Which part of the world do you come from captain? I come from Casarano a small town which is just 18 kilometres from Gallipoli and 35 from Otranto the next closest sea port town which means being close to the Ionian and Adriatic seas. What about your first approach to the sea? It was thanks to my mother who took me there, she loved it and passed the passion she had on to me and taught me how to swim. Training? I went to the nautical technical institute “A. Vespucci” in Gallipoli to become a captain. After graduating from there and after military service I went back to “school” to get a licence to skipper Italian and British registered yachts up to 3,000 tons. What are your earliest recollections of the sea and boats? I was 14 when my father bought a 4.30 metre boat powered by a 5hp outboard in which I would often go fishing along the coast with a friend. We covered only a few miles at a time but to us it felt as if we were crossing oceans. When I turned 18 I got my first windsurf. How was the impact with actual working life? My first command was on a Mochi 42 for the season only, but it was nevertheless already something to me. After another two of the same seasonal contracts I met a captain who introduced me to the yachting world proper. Your first experiences at sea? I spent ten months on board of a coast guard vessel in Rimini, and after that I captained the Mochi 42 I mentioned earlier. Previous experiences of command? Well I captained several Ferretti models for whom I delivered yachts and also for the brand’s clients. After that I landed a good contract on a Pershing 88, the second one of the series, while the first one sported a lovely metallic grey colour. Then I skippered a Ferretti 80 for four years, a Riva 80 for another four then followed a Techema 95 for 8 years. What are the features of the yacht you are in command of currently?
It is a 43 metre Codecasa Vintage series, powered by a pair of 1650 HP Caterpillar engines. The yacht’s top speed is 16.5 knots, the fuel tank capacity is of 65,000 litres with which I can cover 4,000 nautical miles. The guest cabins are two doubles while the owner enjoys a full beam suite. Your favourite marina? One I have never been to. But if we are cruising south I’d choose to make a stop at Marina Carmelo in Vibo Valentia. The welcoming is simply unique, they have a special way of making you feel at home. Everyone seems to be available to satisfy your every request and should you have a problem on board as has already happened they will always find a solution. Preferred route? Like for the favourite marina, the route I prefer is the one I have not covered yet. This too is part of the beauty that goes with the job as it gives you the chance to get to know new places, people and diverse cultures. What innovations in the yachting world have struck you the most and why? Technology progresses at the rate of knots in every field and surely it had to comprise yachting. It is not easy to focus on just one aspect because yachts have evolved in every single sector, from engines to navigational aids. Today nothing is like ‘before’ not even the remotes deployed to change channel on a television set. We’ve got I-pads which cover selection, beyond channel selection, areas in which sound can be shut off for example, videos, on board music libraries. Thanks to domotics we can monitor everything happening on board on display channels situated on the bridge and more precisely in the helm controls station. We find stabilizers installed on smaller yachts too as well as a lot of other information and technology which have changed the way we cruise. Your worst experience as captain? The yachts we skipper are generally made as recreational boats for the entertainment of their owners and guests and something with which to make a real success of their holiday. I think that facing prohibitive seas with guests on board is foolish. The risk is that you run is that the cruise becomes unforgettable for the wrong reasons. A good captain will face up to a storm in a safe port every time he can, as good times and entertainment are readily available on land too and when the storm is over we can carry on cruising. What do you think of your role as captain and of the yachting world you work in? A captain today must be able to handle efficiently a whole lot of different requests which have become part of his functions and responsibilities well beyond skippering a yacht at sea. Every year there are upgrades and courses we must attend which range from navigation to telecommunication, life saving, and first aid knowledge. Additionally a captain is not only an experienced seaman, but he must also deal with bureaucracy, administration, and forms to be filled concerning the crew and yacht.