On February 17th, Courageous Sailing had the distinct honor of welcoming to Boston the new America's Cup Challenger of Record, Vincenzo Onorato, founder and head of the Italian AC team, Mascalzone Latino.
Mr. Onorato came to Boston as the guest of Professionisti Italiani di Boston (PIB), a group of professional Italians living in Boston, to spread awareness and raise support for his new sailing school in Naples, Italy, the Scuola Vela Mascalzone Latino. Like Courageous Sailing, the mission of Scuola Vela is to provide opportunities, through sailing, to kids at risk. The need for and potential of such a program is particularly urgent in Naples, where in some areas of the city the poverty rate is among the worst in Europe. (Naples is also, of course, one of Italy's most beautiful and important cities.) And Mr. Onorato could not have been a more compelling and passionate advocate for providing hope and opportunity to children raised in poverty. In a crowd full of sailors eager to hear about the next America's Cup, everyone wanted to hear more about the kids, the school and how they could help.
The timing for this visit was incredible, as the America's Cup had just finished days before in Valencia, Spain, and Mr. Onorato - as news spread that Mascalzone Latino was to be the America's Cup Challenger of Record - found himself at the center of the sailing world's attention. Everyone wanted to know where, when and in what boats the next America's Cup would be held, and though there are no answers to these questions just yet, it didn't stop people from trying.
PIB had the vision several months ago to propose a partnership between Courageous Sailing and the Mascalzone Scuola Vela, recognizing the compatibility of our missions and potential for great collaborations. This came to fruition on the 17th when Mr. Onorato and his team toured the Courageous site and met with the Courageous team over lunch. It quickly became clear that Courageous and Mascalzone had much to learn from one another and much to gain from a collaboration. And that evening, during his talk, Mr. Onorato invited Miguel up to microphone with him to announce our new relationship. Mr. Onorato announced the exciting first steps: an student exchange, bringing some of their kids to Boston, and some of ours to Naples; flying the Courageous flag on the Mascalzone boats (and theirs on ours), and inviting Courageous kids into the ML America's Cup team base.
In Vincenzo's words: "When you are sailing it's necessary to trust one another and work together constructively, or else you don't succeed; the same can be said about life...what we have created is not only a school of sailing, but of life as well." We couldn't agree more, and are looking forward to working closely together with Mr. Onorato and his team in the months and years to come.