I sail alone. Competition and the ocean according to Ambrogio Beccaria

A life aboard a boat, even if it seemed impossible. When you fall in love with an emotion thanks to the north-westerly wind, it's hard to stop. Beccaria's and Pirelli's desire for challenge and knowledge has chosen to embrace his solo experience

Home race I sail alone. Competition and the ocean according to Ambrogio Beccaria
I sail alone. Competition and the ocean according to Ambrogio Beccaria

Born in 1991, Milanese, sailor graduated in Nautical Engineering. Ambrogio Beccaria is an atypical ocean sailor. Scholar of all the characteristics of the boat and sailing, who maintains a visceral relationship with the sea and has such competitiveness that distinguishes the most experienced athletes. He is the first Italian to win the Mini Transat, a solo transatlantic race from France to the Caribbean, reserved for the Mini 6.50, which is normally won by the French themselves.

All these distinctive features inevitably unite him to Pirelli's style and values, which in fact decided to sponsor him for over two years and accompany in the most iconic solo races. Among these is the Route du Rhum, which the sailor himself defines as "the solo ocean regatta par excellence"

When did the passion for solo sailing begin?

'Nobody in my family is passionate about sailing, so this passion started by chance, one summer afternoon in a summer camp in Sardinia. There I found the adrenaline thanks to the north-westerly wind that made me discover what it means to glide'.

What is the role of nature in this sport?

'It is a little bit like a travel companion. However, I do not believe that men can actually dominate an extreme, wild nature. I believe that this sport creates an equilibrium, the sailor must find a relationship with nature and when he succeeds it is because he has been accepted by such an extreme environment. This happens even more in solo sailing. It pushes you to go beyond your limits and it is in those moments that I really feel connected with nature: when everything is complicated and you have to manage your energy'.

How was your passion for solo sailing born?

'It was born when I decided I wanted to learn more. I wanted to discover as much as possible of the sea, of the ocean, of sailing. And doing it alone was the way to force me to investigate everything'.

Are there any milestones in your sailor's career?

'The first one was in high school, when we took a boat with friends and decided to compete with very experienced sailors. We learnt a lot. The second, equally important, was when I decided to buy a Mini 6.50, an abandoned wreck of a boat in Lisbon with which I started sailing alone'.

You have studied engineering. How is it related to sailing?

'Combining study and experience was clearly a great help. It gave me some ideas to work on the sensitivity of the seafarer in the heart of the sea. I have always been passionate about physics and I find that boats have always been considered something too simple, perhaps because people have always sailed. On the contrary, thanks to my studies I have a more scientific approach and I am convinced that boats, instead, are a much more complex system'.

What have you discovered with this discipline?

'After all these miles you navigate one of the things that I have discovered and that I most like to do, is the study of meteorology. It feels like magic to me. We talk about forecasts, looking at the horizon and being able to understand what will happen in that moment or maybe in a day. It is something that fascinates me very much'.

And what have you found out about yourself?

'That I feel very good on my own. It's something that gives me great strength. Being able to feel good about yourself is an advantage not only during sailing, but also in the life of any human being'.

How was the relationship with Pirelli born?

It all started with a phone call with Maurizio Abet a year ago. It was a difficult moment for me and I was convinced that I had an extremely valid project, with great potential, but I could not find anyone who wanted to embark on this adventure with me. Speaking with Maurizio I was lucky enough to find someone who knew what I was talking about, who knew and knew ocean sailing because he had already worked with Soldini. It was a breath of fresh air because usually I always had to explain what I did, explain what ocean sailing was: a real uphill race.

What pushed you to launch into this project?

'Research and innovation. The study of sailboats over the last twenty years has led to a doubling of the average speed of boats. It is a constantly evolving sport, and it is above all for this reason that I decided to launch into the construction of a new project. There is so much to investigate and I want to do it, I do want it, with my way of sailing'.

How do you prepare for a crossing?

'My typical day is very varied. You don't have to leave anything behind.  Personally, I really like working on the study of the boat, finding the potential is not a foregone conclusion. It is not enough to push the accelerator to the maximum, there are many small details that must be adjusted and it is something that most of the time must be done in team. After that, we must not neglect our body, both from a physical and mental point of view, because motivation is also part of the preparation'.

How do you sleep when sailing solo?

'On board there is an automatic pilot that can steer really well. Where to sleep is given by the wind conditions instead. If it comes from the left, I'll tend to sleep on the left. Let's say you try to adapt your weight to the conditions of the boat and in any case you sleep very little'.

What fascinates you about the Route du Rhum?

'It is the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean alone par excellence and it is considered one of the most important and toughest races in the world. I'm fascinated by everything that has to do with the route. You start from the north of France and with just one jump you get to the other side. Usually there is a stopover at the Canary Islands, where you have to face the so-called route of Columbus, being forced to sail in the deep trade winds. In the Route du Rhum, on the contrary, the routes are fan-shaped, to the north there are thousands of routes to investigate and it is a thing that any sailor dreams of being able to do'.

Is there someone you're inspired by?

'Even before I met him, Giovanni Soldini. His book "Nel Blu" has made me realize that such a life is possible'.

What would you say to your 14-year-old self?

'Accept fear. Being afraid is fine, it allowed me to take a stand on something that many people told me not to do and instead I succeeded. Perhaps I would pat little Ambrose on the shoulder'.

What artwork does sailing remind you of?

'Wanderer above the Sea of Fog. I think it is a painting that describes well the attraction that man has for the sublime. It is not necessarily an extremely beautiful thing, but it is extremely wild, like in my case'

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