In February we wrote of an inspirational sailor who sailed a wooden 5.6m Ness Yawl from Istanbul to London, overcoming a multitude of privations. (See http://www.sail-world.com/index_d.cfm?nid=106490!Sail-World_story). Now that sailor, Giacomo de Stefano, has won 'Person of the Year' in the Classic Boat Awards, and honoured in the awards ceremony this week. Here, we reproduce his acceptance speech, read by his friend Alireza Iravani, which explains, in part, why this sailor deserved his award:
Giacomo De Stefano - has won Classic Boat ’Person of the Year’ Award.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
For me, it is a very emotional moment to receive this prestigious award, and I am so sorry not to be there with you tonight.
First of all I would like to thank the air, the water, animals and all the people who helped me to complete this project successfully. A special thank goes also to The Classic Boat staff, Dan Houston, Steffan Meyric Hughes, Adrian Morgan, and all others.
It’s hard to believe that a mountain boy like me which for years, used to dream of beautiful wooden boats published in The Classic Boat, to be voted as the person of the year by the addicted readers of that sort of Classic Wooden Boat Addicts’ 'Porn Magazine'!
And a particular thanks goes to Mr Iain Oughtred who designed the Ness Yawl. Malgrè moi she was able to reach safe and sound to Istanbul.
I am water, we all are at least 70% water. That includes the alcohol rate which, I guess, will be higher later on tonight!
My trip was a great chance to learn how beautiful is to sail, row and live peacefully in harmony with the nature and human beings. No tricky engine, no electric stuff, no nonsense.
This voyage was more than having fun on a beautiful boat. It was living with less. And with less, I learned, we can do more.
Please, just consider one moment about what can be done for this 'miracle' called Planet Earth, with boats, possibly, clean boats.
After the conclusion of the Man on the River project we have learned that more than 50 families established their own activity, working with nature, not against it, along the Riverbanks of Europe. For me and for all my team this is a great achievement.
So, thanks again to everybody. I would be happy to meet you, have a chat, or just row or sail. Just call me.
I’ll be sailing or working on the water somewhere.
Be water my friends. And please drink whatever you like tonight.
Giacomo De Stefano
Giacomo sailing on French canal
Giacomo in Istanbul