Alberto Bona: “A Very Tough Upwind Test, but We and the Boat Are Still in One Piece

LORIENT, France–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#IBSA–“We took crew and boat to Lorient safely, and this is our best result”. This is the hot take of Alberto Bona who, in the night between Monday and Tuesday, at 01:39 am – after 1 day, 11 hours, 58 minutes and 5 seconds – crossed the finish line in eighth place (second among the Italians) in the Le Havre-Lorient “mini stage” of the Transat Jacques Vabre.

“Mini” only for distance, certainly not for difficulty: “They were some of the wildest miles ever sailed upwind, with the risk of getting hurt and compromising the stability of the boat just before the longer stage of the regatta”, said Bona. “We could have gone a little faster, but in those conditions and at that moment the boat and us were the priority; so, a route close to the coast and conservative with the filling of the ballasts, so as not to crash the boat, which was going with the current and upwind at 13 knots, crashing into the incoming waves”.

Therefore, it’s been a complex and dangerous upwind: “We ate and rested very little; it was difficult to make any movement, both in the cockpit and below deck; the conditions were certainly worse than the Fastnet, because there we suffered for six hours, here for over 24”.

Alberto Bona and Pablo Santurde del Arco started fast, with a fourth position at the clearance buoy under the La Hève lighthouse: “We accumulated a bit of delay due to our first choices, staying close to the coast, where we were protected from the current. It was a way to keep the boat safe: the steep waves against the current were very dangerous, so much so that Ian Lipinski dismasted a mile in front of us due to the very same conditions. I am also very sad for Alberto Riva, who had to give up the next stage due to a broken leg, which he suffered while going to the bow for some technical manoeuvres. I send him a big hug”.

In the second stage, the Class40 IBSA will have to make up for its 1 hour, 52 minutes and 46 seconds delay from the leader – the Italian Ambrogio Beccaria, to whom compliments go out from the entire IBSA team – but “I don’t consider it a serious problem on such a long regatta like the one ahead of us; we are super motivated”, commented again Alberto Bona, who today will carry out a series of tests with Pablo to confirm the good state of health of the boat and then will use the time to rest, after these 24 hours of great physical and mental strain. “We never let go; so many choices to make, so many manoeuvers to perform, so many turns – and therefore so much weight shifting inside, to keep the boat correctly trimmed”, he concluded.

The Class40 IBSA covered a good part of the race on the left bank of the Channel, keeping very low, with the aim of being favoured at the exit. In Biscay, with a wider angle, the boat reached indeed excellent speeds and recovered many positions in a few hours. Now it’s a matter of regaining strength, doing some checks on board, facing Wednesday’s storm while staying warm indoors and waiting for the start, which – according to Bona – won’t be before Monday.

This first stage”, commented Giorgio Pisani, Vice President IBSA Group and Project leader of Sailing into the Future. Together, was truly a test of technique and courage. Alberto and Pablo are two expert navigators in whom we place the utmost trust; we were certain that they would manage to find the right compromise between sporting goals and protection of the crew and the boat, and so they did. The entire IBSA is at their side, in this last oceanic adventure of the 2023 season, which as always we follow with passion and admiration”.


THE PROJECT: Sailing into the Future. Together started in January 2022; the partnership between IBSA and Alberto Bona was born on common bases and values, and aims to use sailing as a vehicle for corporate communication, towards the market and the nautical world. Ingenuity, courage, innovation, responsibility are elements that unite IBSA and Alberto, and the oceanic challenge, in addition to the sporting race, also metaphorically represents the company’s history, philosophy and vision, which are always oriented towards the future and are part of a path that brings IBSA increasingly closer to the topics of environmental and social sustainability, inclusion and integration. The Route du Rhum was the first stage of the three-year programme Sailing into the Future. Together, which the Swiss pharmaceutical company started with Bona and which continues in 2023 with a busy calendar of regattas, including the Rolex Fastnet Race and the Transat Jacques Vabre.


THE BOAT: The boat with is a latest generation Class40, with a scow bow. Designed by French naval architect Sam Manuard and built by the JPS Production shipyard, the boat is a Mach 5 model, the latest evolution of Manuard’s Class40.

The characteristics: rounded bow, created with the aim of increasing performance while running; water lines and appendages designed to make the hull an all-round fast even upwind; large and protected cockpit to face navigation in the most comfortable and safe positions possible. The first international regatta in which Alberto Bona participated with the Class40 IBSA was the Route du Rhum 2022.


THE SKIPPER: Alberto Bona is from Turin, and has a degree in philosophy. As a university student, he won the Panerai trophy with Stormvogel, fast ULDB and historic boat with which he crossed the Atlantic Ocean for the first time, winning the ARC with a New Zealand crew. In 2012 he took part in the Minitransat, finishing 5th, one of the best Italian results ever in this category. In 2015, he switched to the prototype category Mini 6.50 with Promostudi La Spezia: he won the Italian championship and finished second in the ocean crossing Les Sables-Azores. In 2017 he discovered the Class40: on Giovanni Soldini’s former Telecom Italia, he participated in the Transat Jacques Vabres, where he was forced to withdraw when he was in sixth place. In 2019 he was aboard the Maserati Multi 70 trimaran, one of the fastest boats in the world, where he practiced on the foils before moving on to the Figaro Beneteau 3, aboard which he participated in the Solitaire; the only Italian registered, he finished 7th among the rookies in the first year and 16th overall in 2020. In 2021 he won the Italian offshore team title and the Europeans in mixed doubles aboard the Figaro 3. In 2022 he started the new project, with the support of the IBSA Group: with the new Class40 IBSA, he participated in the Route du Rhum 2022, finishing in eighth position.


IBSA: IBSA (Institut Biochimique SA) is a Swiss multinational pharmaceutical Company, founded in 1945 in Lugano. Today, its products are present in over 90 Countries on 5 continents, through the Company’s 18 subsidiaries located in Europe, China, and the United States. The company has a consolidated turnover of 900 million CHF, and employs over 2,200 people between headquarters, subsidiaries and production sites. IBSA holds 90 families of approved patents, plus others under development, as well as a vast portfolio of products, covering 10 therapeutic areas: reproductive medicine, endocrinology, pain and inflammation, osteoarticular, aesthetic medicine, dermatology, uro-gynaecology, cardiometabolic, respiratory, consumer health. It is also one of the largest operators worldwide in the area of reproductive medicine, and one of the world’s leaders in hyaluronic acid-based products. IBSA has based its philosophy on four pillars: Person, Innovation, Quality and Responsibility.



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