Ambrogio Beccaria: “I didn’t think we’d be able to push so hard!
At 16:31 UTC this Friday, Ambrogio Beccaria took the win (prior to the decisions of the jury) in Le Marin in Martinique of the production boat category in the second leg of the Mini-Transat La Boulangère after 13 days, 01 hour, 58 minutes and 48 seconds of racing. Not content with having dominated the race from beginning to end in the production fleet, Ambrogio also managed to keep pace with the very best of the prototypes to finish 3rd overall. Having already secured victory in the first leg, the Italian sailor, who was participating in the event for the second consecutive time, finishes the event as the outright champion of the production category in this 22nd edition (prior to the decisions of the jury). Here are his initial reactions.
“I’ve been working towards this for the past five years”
“I feel very emotional. I’ve been working towards this for the past five years. That’s it now, I’ve done it! I haven’t got a true grasp of what’s happened yet, it’s really a dream come true. I was leading the whole time, but out on the water it wasn’t easy.”
“A mixture of pain and pleasure”
“The first week was very intense. I didn’t think we’d be able to push so hard! I said to myself that we really were a group of nutcases to enjoy hurting ourselves to this extent. In fact, it’s a mixture of pain and pleasure. A lot of physical suffering was involved. We were underwater for a week. We’re not fish. The human body isn’t designed for that. Fortunately the next stage of the race was a little calmer, otherwise I don’t know how I’d have held out… I was able to think about the man and not just the boat, which was a dictator (laughs).”
“I put pressure on myself…”
“It was a positive sign to have the status of favourite at the start. However, on the flipside of that I was putting a lot of pressure on myself too. However, I handled the pressure. I came here to win and I’d have been disappointed not to achieve that. It’s great to have made it here to Le Marin. I don’t know why but it’s a lot more beautiful than it was two years ago (Ambrogio finished 26th production boat in 2017). There must be a reason for that (laughs)!”
“I didn’t think it would be possible to compete with the top prototypes”
“We set off with big winds and seas. Everyone got a bit frightened in Las Palmas. My coach often says that you need to be the first to reduce your sail area but also the first to hoist it. So I attacked hard and the boat was incredible in the breeze; she’s a plane! I got into the rhythm. My boat is simple. I reckon they must have frightened themselves more in the prototype fleet. I didn’t think it would be possible to compete with the top prototypes.”
“Victory can slip through your fingers in 20 seconds”
“I did a massive broach where I bent by bowsprit, but miraculously it’s still there! It scared me. I said to myself that things could very quickly go pear-shaped. Victory can slip through your fingers in 20 seconds. Even though I knew that I had a big lead, I always had it in the back of my mind that anything can happen in offshore racing at any time and make you start everything from scratch.”
“I always have these little niggles when I’m on the water”
“When I realised I was going to win, I completely lost the plot. I was on totally the wrong tacks as I approached the line, it was sheer madness. To the extent that this morning I was questioning whether my competitors had caught up with me. It’s more powerful than me; I always have these little niggles when I’m on the water.”
“I want to take it even further”
“I’ve fallen in love with this sport and I want to take it even further. This victory certainly makes you even more driven to experience new adventures. I can’t wait!”