Do you remember the first time you have been onboard sailing? Vasco Vascotto: Yes, it was with my father in a 5.5 meter length sailboat. I was 6 years old and I was very scared. I did not sail again until two years later, then I liked it and I went on.
Who were your first idols and who are the present ones? VV: In my hometown city, Trieste (ITA), many people sail, and of course my first idols were local sailors like Adelchi Perlaschier (father of Mauro), Bertucci, etc. Now my idols are many, I like how John Kostecki, Ray Davis and Terry Hutchinson sail. They have different characteristics and styles, and always I learn from them.
When did you think that the sport of sailing could be your profession? VV: When I turned 22. I had finished my military service in the Italian Navy sailing in a One Tonner and they offered me the Quarter Ton Chioga to dispute the Quarter Ton Cup 1992. We won and then I thought on trying out since then.
You are an accomplished specialist in full-crewed boats, but do you never thought about solo or short-handed sailing? VV: Never, nor mad would do that. I like dock-in after a racing day, to be at home, to have dinner with the crew or friends, to have a beer or a coffee. Short-handed sailing seems too crazy for me, does not go with my character.
Do you prefer calling tactics or at the helm? VV: Tactics. Before used to be at the helm, but one day I started as a tactician and I liked it over. Being tactician allows you to be aware and try to keep more key-factor under control: the wind, the fleet, the manoeuvres and everything…. Helmsman should only think about boat speed.
Which of the next three factors do you think is most important for winning races: manoeuvring well, boat speed or tactics? VV: It is impossible to choose just one of them. If you sail very fast but you choose the wrong side of the course you never going to win. If you are not fast and choose the good side you never win too. If you sail fast and on the right place but you fail on manoeuvres do not win either. But if I really should highlight one factor, I think this is boatspeed. When you sail fast everything else is easier.
From those classes (J24, Melges 32, Farr 40, Soto 40, RC 44, ORC / IMS, TP52, MiniMaxi….) that you use to race on, Which one do you like the most? VV: The TP52, for sure. It is the most complete boat and its circuit is really leveled. In The TP52 SuperSeries if you make a mistake you finish the last one, and if you do it well you can win. You have options of winning but only options due to well-balanced high performance teams you race against
You have won many races and 25 World Championships, which victory was the most liked for you? VV: Luckily I have no memory, I forget all the previous races and I do not want to give time to the past. In this way I only thought about the future: the next race. It is not the moment to look back, when I start to think about the past will be a signal that the end has come as an active sailor. When I retire, I’ll think about what regattas I’ve won and which ones have been the best.
What race is missing in your impressive track record? VV: Something I can no longer achieve, an Olympic medal. I competed in 470 but never participated in Olympics. It’s my unfinished business.
Who has been your toughest rival throughout your career? VV: Terry Hutchinson. We have faced each other in many races and in different classes, especially in TP52 and it is the toughest rival that I have had, it is always very hard to beat him. I have a lot of respect for him, he is an excellent sailor and I always learn when we face each other.
You compete a lot of days a year… but when was the last time you sailed on holidays? VV: Last year. I was able to enjoy a week sailing along the coast of Dalmatia in Croatia. I went with my wife and some friends, but without hoisting sails! Even if you are cruising and you see another boat sailing, then all begin again. I enjoyed the short distances by power on (laughs).
Have you ever foiled? VV: Do not! Foiling does not belong to my culture. I not even like to fly in an airplane. I love to sail with my ass near the sea.
Photo Credits: Nico Martínez / Martínez Studio