In recent times, more and more sailors have decided to try their hand at offshore sailing – specifically, double handed offshore – and Claudia Rossi is no different.
Rossi, who has formed Big Wool Sailing Team with co skipper Matteo Mason, is a talented Italian sailor with several J/70 European titles to her name.
And the challenge of an offshore adventure with one other sailor, as well as the addition of the Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat Event at Paris 2024, is what tempted Rossi into this new venture.
“It’s the beginning for me with offshore sailing, but I already love it,” she admitted.
“When you sail a long distance, you feel free.
“You are completely in contact with the sea, with the boat, and sometimes you have to sail alone when the other person is sleeping. It’s an amazing feeling and an exciting experience.
“I think that if you want to sail offshore, you don’t have to be just a good sailor, but you have to be a good skipper.
“When you’re sailing double handed, it’s really hard because you have to know so many things; you have to understand the weather, you have to know each role on board, and at the same time you have to be able to sleep in really bad conditions sometimes, so it’s not easy.
“You should also know your co skipper very well, because the most important thing is teamwork.
“When I started offshore sailing, my first choice to sail with was Matteo because we’ve sailed together for a long time.
“We are very good friends; he really knows me, and he knows how to help me during a race.
“We really enjoy it together and I’m really happy to share this new challenge with him.”
In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the 2020 calendar, Rossi and Mason have managed to gain some racing experience already. Their target, with Paris 2024 on the horizon, is to get better and better and continue to enjoy themselves along the way.
“Big Wool Sailing Team have done two races this year,” explained Rossi.
“We started with the European Championship in Genoa – there were eight boats on the starting line, and it was a really high level and hard competition.
“The race was about 300 miles and we finished in 67 hours. It was really hard but at the same time we really enjoyed it. We improved a lot and we were fighting until the end.
“Since then, we have started to work on our point of weakness and fix our point of strength.
“The second race that we did was the Nastro Rosa Tour event in Venezia.
“It was completely different because the race was about 100 miles and there were just three boats on the starting line. We finished in second place, but it was for sure a competitive race.
“For a long time we were in first place, but at the end we made a mistake and we lost some distance, so we finished second.
“But it was a really good event and for sure we improved a lot of things.
“I think that the inclusion of double handed offshore in the next Olympic Games is very important for the progress of our sport.
“It’s a big opportunity for many professional sailors with different ages and different backgrounds, so I’m sure it will be a very hard competition.
“The offshore event in Paris 2024 will be really involving for people at home, because they can interact with us by using Virtual Regatta, or they can just follow us by the tracking, so it will be fun for them.
“We just asked about this during the European Championship in Genoa, and everyone we spoke to was really happy about this service.”