- How did you start sailing?
I started sailing when I was a kid. My first proper dinghy was a Sunfish. I was probably eight or nine years old and there was a small sailing school on the beach just in front of our family’s hotel. The sea was the easiest and safest place for me to be. There was a little boat that had been there for years, and no one ever used it, so one day I asked the owner if I could refurbish the boat and go for a sail.
2. When did you realize your love for the sea?
I have always felt this way. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t in love with the sea. I think it is a unique environment where you can easily find yourself.
3. How do you feel when you are in the middle of a regatta?
Sailing for me is everything. I like to win and give my all when racing.
4. Looking back at your life, what is the biggest sacrifice you’ve ever made?
If you want to achieve a goal, it is no longer a sacrifice. We are privileged to do what we love. The truth is, the people who are close to us sacrifice the most. When you are (or want to be) one of the best, there is not much time for anything else and your family needs to understand that. So when you reach your goal or you win a race, the people who are close to you are also winners.
5. Do you regret anything in your life?
No. I don’t regret anything in my career but if I were to go back, I would perhaps have made some different decisions. Normally I don’t look back, but at what comes next: we live for the future, not the past.
6. Who is your biggest source of inspiration?
I don’t really have a hero. My heroes are my family: my wife and my kids. We have everything we need within ourselves. You don’t need a hero. You have to believe in yourself and focus on your goals.
7. How would you describe yourself? How would other people describe you?
I’m not an easy person, that’s for sure. I demand the best at all times and that is a real sacrifice for other people most of the time. To give 100% you need to stay focused and give everything you have, which is really hard. Regarding the opinion others have of me: you should ask them!
8. What is something you really want to achieve?
Right now my goal is to win an important race with the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team and after that we will see…
9. What is the coolest regatta you have taken part in?
There are many…and more to come.
10. Is there a location you would love to go to for a regatta?
I think the Med is the best place for inshore racing and for an offshore race, the ocean, obviously.
11. Do you have a specific routine before you step onto the Luna Rossa for a competition?
The routine is a daily process. There’s not just one thing. It’s an attitude, believing in what we are trying to achieve.
12. Who are your favorite athlete?
There are several: Ali, Bolt, Senna, Vale Rossi, McEnroe, Maiorca, Naish……..
13. What is your motto?
Fuck mottoes—life is too short. You just need to give your all in everything you do, from work to your personal life.
14. What gets you really pumped?
The awareness that I am privileged to do what I love. The day I don’t feel that way anymore I will find a new job.
15. Who is someone you would really like to meet but haven’t?
So many people. To really understand a person you need more than ten minutes. We now know people through social media, which usually doesn’t show you the reality of what a person is like. We are all like actors at times, when we post a photo or a moment from our life.
16. Who is your favorite novelist? And favorite singer?
I don’t have a favorite novelist. I read what I find interesting in a specific moment. With music, I go from jazz to blues rock, from the 60s to today. One of the musicians I probably love most is Eddie Vedder.
17. If you could have a super power, what would it be?
I would like to stop all the wars around the world. And I want all kids around the world to have the same opportunities that my kids have. In 2020 it is a shame to see children dying for lack of food, water or medicines, and we are doing nothing to solve that. Nothing.
18. What is your favorite part of a regatta?
Each part of the regatta is important, from the start to the finish. You win if you make one mistake fewer than your competitor.
19. What is the biggest difficulty in leading the Luna Rossa team?
I think the hardest thing is handling the human resources: we are a large group coming from all around the world. Everyone is highly skilled and everyone is super competitive, which is great but you need to find the right balance all the time to make sure that the result benefits the Team.
20. What would you suggest to young generations who want to succeed at something?
It would be one of the lessons my father taught me. I hated it every time he said to me: “stop talking and just do it.” Sometimes younger generations spend too much time thinking before they act because they are scared of making mistakes. But you can only win or achieve your goals if you try hard without giving up. Nowadays parents are very protective of their kids and that is bad. We won’t be around forever, so our kids need to learn and understand the price of failure.
21. What do you think of the “New Generation” project?
We have been lucky. We started from a big group of young guys — over 400 — and after a really long selection process we narrowed it down to a really talented group of 11 guys. If you want to see the future, you have to look to young people.
22. How did your parents influence you?
Unfortunately, I lost my mother when I was just a kid — at 9 years old — so it was not easy at all. My father was working hard at the time and was often away, traveling around the world. He was a tough father. I sometimes told him I hated him, like all kids who believe they are always right when they talk with their parents, I guess. Then I grew up and started to understand him more and more and I realized how tough it had been for him, too, losing his wife at 49 with three children to raise.
23. What is the most memorable thing you have ever done?
My wife and my kids are the best thing that could have happened to me. In sports, the best is still to come…
24. What do you do on your days off?
I try not to think of work. Mainly, I relax and enjoy time with my family.
25. What is the most important lesson you have learned so far?
I think it changes all the time, but the biggest mistake you can make is to overthink things and kill yourself for past mistakes.
26. What will you do once you stop leading the Luna Rossa team?
I have many projects on my bucket list but right now I’m focused on the Cup.
27. Do you recall a surprising moment in your sports career?
I can think of three things. I was surprised when Luna Rossa called me and offered me the opportunity to be part of the team when it was my dream was to do an America’s Cup. The second was when Russell Coutts called me to join Oracle and rebuild the team. And, of course, I was surprised when Mr. Bertelli asked me to lead Luna Rossa.
28. What is your favorite sport to watch?
Surfing, wind surfing, MotoGP, motocross, tennis.
29. When you were a kid, did you play any sports?
I played tennis at a high level for many years and also competed at enduro motorcycling, windsurf racing and, obviously, sailing!
30. What is the biggest challenge you faced when you started your athletic career?
I have been lucky in my career. Sometimes I can’t believe how much I have done and won. I don’t really have an answer.
31. How did you feel when you won your first America’s Cup?
It was a dream, a relief. And the day after I was thinking of the next one.
32. What is your biggest fear when competing in a regatta?
When you are racing there is no space for fear. If you feel fear it means you are not prepared.
33. What does the relationship with Panerai mean to you?
For me, it is really important. I’m Italian, like Panerai, and very passionate about watches. When I got in touch with JM Pontroué I hoped we would be able to reach an agreement, not just from a commercial standpoint but also from a development point of view, and I think that the resulting Luna Rossa watches speak for themselves.
34. Do you see yourself in Panerai’s values?
I think so, but we should ask them.
35. What is your favorite feature of the new Luminor Luna Rossa GMT – 42 mm (PAM1096)?
Everything, especially that the watch features a lot of Luna Rossa. We worked closely to achieve the final result.
36. Which is your favorite Luna Rossa edition watch?
Probably the Luminor Luna Rossa Regatta, but I also really like the Luna Rossa Submersible.
37. During a regatta, what is the most important feature of a watch?
During the regatta, the time is key. Everything is based on timing, from the start to the finish line. A watch is an essential tool on board.