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Global Solo Challenge: Italian Andrea Mura to set off on Nov 18

by Margherita Pelaschier / Global Solo Challenge 10 Nov 2023 02:50 PST
Andrea Mura – Route du Rhum – October 2010 © AFPA

Italian sailor Andrea Mura is driven by a special wind, a wind that carries the name and spirit of his homeland: Sardinia. This wind has not only inspired the name of his project and his boat, "Vento di Sardegna" (Wind of Sardinia), but also symbolizes the pride he has for his origins.

Speaking of his dream, Mura states: "I wish to sail around the world solo by participating in the Global Solo Challenge with my boat companion of a thousand adventures. In 2007, I bought this Open 50' with the intention of making Sardinia known throughout the world through my sporting endeavors. Indeed, since 2008, I have sailed under the Sardinian flag called "Quattro Mori", participating in numerous offshore races both nationally and internationally and claiming multiple victories. I am convinced that the GSC, in addition to representing the opportunity to realize a personal project close to my heart, is also a unique chance to promote my wonderful land worldwide."

Andrea's passion for sailing is rooted in his childhood, nurtured by his father Sergio Mura, one of the founders of the Yacht Club Cagliari, who passed on the love for the sea. "In the '70s, at the age of 6, I began sailing. My father introduced me to this sport that has become my life. I have participated in many races, but I certainly cannot forget the victories in the Ostar of 2013 and 2017."

Mura began his journey in the world of sailing on dinghies, in double-handed classes. During the eight years he served in the Italian National Sailing Team, in the 420 and 470 categories, he participated in three attempts to qualify for the Olympic Games. His remarkable achievements earned him, aged just eighteen, the Silver Medal for athletic merit. Later, Mura moved on to sail on larger boats, from J24s to Maxi yachts.

In 1989, the career of the Italian sailor took a significant turn when Tommaso Chieffi invited him to join the crew of "Il Moro di Venezia". As a mainsail trimmer, Mura and the crew led by Paul Cayard won the Louis Vuitton Cup and then participated in the 28th edition of the America's Cup in 1992, which was won by America". In the early 2000s, Andrea continued to sail, covering roles such as mainsail trimmer and tactical support in prestigious international regattas. He distinguished himself aboard "Bribón" with the crew of King Juan Carlos of Spain and "My Song" of Pierluigi Loro Piana, confirming his talent and versatility.

Despite his success in crewed racing, the call of solo sailing, a discipline practiced by few in Italy, was strong. In 2007, he purchased the Open 50 "Wind Express" from Pasquale De Gregorio, which had participated in the Vendée Globe 2000-2001, and launched the "Vento di Sardegna" project. His solo sailing career started successfully: in 2010, after winning three editions of the Roma x 2, he took part in the Route du Rhum, where he won first place in the Rhum class, becoming the first Italian to achieve such a feat. In 2012, his skills were further confirmed when he won the Two-Handed Transatlantic Race (or Twostar) from Plymouth to Newport, both in real-time and corrected IRC time, double-handed with Riccardo Apolloni. In 2013, Mura won the OSTAR for the first time in 17 days, 11 hours, and 12 minutes, and the following year he finished second in his category at the Route du Rhum. He then began preparing a campaign to participate in the 2016-17 Vendée Globe but, due to a lack of funds, the project was abandoned, and the IMOCA he was building was sold. In 2017, he had a sporting comeback, winning the OSTAR for the second time with a four-day lead over the second place.

A long career, but Andrea states, "Every individual is unique and has their own story. For me, facing this challenge is an important milestone. Thanks to my experience, I am able to combine the roles of skipper and designer and tester in my project. I prepared in a very short time because I have long desired to undertake such an endeavor. I believe that determination is the trait of my character that has allowed me to be resolute in pursuing this goal and will surely help me to successfully complete it. I would like to become the first sailor in the history of my region to circumnavigate the planet solo, to demonstrate that Sardinians are also sailros." Finishing the GSC solo, without assistance and without stopping, would in any case make him only the fifth Italian to succeed in the feat after Simone Bianchetti, Pasquale De Gregorio, Alessandro Di Benedetto, and Giancarlo Pedote.

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