Sailing at Portopiccolo
It’s a great pleasure for us to share this post from our UK dealer Nicholas and Nicholas Marine, about Italia Yachts Open Days in Portopiccolo.
We had the great pleasure of attending the Italia Yachts 4-day sailing Event at the new stunning Portopiccolo Sistiana Marina Village.
Portopiccolo is an extraordinary sailing village. It was sculpted from the hills next to Sistiana, with the marina scooped out at below sea level with the retaining land still in place. The marina entrance was then blown open and the marina village born. It is so new that Portopiccolo is still seen as a quarried work in progress on Google Earth.
Portopiccolo is just an hour and a bit from Venice by hire car and a mere 15 minutes from the historical city of Trieste.
We arrived the evening before the sailing event started and enjoyed a fish supper in the adjoining fishing port/marina of Sistiana with some of the Italia team including Federico, who had sailed the 9.98 Club down overnight single handed in poor weather conditions – happy but tired he perked up to his ever cheerful self over supper and a few welcome beers.
After a meal of pasta and freshly caught fish, we returned to our beds at the charming Tre Noci hotel in Sistiana village.
The next day, we made our leisurely way to the marina. Sailing at Portopiccolo is not the only thing this beautiful village has to offer; in addition to the brand new state of the art marina, the apartments and villas are served by ample restaurants, upmarket shops, and coffee bars to suit all tastes.
Italia Yachts founder and CEO Franco Corazza was on hand to greet us with an ever welcome espresso at its Italian finest. Whilst Jill nipped into some of the many shops to upgrade her deck shoes and light weather sailing tops, I jumped aboard the brand new Italia yachts 9.98 Club racehorse for a sail with our good friend, Franco. We also had Matteo Polli, the designer of the 9.98 Club, with us to tweak the string and suggest how to fine tune this ORC winner.
Securing the boat back at its pontoon, as luck had it, the very pleased owner of the brand new Italia yachts 15.98, arrived and very kindly offered to take us out on its maiden voyage with Stefano Quaggiotti Italia’s General Sales Manager and a number of potential new owners. Surely the jewel in Italia’s crown and a queen amongst Italian Luxury Cruising yachts, the 15.98 sailed us serenely around the Portopiccolo bay, within sight of the Slovenian Coast and back to touching distance of the two castles on each local headland all the way with the new owner grinning broadly – perhaps a bigger tribute for Franco than all the awards Italia has won in its short life to date.
We then joined the very content new owners and the Italia team for lunch at one of coffee bars on the marina.
After a very pleasant interlude getting to appreciate Italian food and wine (one glass only for the sailors), we joined the owner of the Italia yachts 12.98 who took us out for a sail around the Portopiccolo coastline. After reacquainting us with the unrivaled sailing characteristics of the award winning 12.98, we were once more back on shore and heading off to Trieste airport to collect our guests, prospective 12.98 buyers from London.
Despite it being 1800 when we arrived back at Sistiana/Portopiccolo, our guest was keen to head straight down to the see the boats.
Franco and Federico Boldrin – Italia’s Customer Care team leader – refreshed by a night’s sleep after his tussle with the elements the night before, took us out on the 13.98 which despite the light winds showed her breeding by picking up her skirts and making off at a quite lively pace. No sooner had we landed, Italia’s P.R., Cristina Tiozzo, herded us off to a Pizza Restaurant just up the hill in the Portopiccolo complex. It was such a relaxed meal that at 2245 we remembered that our guests had not booked in and so skipped off with our nominated driver, Jill, to hastily beg the indulgence of the proprietor of the family owned hotel for such a late book in. He gracefully blamed his staff rather than our forgetfulness and seemed just happy to have another guest booking in.
The next day, our last, was a day of test sailing at Portopiccolo with the Italia 12.98. After another leisurely start, our guests had light and fluky winds to contend with, giving us a chance to see her behave in a difficult range of strengths and directions. Italia, however, build their boats to be fine sailing vessels first, and unsurprisingly, even in low F3’s we were at hull speed.
After another equally lovely lunch at Oro di Napoli we went out on a final outing of Italia’s thoroughbred racer the 9.98 Club. It was easy to see the ORC / IRC race winning pedigree, especially with many-time champion racer, CEO Franco Corazza, at the wheel and boats designer and sailing champion, Matteo Polli, doing the work of what would be an 8 man crew in a race. Since 2010, Matteo has been involved with a number of race teams to tweak their boat’s performance. including the Low Noise team. Low Noise II, an Italia 9.98F was the first entry for ORC Worlds Trieste 2017.
Dinner at Tre Noci hotel in Sistiana that night with the addition of more potential buyers, a very charming couple from America who were also retracing their wedding and honeymoon in Italy a few years earlier. No time to further their acquaintance, as we were off with the dawn chorus to jump aboard Ryan Air from Venice and spend the next 2 hours reflecting on a couple of memorable days sailing and meeting some fabulous people.