickoff (J70 regattas).
  • 10-13 October, at sea M32 Circuit Final Race
  • 12 October, at sea Italian Navy League (LNI) Regatta, Barcolana Invitational
  • 13 October, at sea Generali Cup (J70), Barcolana by Night (Ufo), Barcolana Classic (Vintage yachts)
  • 13 October, in mare Generali Cup (J70), Barcolana di Notte (Ufo, Meteor, J70), Barcolana Classic (epoca)
  • 14 October - Barcolana50

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