North Sails NEWS

June 15, 2017


It was a great start for Vittorio Bissaro in the A-Class, the Italian athlete was second on the podium of the European Spring Championship, Arco. Despite being only his second race in the A-Class, Bissaro was successful in a fleet of almost 50A flying catamarans, among which there were previous World and European champions. Vittorio’s venture into the A-Class follows his Rio Olympic Games campaign with Silvia Sicouri, in the Nacra 17 Class.

After the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, you moved your attention to the A-Class. Is your Olympic games experience over, or will you be looking to participate in Tokyo in 2020?

The idea of trying the A-Class was born exactly by the fact that I have never stopped thinking about the Olympics. After the last four years racing in the Nacra, there are people now talking about the foiling Nacra for Tokyo 2020. Because delivery times are extremely long, instead of waiting and doing nothing I decided to join the A-Class to learn in a class that is continuously developing globally. The A-Class started foiling three years ago for downwind sailing, while the ability to foil upwind is just a recent phenomenon, I would say it started no more than one year ago.

The A-Class is an open class, how was your boat developed?

Currently, in the A-Class there are two predominant boat builders that build the boat for almost 98% of the fleet, DNA in the Netherlands and the Polish shipyard Exploder, where my boat was built. I opted for the Polish because the boat is more flexible and adjustable. Knowing from my first experience with sailing the Nacra, I wanted to have some space to maneuver for adjustments. In fact we worked a lot on the catamaran this winter and I would say that results of our work were pretty good in the first regatta of the season, held last week in Arco. Mischa Heemskerk, the current World champion, remained behind me in a few races, which was very satisfying.

North Sails is helping you in the development of sails for the Nacra. What are your feelings about this collaboration?

In contrast to the boat builders, the choice of sailmakers is much wider, there are at least five or six suppliers for sails to the A-Class. I first started with a Polish sailmaker who was recommended by the shipyard, but a series of issues with the design, the service and the quality, made me switch to North Sails. The idea of cooperation was proposed by sails specialist Giulio Desiderato. I also knew that North Sails was already working on projects with Glen Ashby, 13-time World champion and a legend in the catamaran. The designs are great, the quality is excellent, and Giulio has supported me all through the process making it the perfect choice. Since the very first day I knew things with North Sails would work great.

The A-Class is in continuous development, are these changes perceivable also during races?

Well, yes. The A-Class goes further than the choice of profile for sails. After foiling, some athletes started to work on masts, rigs, distribution of weights, etc. Everything is continuously changing and probably now it is really worth concentrating on the settings of the boat as a whole.

Despite that you are a newcomer in the A-Class, you have already obtained some great results. What are your plans for the rest of the season?

In mid August we will have the most important event of the season, the Worlds in Poland. Before that, I will go to Lake Iseo at the end of June for another event in the A-Class circuit and that will be my third race ever in the A-Class. The season is going to finish in Campione, but immediately after the Worlds all attention will be focused on 2018.

You are not alone in this experience in the A-Class. Who is sharing it with you?

I’m sharing it with a team, Lorenzo Bianchini is always training with me, he has the same boat as mine and also uses North Sails. Working with similar materials helps us to make better adjustments to the boats, otherwise you risk getting lost in the myriad of possible refinements that you can do on an A-Class.

What are your feelings over the Nacra? Are you planning to have a new crew?

The Nacra Class grew a lot in the lead up to the Olympics in Rio, but then it experienced a slow down. We are all waiting for the introduction of the new platform of the Catamaran, which will be presented at the end of June. The new Nacra should have Z-foils instead of C-foils and L helms, much similar to the actual configuration of the A-Class. These new introductions will change the conduction of the boat under the technical point of view. The Nacra should manage to fly both downwind and upwind, this will make races even faster and more acrobatic. It will be when this introduction is released that we will all start to focus on the Nacra again.

Learn more about the North Sails A-Class designs.