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Keep your distance!

Chris Davies on 4th November 2020

Lake Como dropped the curtain on the 2020 UIM racing calendar and the final act of a shortened season had more drama than an Italian opera.

COVID-19 fears threatened the future of the championships as history once challenged and outlawed theatre.

The health and safety of the teams, organizers and general public under scrutiny.

Lombardy was the first region in the Western World to be locked down during the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 Virus.

FIM and UIM, the Region of Lombardy, Como Yacht Club and a heavy-handed panel of Italian Health and Safety Authorities, predicted the potential harm the event might procure and another regional lockdown was forecasted for the future of Lombardy.

As the clock ticked away to October 21st, just three days before the first heat, a final decision was made.

The show must go on!

Thirty crews and boats arrived from France, Greece, Holland, Belgium, Great Britain, Spain and Italy to compete for the UIM Pleasure Navigation World and Class 3D European championships.

A quote from Decameron, written by Giovanni Boccacio during the historical Italian Black Plague defines the determination of the teams trying to out run the strict COVID-19 travel restrictions, ‘In this world you only get what you grab for’.

The atmosphere in the paddocks was tense on opening day with strict COVID-19 Safety measure put into effect and paddock members were reduced to a 7-member crew.

Official crew wrist bands were constantly controlled – the importance of one more precious than a Rolex!

The 1 meter, ‘Keep Your Distance’ rule was enforced and smiles were hidden behind the obligatory masks and the Italian law enforcement patrolled the backstage paddocks like the gestapo.

The glume of the rain was forecasted; however, no one could imagine the dreary impact that the threat of COVID-19 would have on a World Class Racing Championship.

There were no title sponsors or fanfare. The constant cancellation of events and lack of media coverage left every man to finance himself.

Former Italian Endurance Offshore Champion, Daniele Ravaioni personalised his RIB #33 with the message; Keep Your Distance, a crowd and press worthy message of awareness of the times we are living in.

Daniele Ravaioni

The powerful pageantry of boats lined up for the beginning of the race. The heat of engines boiled the waters of Lake Como and the sweet vapour intoxicated all present.

Freedom was in the air as the warriors of the water cleared the start line and the roar of the engines, fierce and proud like a pride of lions.

Tributes were held commemorating the 30th year anniversary of the death of Offshore pilot Stefano Casiraghi, former husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco.

In the spot light, the remembrance of the recent death of legendary boat builder and Off Shore pilot, Tuillo Abbate who died in early April due to complications from COVID-19.

The final act of the UIM Pleasure Navigation World and Class 3D European Championships gave the spectators and participants a full show of daggers and drama.

Holding a firm second position during the 4th lap of the 3rd heat, the Belgium team, Alain Coppens and Koenraad Van Nieuwenhove capsized their 450 Endurance Sport Class hull no.S888 after being taken over by Italian pilot Daniele Ravaioni and 18 year old navigator, Guglielmo Martinelli.

Bergamo Scuba Angels

The Bergamo Scuba Angels were immediately dispatched to rescue the injured pilots.

Once the action on the water had concluded the action on the land sparked into life during the backstage technical inspection.

A knife wielding Spanish team, disgruntled over disqualification over a technical irregularity, threaten the official judges.

Italian law enforcement intervened and future charges and penalties are under investigation by the UIM.

The Spanish team as well as three Italian and one UK team were also disqualified due to weight or rigged engine issues.

The final victory of the UIM Pleasure Navigation World and Class 3D European Championships went to the Venetian crew of Diego Cardazzo and Gianluca Coltro, on the Qi Composites hull.

Mario Petroni and Faciani Marco

In second place, Sabbie di Parma hull of Mario Petroni and Faciani Marco. Followed by the team, Rosario Longo and Enrico Marani with Production of Manduria on the hull.

Serafino Barlesi and Alessandro Barone were announced as the new champions of the Grand Prix World Class Off Shore 3D racing, D20 Banca Generali on the hull.

Serafino Barlesi and Alessandro Barone

A true trifecta as Serafino Barlesi and Alessandro Barone took first in all three heats.

The winners of the World and European Endurance 450 Sports Class were Christian Cesati and Matteo Berardi driving Club Oceano, Albatro.

In the World and European Endurance Pro 150 Class, it was a victory for father son team from Naples, Diego and Massimilliano Testa in Sorbino.

An all over win for the teams of Italy!

A great thanks to the perfect organization of the Como Yacht Club with the patronage of the region of Lombardy and all the many spectators that obediently followed the emergency health restrictions to ensure the safety of all in our battle of the COVID-19 Virus.

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