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GJW Direct 2024 Dinghy

8 Metre World Championship at Yacht Club Italiano - Opening Ceremony

by Yacht Club Italiano 27 Aug 2023 18:11 BST 28 August - 2 September 2023
8 Metre Worlds in Genoa © Jack Taylor

With the opening ceremony at the headquarters of the Yacht Club Italiano in Genoa, the World Championship of the 8 Metre Class officially started today at 18:00. This championship will see 20 yachts from 9 nations racing from Monday, August 28th, to Saturday, September 2nd.

The challenging weather conditions of the past few days did not prevent the boats from going out to sea yesterday for a tune-up regatta. The official start of the races - with the first race scheduled to start at 10:30 tomorrow, Monday, August 28th - is subject to weather conditions, which currently show an orange alert for the area. The fleet present in Genoa is incredibly diverse, with the boats having a considerable age difference. The oldest yacht, the Swiss Silhouette owned by Daniel C. Heine, dates back to 1910, while the most recent, Mirabelle from 2013, is owned by Australian Peter Harburg - who is also the owner of the 100' Black Jack, the line honours winner of the 2023 Giraglia and Palermo-Montecarlo.

Within the fleet, there are 3 Italian yachts: Serena Seragnoli Galvani's Aria (1936) representing the Yacht Club Italiano, Vera Mogna's Bona (1934) and Paolo Manzoni's Vision (1930).

The inaugural ceremony was attended by the Mayor of Genoa, Marco Bucci, who greeted and thanked all the sailors, along with the President of the International 8 Metre Class, Werner Deuring, and Yacht Club Italiano's President, Gerolamo Bianchi.

"It is an honor for our region to host the 8 Metre World Championship. Greetings to all the participants: I am sure they will be enchanted by our sea as well as our land. Kudos go to the Yacht Club Italiano for bringing a sports event to Genoa that will be exciting in its technical aspects but will also carry the scent of sailing history," said Simona Ferro, the Sports Assessor of the Liguria Region, who is always at the forefront of supporting the club's sports activities.

The 8 Metre S.I., a long history and a great tradition

In 1906, in London, the International Yacht Racing Association (IYRA) established the International Rule for Yacht Measurement and Rating, which definitively abandoned the 'tonnage' formula in favor of the "metric" distinction. This was done to overcome the long-standing problem that arose in international sailing events where each nation followed its own measurement and racing rules. Italy was represented by the Regio Yacht Club Italiano with Count Eugenio Brunetta di Usseax.

The new rule, promoted by Mr. Heckstall-Smith, who influenced the measurement formulas and contributed to the evolution of the modern yacht, was approved by the federal representatives of eleven nations. This led to the creation of a new regulation that transformed the previous English measurement formulas. It was extended to sailing classes of 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 15, 19, and 23 meters and the "Class A" for yachts over 23 meters.

Among the most enthusiastic organizations was the Yacht Club Italiano: in 1908, the YCI approved the award of the Coppa Italia to the 'new' vessels of the 8 Metre S.I. Class.

With an 8 Metre, we also witnessed a major sailing innovation with the new genoa jib, which was conceptually conceived and experimented for the first time on Cheta, owned by club member Francesco Giovanelli, during the 1925 Coppa Italia. Another 8 Metre from the Yacht Club Italiano, Italia, won the first Olympic gold medal in Kiel in 1936.

Today, the 8 Metre Class, with its long history, has seen the involvement of the most important naval architects of all time (Johan Anker, William Fife, Charles Nicholson, Beltrami, Alfred Mylne, Olin Stephens, Costaguta, Starling Burgess, Clinton Crane, Francois Camatte, Baglietto, Bjarne Aas, Frank Paine, Tore Holm, Gustav Estlander, Max Oertz, Henry Rasmussen, Jacques Fauroux, Ed Dubois, Pelle Peterson, Ian Howlett, Doug Peterson... to name a few). The Class is widely spread in Northern Europe and boasts over 100 perfectly restored boats around the world.

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