Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team: Press ReleaseÔĽŅ
Flavio Flavini Tells (Almost) All
Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team is starting an important period of preparation for the Americaís Cup. Flavio Flavini, helmsman, speaks about this time.
Flavio, nicknamed Favonio, was born with sailing in his blood. He began to sail when he was only 10 years old on Lago Maggiore and he has gone on to become one of Italyís greatest sailors.
What has changed in Mascalzone Latino Capitalia Team from September 2005 and September 2006?
The differences are substantial, in the sense that last year we had, in effect, just started. We started in April 2005 and just one month later we had our first regatta. Then from Valencia we went to Malmo and right after, Trapani. The last year we were in a hurry to prepare ourselves and we were practically thrown into racing.
Then, we werenít able to use our boat, ITA-77, in August or September because it was in transfer. The real work and real training couldnít begin until October, once the regattas had finished.
The substantial difference is that, from last autumn until this spring we have worked seriously at sea in a continuous mode. We trained pretty well.
And we saw the resultsÖ
Yes, from last year to this year we have had a big improvement in the results. Anyway, the results from last year had to be seen from the perspective of a team that was just starting and had to speed up!
To expect great results from last year wouldnít make sense or was inconceivable in this game. Then the work started to bear fruit. I think that we have improved our boat handling in all areas, from helmsman to bowman to tailer. We have learned a lot just sailing.
You have certainly been able to get some better performance from the boat.
We had to understand 77 and to learn how to speed her up. It was surely from the hours spent sailing, we came to understand how to trim the sails properly, how to maneuver, and many other things. Now we must be smart and do the same with ITA-90.
Whatís next?/Whatís going to happen now?
Now comes the crucial part of our campaign: to get ready for the Louis Vuitton Cup. First, with ITA 90 and then with the new boat. The next months will be very important, much more so, considering the fact that our opponents are also working very very hard and are making progress.
Your first impression on the new format, proís and conís?
I think the negative is only in terms of costs: the more you race, as we have done over the last 2 years, the more the campaign costs. To race at this level costs a lot. The positives, on the other hand, are many. For example, I had never been very attracted to the Americaís Cup because I was not interested in years of speed testing. I like to race, and now, itís really good fun. All it takes is to organize with the other teams and youíre racing!
From these informal races between teams, little is said because of the privacy agreement between the team. Can you tell us how it works?
Basically we are able to race three or four times a week. Itís very easy: we organize a weekly calendar each week or 15 days, with the others who are interested, which is usually everyone. They are true regattas with instructions, start times, and umpires. One team provides the committee boat, the other lays out the marks. We organize over the phone or outside the team bases, but itís never hard to find an opponent, including the Defender! In fact, sometimes they are the ones who call us.
How do you explain this change?
No one wants to fossilize themselves doing speed tests. Sure, a little work is still done outside of the prying eyes of others some testing, some experimenting and the big teams still race in-house. But I think that in the end you learn a lot more in competition. To go and face the others is always interesting. For me, it makes more sense to train well, than to try to hide.
Does that mean that everyone is revealing a lot? Boats, sails, gear?
Thereís always some secret, but to me, to try to hide something is only a waste of time. It is better to train well than to try to hide what the others already know!
So, in autumn you expect to have a certain amount of work in-house and many more races with the others?
Yes, absolutely. We have the intention to continue to race as much as possible. To test could also mean to lose a lot of time. The conditions for a real test are usually wishful thinking. If they are not perfect, and they usually arenít, when you go and analyze them you find yourself throwing away 80%.
Will you reveal 90 in all for all?
Well (he laughs), first of all we have to learn how to sail 90 to her best. Sure, there are things that we would like to keep to ourselves, but we are surely not going to go and race the others thinking how good we are at hiding something! What we have to do is improve and then win the races!
Immediate plans for work?
September and October are very important due to the weather conditions. From November to February you generally sail only one day every three days. October will be our highspot with 90.
You have another six months and then from April, the Louis Vuitton is that enough time?
Itís very little time. Itís flying away. I feel like weíve just started. Time is flying also because doing this is fun, much more fun than I was told. Maybe itís because we race so much I am sure that we wonít even notice and then were there at the first race.
What is the strong point of Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team?
I believe that we train well, and I believe that we are learning very fast. Yes, Id say its our ability to learn.
A wish to be granted from the genie in the lantern?
Thatís a hard question. I think the wish of everyone would be to have a fast boat or at least as fast as the others.
What do you hope for, from the second new boat?
Clearly, and this is the key to the game-that she beats 90 as soon as she goes in the water!