MAPEI HAS SET OFF WITH AMBROGIO BECCARIA
The company is helping the sailor on his modern ocean sailing project
Mapei is embarking on a brave new adventure alongside Ambrogio Beccaria: its first modern ocean sailing project in the name of technological innovation and sustainability. Ambrogio, an intrepid sailor of Milanese descent born in 1991 who is full of desire and determination to take on challenges, is the captain of this enterprise: an unprecedented journey aimed at testing human limits and taking the history of sailing to a new level. Mapei, with its vocation as a pioneering company, is ready to sail the ocean together with a top crew on board Alla Grande: a latest generation Class40 yacht.
Alla Grande opens up a new chapter in nautical design: the hull is designed by Gianluca Guelfi and is being built in a recently opened shipyard in Genoa, Sangiorgio Marine. The boat, equipped with a satellite link and extremely powerful sensors, is innovative both in terms of its technology and environmental impact. The design, the carefully crafted sails and hydrodynamic simulations have made this a revolutionary project from the very onset.
It is a so-called "scow" sailboat, i.e. with a very wide bow that rides above the water. The scow bow is inspired by the shape and design of surfboards so it can glide across the waves without crashing into them. Alla Grande is designed for the ocean: not only for handling the Atlantic trade winds, but also for finding the best passage across the waves of three oceans. The boat features some innovations particularly regarding the position of the mast (its longitudinal inclination at high speeds means it can perform better under greater control) and a cockpit with only 4 winches, 2 of which are central winches to facilitate faster manoeuvres. The rudders are also tilted and automatically disengage towards the stern during collisions with floating or semi-floating objects: unfortunately, this kind of thing happens quite frequently nowadays out in the ocean.
The energy on board is entirely generated by renewable sources such as solar energy and hydroelectric power. The solar panels, developed in collaboration with Solbian, are mounted on the deck and connected to the electrical system on board by means of MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracker) charge controllers that can optimize charging. The hydro-generator transforms the kinetic energy of the water into electrical energy through a small propeller immersed in the water by the boat’s stern. The energy generated is related to speed: the faster the boat, the more renewable energy it will generate.
As far as possible, Alla Grande will sail in an environmentally friendly way: water comes from a desalinator which, in turn, is powered by renewable energy. The use of single-use plastics will be kept to a minimum and any plastic items (only a few) are reusable.
Veronica Squinzi, Mapei’s CEO, had this to say about this latest sporting challenge: "We are proud to support this innovative and courageous project captained by Ambrogio Beccaria. A sporting and technological challenge based around the enthusiasm and passion for the sea of three talented young engineers. We are sure that project will go far. Passion, hard work and determination to take on new challenges are sporting values that have always been part of Mapei's DNA. That's why we decided to 'embark' on this adventure".
“Mapei and I both started from Milan," so Ambrogio Beccaria noted. "Mapei has reached everywhere in becoming a major multinational and I also dream of sailing around the world. Thanks to this project," so Beccaria continued, "I'm learning the value of a team because, even though I'm sailing solo, it's only thanks to my team and the sponsors that this oceanic challenge is actually happening. With all the confidence surrounding me we are bound to do great (or Alla Grande as we say in Italian)!”.
The importance of research
Ocean sailing is an extreme adrenaline-fuelled sport that is also psychophysically demanding: discovering what solitude means, managing anxiety and polyphasic sleep patterns are key aspects of ocean sailing. Competition is not a means but an end in studying what is going on around you. Even studying ways of hitting top speed is just a way of being in tune with nature and a wild environment like the ocean.
The Mapei Sport Research Centre is supporting Ambrogio in his physical training and also providing medical, sporting and nutritional assistance. It is also carrying out an in-depth scientific study into the sport of sailing. Mapei Sport experts have even been on board with him to study the workloads he will have to handle and how he will have to move around to manoeuvre the vessel.
The next stages
After the launch scheduled for July at the Yacht Club Italiano in Genoa, the competitive season will begin, culminating with his participation in the Route du Rhum, the most famous transatlantic solo race, departing from Saint Malo, Brittany, France to Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe.
This new challenge on the open sea brings together ideals that are so important to Mapei: constant research into innovation, attention to sustainability and the desire to launch new futuristic enterprises. As it sets sail with Ambrogio, Mapei will be bringing along its own passion and determination, aiming to match the achievements it has attained in so many other sports from cycling to soccer.
A thirty-year-old graduate in nautical engineering, Ambrogio Beccaria was born and raised in Milan. After various experiences in crews and doubles, in 2013 he used his savings to purchase a mini 6.50, a boat measuring just six and a half meters in length. Since then, Ambrogio, who began sailing solo, has never stopped winning regattas in this class both in Italy and France. Over recent seasons (2018-19) he has won more races than any other Italian sailor becoming, to all intents and purposes, a great prospect in the sport of ocean sailing. On November 15th, 2019, Ambrogio was the first Italian sailor in history to win the Mini-Transat, a legendary transatlantic solo race. He was named the "Sailor of the Year" in 2018 and 2019. He lives in Lorient, Brittany.