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Meet the fleet #6 - Alex and Giovanni ITA

by International 29er Class 19 May 17:25 BST
Alex and Giovanni ITA © International 29er Class

Men's World Silver Medallists and EuroCup Series Winners 2022, Italians Alex Demurtas and Giovanni Santi take the spotlight.

How old are you?

We are 17 (Alex) and 18 (Giovanni).

How long have you sailed the 29er?

We have been sailing together for one and a half year (we started training in September 2021); Alex had just finished sailing Optimist while Giovanni had been sailing as a helmsman since 2019.

What do you love about sailing the 29er and the racing?

About sailing 29er we really love the speed of the boat, which sails way faster than other under-19 boats, and its technical way of sailing. We really like competing in top places against high-level fleets, and we think 29er regattas are loyal to this description. Going on, it's a possibility for us to get to know new people and also make some important experiences in the sailing world.

What are your strengths as a team? Who does which jobs in the boat and what are you both good at?

Our biggest strength is the fact that we are always able to come back when a race becomes difficult: for example, when we are penalized with a yellow flag or get stuck during the start, we always find a way to get out of the bad situation and get back into the game. We think that this happens because we are able to keep concentrated and focused on the race, which helps us to race with our mind clear so that we make the right decision at the right moment.

We have separate roles on the boat: Giovanni thinks about setting the boat and keeping it fast in all the moments, while Alex is more concentrated on the wind shifts and the opponents, so he covers the strategy and tactics. The boat is sailed by two, and the decision of a manoeuvre is made by both of us, so we both need to stay concentrated in order to avoid any technical or strategical error.

Why do you think you've been so successful in the 29er and what are your future goals in the class?

We think that our "success" comes from the fact that we sail 29er our way, we have developed our own way of sailing which is good for us and is different from the others in some aspects; we could say that our way of sailing is all about feeling the power of the boat and making fluid movements to keep it fast during conduction and manoeuvres. While sailing the Optimist we learned a lot about strategy and tactics and now we are just applying our knowledge and the results are showing.

Our goals for the future in 29er are of course to get better and better, as we want to master the boat (there is still a lot of room for improving), and possibly get to win as much as possible.

Who/what has inspired you and your successes?

We haven't always sailed together in the same team, therefore we had different sailing experiences while growing up, and we were trained by different coaches, who were the principal figures who pushed us to go further. Both of us were always fascinated by the world of America's Cup, which is represented in Italy by Luna Rossa, and in general by the Italian sailing tradition which is full of great sailors, such as Giovanni Soldini, Francesco Bruni and, in more recent days, Ruggero Tita.

Do you have any top tips for people just starting in the 29er and those looking to improve their performance for next year?

The most important tip from us is to train the strategy and tactics, and not only the technique, as strategy and tactics are the ones that win you regattas and they are a central point in sailing, therefore they are important also for your future in other classes.

What are your future sailing goals, dreams and ambitions?

Our aim for the future is to keep sailing: to become professional sailors would be a dream, as we both are really in love with the sport. We don't already know if we will be sailing in Olympic classes or in foiling boats or whatever the future can bring; what we know is only that we will try our best to make this passion become our work.

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