words by Carol King
More than 2,000 yachts will convene in the Gulf of Trieste in October for the Barcolana Sail Race.
The spectacular annual race is the largest sailing event in Europe and the only regatta in the world to set a single start line for so many yachts. The 16-mile nautical route begins at the area between the clubhouse of the Società Velica di Barcola e Grignano and the Castle of Miramare, and the race sails along a triangular course.
The Barcolana Sail Race starts at 10am on Sunday October 14 and it can take up to seven hours until the last boat crosses the finishing line. Yacht owners pay from €50 to €850 to participate in the race, depending on the length of the vessel and which category a yacht competes. The winners will receive prizes, cups and trophies at a ceremony held at the Stazione Marittima, Molo Bersaglieri in Trieste on 25 November at 10am.
The first Barcolana Sail Race was held in 1969 and had 51 entrants. Since then the race has been entered into the Guinness World Records as the world’s most crowded regatta with all boats starting together and an overall ranking list. Some 25,000 sailors participate on-board watched by 300,000 spectators who – thanks to the shape of the Gulf of Trieste – can follow the race live.
Along the Italian, Slovene and Croatian coastlines many charters organise all- inclusive packages for the Barcolana and it is possible to hire vessels with or without a skipper. It is also possible to find individual places on boats for the regatta by contacting the main sailing schools in Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Italy. Some companies organise mini-cruises in the Triestine Gulf to enable people to watch the regatta from the sea. People who want to watch the Barcolana from the sea without taking part can join mini-cruises put on in the Triestine Gulf.