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  • Writer's pictureJ70 Class Denmark - Rasmus Lumbye

Claudia Rossi, one of the most successful J70 sailors, steers towards new challenges

By Rasmus Lumbye Mikkelsen

The J70 Class Denmark meets Claudia Rossi during the J70 training camp in Copenhagen for a talk about her J70 sailing adventure and how the experiences and lessons learnt have helped her to move on to new and exciting parts of the sailing world

Beginning of the J70 sailing

Surprisingly enough Claudia started sailing late at the age of 22, she tells. ‘Before I had only been sailing in cruising mode with my family for vacation,’ she adds. Her father is a very passionate sailor with many championships, and one day she went on a rib to follow one of his races. ‘I was super interested about it’, the sailor says, so she decided to make a team, and got her own J70 named Petite Terrible. ‘It was super cool because what I did was to decide to sail with my friends, so the goal is to have fun and improve how to sail.’ Claudia explains that they built the team up from zero and their pro tactician Michele Paoletti helped everybody to grow with the team. ‘We spend a lot of time on the water,’ the Italian skipper remembers. ‘Until something was not going in the right way we were like 6 hours on the water doing the same exercise until it was perfect.’ Forsure they improved their sailing skills since the team started sailing in March 2016 and already inJune they won the Europeans for the first time. ‘It was something incredible, (...) I was not able to understand it,’ Claudia smiles. ‘This is the way I started and from then I just kept training with them. After a few months I was able to sail fast the J70. When you understand you can do more you want more. When I won the first Europeans I would like to win it again. Every time we just made our goal and then we set up our season to reach the goal. But it was not just enjoying. We spend a lot of time but when you enjoy it is easier to work and learn.’ When asked whether the project went more serious over the years, Claudia immediately says no, and again she points out that the fun part for her and her friends is always their priority. She mentions that the team went paddle tennis during the Europeans in Copenhagen as an example of how they have fun and recharge their batteries for the serious competition. ‘What is import is not the title, but the way you reach the title,’ she adds.

Training jobs in the J70

With today six full seasons in the J70 and several victories including 3 European Championships, the J70 owner has decided to put sailing in Petite Terrible on standby this year even though she misses her team. Instead, the J70 specialist tries to do several different things during the season, and therefore she has started training other J70 sailors. Luckily for us Danish sailors, she joined the training camp as head coach this year.’It was amazing here in Copenhagen, because you know 22 boats for a training camp is something amazing, it’s like a race. Having 20-25 boats help you a lot because you just need to put the marks down and they have fun because they can have a lot of races. But at the same time following every step of every boat is something impossible,’Claudia says about coaching during the camp. Therefore the J70 coach likes to talk to all the crews at the briefings but admits that she on the other hand also must be careful not to say too much at the same time so people just forget. When asking for a piece of final secret advice for the J70 sailing, Claudia reveals that it is good to stay away from the chaos at the pin end if the starting line is biased towards it and just get a clean start and go fast. ‘All the time go fast. We sayin Italy, a fast boat makes the tactician a good tactician,’ the skipper concludes.

Double-handed sailing

Despite all the new training jobs, the skipper assures me that she still sails herself. ‘I just started sailing offshore double-handed. That is something that helps me grow as a sailor and at the same time gives me some work opportunities’ she says. Claudia explains how she started sailing double-handed with her gennaker trimmer Matteo Mason from Petite Terrible. They started sailing back when the double-handed class might be on the Olympic program, but unfortunately, it was finally decided not to include it. ‘So we quit this program but at the same time I spend two years with him, and he was teaching me a lot in every part of the boat in every role. So I can steer, I can do the bowman, I can do the trimmer now, and that is something that is really helpful when you are going teaching or when you are going jumping from boat to boat. It is something that you use every where. So it was amazing, but the goal was the Olympics,’ Claudia says, and therefore Matteo and she stopped the campaign. It still seems like the Italian sailor has found joy in the double-handed offshore sailing, and mentions that she will attend the Nastro Rosa tour this year.

With great enthusiasm, she explains how the tour consists of six legs of approximately three days of sailing starting in Venice and then going around Italy to Genova. The final leg will be sailed in November from Genova and back to Venice, a leg of almost 1500 miles. So for sure, Claudia is sailing seriously in the double-handed series, and she loves the new challenge. 'When I am sailing offshore I am saying why am I here, but afterward, when I come back I can say, it is a good experience.’ During the tour, Claudia will attend both the mixed Europeans and the World Championship as two of the events. In fact, they have already done their first double-handed event this year which was the Female Mediterranean offshore double-handed race. And they won, she proudly tells, ‘it was super fun and a great opportunity I think for a woman sailor. We were even using the Figaro 3, a great boat to go offshore.’ It seems like Claudia will not have a quiet season at all despite the standby of Petite Terrible. She has already got a good beginning of the year and actually, she has one more dream for her sailing carrier yet to accomplish.

America’s Cup

'My goal is to try to be involved in the next America’s Cup,’ the Italian sailor says and expresses a great interest in the newly introduced women’s edition of the Cup. ’I am not sure I can be onboard, but I am sure with the experience that I have, I can be the team manager.’ The woman sailor talks about how she already has ideas to set up the campaign, how to put the team together, and how to train the team. She tells that the J70 project has taught her a lot about making a successful team with great chemistry. So if you are out there missing a strong profile for your Women’s America’s Cup team, you should definitely consider giving Claudia Rossi a call.

From the J70 Class Denmark, we again thank Claudia for joining our training camp and wish her the best of luck with her new goals

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