Sailing in Portovenere: Melges 32 rock the harbor!

In Sports, Travel ideas
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Portovenere, one of the gems on the Ligurian Riviera, is the set of an international and prestigious sailing competition. Following the challenges among the “smaller” Melges 20 and 24 sailboats in the first weeks of May 2015, it is time for the clash of the titans on the weekend from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th! The impressive Melges 32 boats will offer a spectacular show of sailing in Portovenere as part of the Audi Tron Sailing Series – Act 2.

The Melges 32 is a one-design class of sailboat. It is produced by the American company Melges Performance Sailboats. The boat is 9.7 m (31 ft 10 in) long and 3 m (9 ft 10 in) wide at the beam. The boat is generally raced with a crew of five or more.

Sailboats in the harbor of Portovenere, Liguria, Italy
Sailboats in the harbor of Portovenere

When not practicing or competing in the Gulf of Poets, the eighteen beautiful sailboats are docked in the harbor just opposite Grand Hotel Portovenere and St. Peter’s Church, further decorating the picturesque marine landscape impressed in the poems of George Byron and David Herbert Lawrence and in the paintings of George Sand.

Video Best of Act 2 – Melges 24 sailing in Portovenere

In the video: the beautiful landscape and colors of Portovenere, the historic buildings, the harbor, a glimpse of Grand Hotel Portovenere, and a statement by Chris Rast, crowned “King of Poets” with Helmsman EFG Sailing Team during the second competition:

At first I was a little bit skeptic to come to a place that is not necessarily known for sailing, but it was great to see the combination of the city, the cars, the people and the sailing. It is a great combination of activities to put together. […] I think it was great to come to such a historic venue like Portovenere.

Among the A-listers participating in the challenge are: Jonathan Mckee (Olympic gold medal in Los Angeles racing in the FD Class and bronze medal in Sydney with the 49er), Morgan Reeser,(silver medal in Barcellona with the 470), Cameron Appleton (3-time-America’s Cup winner), Vasco Vascotto (21 times world champion), Francesco Bruni (3-time-Olympian), Lorenzo Bressani (3-time world champion in the Melges 24 Class and 2-time world champion in the Melges 32), among many others.

Sailing in Portovenere: history, nature, sports
Portovenere: history, nature, sports

Given the success of the previous competitions hosted by Portovenere involving the Melges 20s and 24s, and the fervor in occasion of the third sports event featuring the Melges 32, the sea village is a strong candidate for the return of the Audi Tron Sailing Series in 2016.

Apart from admiring the queens of the sea, during this weekend you also have the opportunity test drive some of Audi’s most recent car models. You can sign up at Piazza Bastreri in Portovenere on the days 16 and 17 May or email

Sailing in Portovenere: rentals & lessons

Would you like to sail while enjoying a vacation in Portovenere? In the local harbor you can find schools that offer courses for beginners and amateurs, and you can also rent sailboats with or without a skipper. If you are staying at a hotel in the Gulf of Poets, ask the concierge who can recommend the best options for you and perhaps even get you a nice deal with a sailing charter partner.

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