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Unstoppable Spirit of Portopiccolo

ICONIC SAIL | Asia Bernardini

The curtain has fallen on the 5th edition of the Venice Hospitality Challenge, considered the sailing Gran Prix of Venice, with the Class 1 and overall victory going to Spirit of Portopiccolo – Ca’Sagredo. After the start given by Regatta Committee President Gianfrano Frizzarin in front of Punta della Salute, featuring water jets spraying from a tugboat, the sixty seconds before the start were highlighted by a striking oar raise from the Royal Bucintoro Company.

The boats, moored at Marina Santelena, started off heading towards Lido, went around a buoy at Sant’Elena, and then headed for San Marco lagoon where a very unusual route mark was waiting for them: for the first time in the history of yachting worldwide, the route mark was a car, an Audi Q8 Mild Hybrid, moored on a floating pontoon that the boats went around before arriving at the finish line. Spirit of Portopiccolo – Ca’ Sagredo, helmed by Furio Benussi, took command of the fleet from the start, along a route that had never been so full of splendor, and also dominated the final stretch along the Giudecca canal all the way to the finish line.

“It was a great victory; at first it seemed predictable, but Way of Life gave us a run for our money to the very end. The crew stayed focus, and we are happy to be the next edition’s defenders,” says the undisputed winner Furio Benussi. wLorenza Lain – General Manager of Ca’ Sagredo Hotel – echoes his satisfaction. “We won for the third consecutive time, the second with Spirit of Portopiccolo. Ca’ Sagredo staff and I are very pleased with this result, in a very important event for the whole City of Venice.” Second at the finish line was Way of Life – The Gritti Hotel helmed by Gaspar Vincec while third overall at the finish line, first in class 2, was Pendragon VI – Hilton Molino Stucky helmed by Lorenzo Bodini. This year the Venice Hospitality Challenge had twelve famous maxi yachts competing together with luxury Venetian hôtellerie.



The awards ceremony was held at VYP Venice Yacht Pier, where high-profile figures from international sailing took part, such as World Sailing President Kim Andersen. During the awards ceremony, Mirko Sguario presented the “Ambassador” doge hat, made by historic Murano glassworks company B.F. Signoretti, to Riccardo Bonadeo, Mauro Pelaschier and Marco Gradoni, with the hope that they can become ambassadors to the world representing the Venice Hospitality Challenge, the only regatta that takes place in a city circuit. “We have already reached the fifth edition of this unique event by the Yacht Club Venice, a young institution that is making itself known with the realization of very diversified events, which aim to draw attention to Venice and its extraordinary potential.

The VHC is undoubtedly the flagship of Venice’s sailing events because of its unique concept. This year we extend special thanks to Dr. Riccardo Bonadeo, Commodore of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, together with Mauro Pelaschier for his great efforts in the One Ocean project to protect the seas, an international ethical project that must be an example for all of us to follow,” concludes Mirko Sguario, creator of the Venice Hospitality Challenge.



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