The Sailing Gymn: the wind, the schools, the clubs and the regattas
Lake Garda tradition and sailing culture
Sailing at Lake Garda is, without doubt, the most historical and popular sport. Apart from results and without having to become a champion, knowing how to sail is a cultural part of being a Gardesana.
Apart from the shape of the Lake which almost guarantees wind, sailing at Garda is especially widespread because of the wonderful work of the clubs and schools which organise regattas and events every year, are happy to host sailing champions and who try to get adults and children alike closer to the sport of Sailing on Lake Garda.
Are Windless days rare on Garda?
If you say Wind in the Alto Garda area, you will bring to mind Peler and Ora.
The Peler starts to blow from the North in the early morning and gets stronger as it heads south down the Lake. The Ora blows from the south and starts after the morning wind has died away, reaching its full strength as it moves North. It is amazing to see the two winds arriving from both directions and to know that they punctually alternate – you can almost set your watch by them!
The winds on Garda, apart from being constant and regular, vary in intensity from morning to evening in the different parts of the Lake. You can be sure of finding the wind for you.
Read more about the Garda winds.
The sailing schools, as well as renting and offering skippered excursions, offer basic and expert courses for every kind of sailor: from relaxing outings to take your mind off your daily routine to group or private lessons in dinghies or keelboats, cabin boats, skiffs and foiling boats.
Clubs and Sailing Champions
With the Schools Project progetto Vela Scuola the sailing centres on Garda offer summr courses and tester sessions every year to bring children to the sport of sailing. Those that get the bug will start training with a squad and through this aim at Olympic sailing or being a professional sailor.
Garda Sailors Flavio Scala and Mauro Testa (Munich Olympics 1972, Star Class), Albino Fravezzi, Roberto Benamati (Barcellona Olympics 1992, Star Class) Michele Marchesini (Athens Olympics 2004, Finn Class), the Celon brothers, Manuel Modena (Luna Rossa), Luca Modena and Giuseppe Devoti, these are just some of the local athletes who started sailing on Garda and went on to sail at the highest levels.
It’s normal to find National teams and World Champions sailing here with us. Athletes of the calibre of Russell Coutts, Torben Grael, Fredrik Loof, Robert Sheidt, Xavier Rohart and Paul Goodison, to mention just some, have raced and trained here on Garda. Some of these sailors have moved to Garda for the quality of life and to be able to train at every moment.
Alto Garda regattas
There is an extensive regatta calendar each year: from zonal regattas for young athletes to world championships and local classics such as the Garda Centomiglia which has been fought every year since 1951 on the second Sunday of September.
Amongst all the regattas it is the Centomiglia that encourages the International sailing federations to bring their regattas to our clubs. In 2014, Lake Garda wrote a page in the history books by hosting the first World Championships of the Star Class in the fresh waters of Europe. A huge success for the Malcesine sailing club.
Foiling on Lake Garda
Foils are different shaped and sized appendices attached under the hull of a boat. They hold the boat out of the water and, with less wet area, the boats can go faster and fly above the water.
Foils have existed for many years but have really become more widespread with the 2013 America’s Cup and the Moth Class.
It’s difficult to return to traditional sailing once you have tried foiling. Is it a fashion or the future of sailing? We talk to Heinz Stickl who runs the Stickl Sportcamp in Malcesine.