Claudia Rossi and her Petite Terrible sailing team land in Northern Sardinia for the 2017 Audi J/70 World Championships.
More than 160 boats are racing in the Audi J/70 World Championship hosted by Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in the breathtaking Northern Sardinian town of Porto Cervo this week. One to watch is Petit Terrible helmed by the brilliant young Claudia Rossi who, at just 24, is a two-time J/70 European Champion, as well as the youngest skipper ever and first female to hold the title. And, she just started sailing in college—four years ago!
I had the pleasure of meeting Claudia at last year’s J/70 World’s in San Francisco. I was as taken by the Italian sailor’s beauty, sparkling eyes, and infectious laugh as I was by her impressive sailing skills. She was relentless on the racecourse, although in the end, it was not to be her regatta. She is out to right that wrong on the water in Sardinia.
“I still have a bit bitter taste in my mouth from the San Francisco World Championship last year, but I won’t let that get in the way. It will be difficult this year because there are 175 boats and the best sailors in the world. Petite will do as much as ever. We never give up,” Claudia told Sail Couture.
One could say her fighting spirit is a family trait; her father is the skipper of the famous Farr 40 Enfant Terrible. Claudia enjoys navigating for her father, but true competitors they are, they also compete against one another in the J/70 and Farr 40 classes. Indeed, last July, she became the Farr 40 Worlds Corinthian Champion (fourth overall) at the helm of Pierluigi Bresciani’s Pazza Idea; her father was second in the overall standings.
Claudia says she chose the J/70 class because of its size and the skill level. Indeed, at 1,300 strong, the J/70 fleet is the fastest growing fleet worldwide and has attracted many of the world’s top professional and Corinthian sailors.
Claudia feels her greatest strength is her impressive team: Simone Spangaro (main), Michele Paoletti (tactician), Matteo Mason (trimmer), and Giulia Lantier (pit), replacing Verena Weber for the Worlds.
“The boat is small but technical at the same time. Being a one-design boat, the difference on the water is made by the crew. This is one thing I really enjoy because it drives me to improve every time more and more,” said Claudia.
Off the water
When she’s not sailing, Claudia can often be found in the mountains. Sailing is a rather recent passion, but she’s been on skis since she was a child. She has spent many Christmas holidays in the popular Italian ski resort of Val Gardena, her favorite for its stunning scenery and challenging slopes.
Claudia enjoys traveling and discovering new places, which is another great benefit of Grand Prix racing. My San Franciscan heart skipped a beat when as she told me about her favorite sailing destination.
“I loved sailing in San Francisco because the place is chill and the conditions are great. Strong wind all day,” she said.
Food-wise, she enjoys fish and a crisp glass of white wine, but it’s the chips that she is really passionate about. “I go crazy for the fries,” she says.
Claudia’s favorite designer is the emerging Italian Betty Coppi who freelances for Fendi. “She’s absolutely original, genius and smart. She really goes the extra mile!”
To keep up with Claudia’s sailing exploits, follow Petit Terrible’s Facebook page.