An interview with Emiliano Parenti.
Helmsman of “Marga”
The VCYC Mediterranean Champions Cup is on the verge of beginning it’s third edition and the club has grown to over 40 members. We felt it would be nice to interview Emiliano Parenti, one of our Technical Advisors, and get his thoughts on this classic yacht adventure.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your history with Classic yachts.
I started loving boats since a child. My journey started in a classic way, from playing with the Optimist boat to Olympic classes up to great adventures, trips and ocean racing. Even as a young man, all my savings went into purchasing sail boats., dreaming.
After completing my studies, sailboats became my career, as I have always been fascinated by construction, technical aspects, design and materials which make sailboats. My passion for classic boats came later because of my interest in the history and traditions of sailboats from a construction and cultural viewpoint. I was sad that such a wealth of history and craftmanship was slowly being lost. From that moment onward, I began accumulating experience in the construction and the restoration of classic boats, managing several shipyards both in Italy and abroad, without stopping sailing.
Today, besides managing a shipyard and project managing, I’m also a marine surveyor who specializes in the evaluation of the condition of classic boats.
Also, tell me please, Emiliano, how did you hear about the VCYC?
It came naturally. When I sense the same passion in the eyes of other sailors it’s a fatal attraction and I’m rarely mistaken. A few words on a quay or in a cockpit while enjoying a drink is enough to understand the same types of cultural, technical and traditional values. This is what happened when I met the VCYC founders.
Great, and what made you want to become involved?
I understood that I wanted to be involved when an opportunity was given to me – the chance to share and measure with other people who had the same passion regarding these types of boats. All this in a highly qualified environment in which I could give my contribution in maintaining these wonderful boats. Even if, at times my contribution seemed superfluous, given the perfect condition they were already in. All this seemed to me that the boat owners and crews go to enormous length to keep the boats in perfect condition.
What was the state of classic yacht racing just before VCYC?
I am a racer and racers love to compete in a dynamic environment with fair rules, while results are only temporary. The important point is that when you take boats of this type far away from the home port, it is necessary to be aware of having the possibility of producing good results, a possibility which should be given to everyone.
After many years in the classic boats circuit, both as a builder and as a participant, I have always imagined that the creation of such a club could improve communication between members to improve the circuit and make it more qualified, more proactive for the members and therefore more fun. This type of communication between owners and members and between members and organizers has been lacking in recent years making them seem like two opposing entities, a paradox.
And do you think it is important to race these old yachts?
Yes, off course, I believe it is very important. Besides the races which finish on Sunday evenings, putting together in one single place such unique boats of such historical importance is a way with which to safeguard such boats.
Furthermore, it is also important to help the owners in valuing their boats, sharing them and keeping them efficient, thereby helping the boats in surviving in order to make them available for future generations. This is important because future generations will become the bearers of traditional values.
Do you think that an Owner’s Club like VCYC is useful to the general health of Classic yacht racing? And how, in your opinion does it help?
I think that an Owner’s Club like VCYC is useful to the general health of Classic yacht racing, and I hope that through organizations such as VCYC it is possible to spread renewed enthusiasm and renewed stimulus in the owners and that can propel them in participating in many meetings and competitions with great pleasure. Such a Club can also create in the members a direct participation in decision making and perfecting the rules of the game. Another aspect to consider is how such a Club can also help through the exchange of technical solutions the maintenance, improvement and efficiency of these boats.
Does the fact that the VCYC is an International Yacht Club change anything in your opinion?
In a positive way, off course! The exchange between different cultures can only generate positive aspects. I’m a technician and I’m well aware that a small geographical distance reflects in a macroscopic way in the way one projects, designs and builds a yacht.
Yachts are similar in construction but have different characteristics that come from factors such as local sea condition, types of wood available in a certain geographical area and building traditions that are handed down by fishing boats and work boats.
How important do you think it is to find a major sponsor for this Championship?
I think that having a major sponsor can help in helping the fleet grow exponentially. This fact makes it interesting to the sponsor. This creates a chain reaction that could bring great results in terms of visibility. Having a major sponsor can guarantee the continuation and consolidation of events in fixed places with fixed dates that, in turn create a fascinating appointment with classic boats to the public. A regular event helps create a timeless event.
Where would you like to see the VCYC and its Championship in 5 years time?
I would like to see always more boats compete in a fun way and respecting fair play. I would also like to see the owners participate in a direct way in the rule-making process.
Another point to consider is the participation of young people and transmit them that the cultural and technical aspects prevail on all other aspects.
Do you have any suggestions that you would like to make to help the VCYC move forward?
Yes, the suggestion I would like to make is to always keep communication between owners simple, strong and clear and to work together to recruit as many young people as possible as the future of these boats is theirs.
Thank you, Emiliano, for your time.