TODAY VALENCIA, TOMORROW THE AMERICA’S CUP Wednesday 3rd May 2023
It may be Sailing Week in Antigua but in Valencia, Spain an Antiguan team is also blazing a trail on the water in the 69F Grand Prix. Boats in sailing week remain firmly on the water; the single-design Persico 69F class flies! It is a monohull foiling sailboat that has developed over the last four years as foiling becomes more and more advanced. It is designed by the Argentinian firm Wilson-Marquinez and brings this type of sailing to a new audience based on the boats in the America’s cup.
Following their success in Florida earlier in the year in their first ever regatta, the team has worked hard and it shows. Team Antigua and Barbuda currently leads the fleet rising above the water and the competition. Skipper Rocco Falcone said “it’s super close between the top three boats…so there’s all to play for in the next three days.” It is a very different game on these boats said Rocco, “a lot more intense, a lot quicker: you’re pretty much flying in every condition .” The team reached speeds of around 32 knots.
Racing with Rocco are Alice Cialfi and Filippo Amonti, both experienced sailors. The team is sadly without Antiguan Junella King who sustained an injury in Florida and is not racing this time, but will be back everyone hopes soon.
The make-up of the team, under 25 and with a female team member, means that they are eligible for both the Grand Prix and the Youth Foiling Gold Cup so it could be more than one trophy coming to Antigua. From Valencia, the team heads to France and Lake Garda and a bit of a foiling road trip around Europe, before they return to Antigua.
2023 has seen a lot of young people in Antigua take to the water as well as racing in Classics and Antigua Sailing Week, and Rocco is sure that foil-sailing will bring more and more into the sport with an “extreme & chilled” style. “It’s a little hard in Antigua right now to get foiling as there’s not much access to it” he said, “but in the future I want to help bring more Antiguans on board.”
The boat itself stands proudly Antiguan, its Sail wrapped in Antigua colours and flag and Rocco is proud of this. “The new wrap reflects my pride for my country and a determination to represent Antigua & Barbuda with excellence.” He is doing a great job!
watch the interview with Zoë Carlton & Rocco Falcone here.
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