Riccardo Tosetto is a young Italian skipper born 36 years ago in Cittadella and entered in the Global Solo Challenge with his Class 40 Obportus. He sets off to fulfill his lifelong dream: to sail solo around the world by the three great Capes. However, Riccardo is not just an adventurer; he manages his project with a highly professional approach, taking care of all aspects to achieve the best possible outcome for such an ambitious project.
Tosetto is one of those people, as Carlo Sciarelli, an Italian designer, used to say, who got wet in seawater and never dried. His passion for the sea dates back to his childhood. At the age of eight, he began sailing, first on dinghies and then on sports catamarans. At thirteen, he met his mentor, Angelo Preden, who had participated in the 1976 OSTAR and followed in his footsteps. At nineteen, he bought his first boat, a 52-foot yacht, with which he crossed the Atlantic twice before devoting himself to teaching sailing and charter cruises in the Mediterranean.
He discovered solo sailing during the many deliveries he made aboard his boat from Monfalcone, where he lives with his family and partner, to the Aegean, his favorite destination for his work as a skipper and sailing instructor. He recalls one particular episode: “The most beautiful solo sailing I have done was from northern Greece to Athens. A short sail of about 30 hours, conditions were favorable but challenging. I left alone at the same time as another boat fully crewed headed for the same destination; in the end, I arrived a couple of hours earlier.”
“That feeling of freedom and speed left a mark on me. Solo sailing is fascinating; it gives a sense of absolute freedom, even if you can only rely on your own strength.”
Riccardo is a sociable person who enjoys being in the company of friends and family, but he also needs private moments of solitude. “It helps me clear my mind and find calm. That’s why solo sailing is also suitable for my character.”
The realization of a dream
With the launch of the GSC, the inner fire of Riccardo’s dream of sailing around the world was lit. The meeting with Enrico Candeloro, CEO of World Appeal, was crucial for Tosetto to start his project and manage the budget and sponsors. “World Appeal organizes international sporting events; they are fantastic people helping me a lot, taking care of all the extra aspects aside from navigation.”
The boat: reliable, simple, and fast
Riccardo had a clear idea when he chose a Class 40 for his round-the-world voyage: simplicity, reliability of the structure and equipment, and speed. He was looking for a boat designed to sail the oceans and perform well in downwind conditions, small enough, without excessive loads and with a moderate cost. Speed was another important factor to ensure greater safety.
After six months of research, Tosetto found his Class40 Obportus in Saint-Malo, owned by Louis Burton’s IMOCA team. In February, he saw the boat and in April, after completing negotiations and the purchase, he returned to France with his wingman Filippo Montagner for the delivery to Italy, in the northern Adriatic. Obportus has a fiberglass sandwich hull, and a carbon mast, boom, and spinnaker pole. It has a fixed keel and two 750-liter ballasts.
“A fond memory is the exit from the locks of Saint-Malo together with Louis Burton’s Imoca Bureau Vallée.”
3600 miles, nineteen days, from Saint-Malo to Monfalcone, with only two stops in San Vito Lo Capo and Santa Maria di Leuca in various weather and sea conditions. “Until A Coruña we had good conditions crossing the Bay of Biscay, then we quickly sailed along Portugal with a low pressure bringing peaks of 50 knots from the northwest. We suffered a lot from the cold, but the boat was running at 18-20 knots. After passing through the Strait of Gibraltar at night, the navigation was calm until San Vito Lo Capo where we stopped to restock the galley. From Messina to Santa Maria di Leuca, we had a choppy sea and headwinds, which is the worst point of sail for these planing boats. The Adriatic Sea on the way home gave us light winds and calm conditions.
This first journey gave me good feedback on the work to be done and gave me a lot of confidence in my boat, which proved to be reliable, versatile, and well-equipped with double set of electronics as a backup for the instrumentation.”
A world tour for cleaner seas, with its sponsor IMilani
Tosetto, who has been sailing for nineteen years, knows how important the health of the sea is. During his many navigations he often found signs of pollution. “During the transfer from Saint Malo, on the Portuguese coast we found an indescribable amount of floating debris that hit the windward rudder.”
For this reason, in his GSC, he decided to be the spokesperson for an environmental message promoting cleaner seas. Recently, the sponsor IMilani has joined Riccardo’s project and, through its many virtuous initiatives, the company embraces the values of environmental protection.
IMilani is an Italian company that produces plastic crates and containers, recycling and reusing 1200 tons of post-consumer plastic waste annually.
“The use of plastic is an critical issue, but it is cannot simply be solved by deceiving ourselves into the conviction that we will be able not to use it. Rather, solutions must be found to recover plastics and create virtuous recycling cycles at the end of life of plastic products. This is demonstrated in the initiative launched by Sea Shepherd Italy and iMilani. The former collects abandoned fishing nets in the Mediterranean, the latter converts them into new containers.”
“My first goal to achieve in this round-the-world journey is to arrive at the starting line well prepared,” Tosetto says, working in the shipyard with Filippo and two other people with whom he disassembled and inspected the entire boat: a complete check that includes engine and ballast revision and rewiring of the electrical system. Riccardo, attentive to managing the cold especially in the oceans of the Great South, has installed heating on board and wanted to modify the coachroof, extending it by 40 centimeters. He added plexiglass openings to have a good view from the inside. The rigging and stays will be new.
Parallel to the preparation of the boat, Riccardo takes care of his physical and mental preparation and the study of navigation.
“I continue to train with light physical activity. For the emotional management part, I am working with Marcelo Mateos, who deals with counseling and coaching. We work on awareness to face this type of venture, to improve the emotional management fundamental in navigation. We are working on listening to fears and uncertainties that will arise, to be ready to face them autonomously.
I have studied the routes both through traditional paper sources or on the internet, and through the testimonies of other Class40 navigators who have shown themselves available for information exchange, especially on the Australian seas. From March until the departure, I will dedicate myself only to navigation: I’m thinking of sailing between the Azores and Madeira between May and June to test the boat well and train.”
“I still have to define in detail the provisions, but on the first trip aboard Obportus, I tried freeze-dried or cold-dehydrated products, which I will integrate with traditional foods that I am used to preparing in a pressure cooker to control gas and water consumption. I will study a diversified menu according to the climate of the various areas where I will sail.”
There are still some unknowns, but a great general enthusiasm moves Tosetto, who has only one great goal for the GSC. “The real unknowns are the Indian and Pacific Oceans and how we will react, the boat and I, in these crucial and complex sections of the circumnavigation. For the rest, I am excited to start and live this adventure. My greatest achievement and only goal is to complete the round-the-world trip, then if I could do it in a good position it would be an added plus.”