Azzurra, the boat which ignited a passion for the America's Cup in Italy, has returned to her original home in Porto Cervo where she will remain on permanent exhibition in front of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda clubhouse. Tomorrow, Saturday 14th September, the Club will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Azzurra's challenge for the 'Auld Mug'.
Azzurra ’83 and TP52 Azzurra in Porto Cervo
The summer of 83 was an unforgettable one for Italy, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) launched the first Italian challenge for the America's Cup with the International 12 Metre Class boat Azzurra. Among the foremost promoters of the challenge were H.H. the Aga Khan, President of the YCCS, and Gianni Agnelli. The team's philosophy was clear, as summed up by H.H. the Aga Khan: 'We will face this breathtaking series of regattas with the humility of newcomers but with the conviction that we are worthy of participating.'
Azzurra exceeded all expectations when she reached the semi-finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup. Led by skipper Cino Ricci and helmsman Mauro Pelaschier, backed by 17 Italian companies and managed by Gianfranco Alberini, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo and Riccardo Bonadeo, Azzurra brought terms such as windward, jibe and spinnaker into everyday use. A host of babies born in 1983 were named Azzurra and it is safe to say that the feats of the 12 metre in Newport paved the way for the extensive media coverage of the Il Moro di Venezia and Luna Rossa campaigns that would follow.
To mark the 30th anniversary, the YCCS has positioned the fully restored original Azzurra '83 hull at the entrance to the marina of Porto Cervo. A celebratory event will be held at the YCCS Clubhouse during which Princess Zahra Aga Khan - Godmother to the current Azzurra TP52, just as her mother was Godmother of Azzurra '83 - will unveil a commemorative plaque retracing the story of the historic boat.
The new Azzurra - a modern, technological Transpac 52 hull owned by YCCS Member Alberto Roemmers - will be moored alongside Azzurra '83 to symbolize the sporting spirit passed on from the original campaign to the modern one.
In addition to the ceremony at the YCCS an Azzurra Party open to all will be held at Phi Beach in Baja Sardinia from 8 p.m.