The first Barcolana race was held in 1969 and it was a real local event for sailors mostly among the clubs around the Gulf of Trieste. For about a decade only Italian sailors could win. It doesn’t mean that the Italians were that much better, it rather means that mostly Italian sailors attended the Regatta. The first non-Italian competitor won the Barcolana in 1980. After the first 10 years more and more yacht/sailing clubs from all over the world started to participate in the race. While in 1969, at the first time “only” 51 boats started of the Regatta.
Until now around 25 000 sailors have taken part in the Barcolana Regatta and almost 250 000 people have been involved in this precious event. 2009 saw the innovation of web TV with 122 videos covering the 10 days of the event and live streaming of the regatta with 30,000 live hits. Another number that can tell us a lot about the regatta itself is that “at the end of 2009, the Barcolana web site was named as the most visited sailing website in Italy by the annual survey carried out by Audiewed Mediadata”.
We mustn’t forget that this is not a world championship, and like all sport events this is more about joy than fighting. From huge sailing yachts to small boats, from professional yachtsmen (and of course women) to amateur outdoor and water enthusiasts can also attend the race, which is more like a celebration of the sea than the sailing itself. It goes without saying that if you would like to win this race, you have to be properly prepared. It won’t be enough if you have gone sailing with your uncle the nearby lake once in your life. Since a lot of professional sailors take part in the Regatta, it is warmly suggested at least "hearing" about the latest technology, but of course the best is to possess the right know-how and equipment.
The race is sailed along a triangular course with an extra clearance mark: upon registration, you will receive the exact sailing instructions document (containing a map with the position of the marks/compass degrees). Usually from September this document is available on the Regatta’s site. The total distance that has to be covered is 16 NM (nautical mile).
This is not just a sailing race, it is more like a week of celebration on land and on sea that turns Trieste into the European Capital of sailing. The Barcolana is now running in its 43rd edition and it is a magical mixture of competitive racing and sailing festival: professional teams race for victory and aim to break the record; family crews try to beat their club friends or the guy that moors next to them. In the nine days before the event, the port of Trieste turns into a large marina for sailboats.
Stalls are lined up along the waterfront and play host to sponsors, crews and sailing equipment: this is called the “Barcolana Village”. The city’s main square, Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia, turns into a stage hosting great international bands: the Barcolana Music Festival is dedicated to the youngest and offers free concerts with great music. Meanwhile in the Gulf of Trieste, for ten days, many other races take place: the Barcolana dedicated to under-18 skippers takes place on the first week-end of October and during the days before the regatta sailing is a great show with the Barcolana by night Jotun Cup, nocturnal races which can be watched from the shore, and on the regatta’s eve the beautiful old ladies of the sea participate in the Barcolana Classic. We very much hope that the pictures can help you to imagine this grandiose event.