Sail Talk with Francesco Mongelli

Is the second day of the Swan Sardinia Challenge and this time the Sail Talk speaks with Francesco Mongelli, navigator aboard the ClubSwan 50 Bronenosec.

Francesco, you sailed in the last America’s Cup with Luna Rossa.

“I want you to know that I’m a navig-actor, not just a navigator,” jokes Mongelli about his role interpreting the navigation equipment and the ups and downs of life. “I call the position of the boat compared with our competition and the course we should follow and I really enjoy my role. And here I’ve seen Vasco Vascotto again, we were on the same America’s Cup team aboard Luna Rossa, and other friends that I sailed with in the past aboard Bronenosec – which you pronounce Bronienoziez – and that I hadn’t seen for a while. I’m back as navigator after three years and it takes a while to get back in the groove. I’m a little rusty as they say. At the AC there are specialists for every last detail, so if you have a problem you have the best experts at your disposal to solve it. Here you have to fend for yourself and often you find yourself giving advice to younger sailors that need your voice of experience.”

Can you tell us a bit about where you were just before our brief talk?

I was under the deck getting all the data from today’s sail to go over it, reconstruct our

performance, and understand where we could calibrate better. I’ve got to get ready for our post race debriefing and I’m running late!”

Let’s say it, it’s harder to be a navigator than it seems…

“You start early in the morning and you finish late in the evening, it all depends on how many problems there are aboard. The more experience you gain the less you work at it because you know what you have to prepare beforehand to help the day on the water run smoothly. Sure, if there are problems with the on board electronics you have to solve them and that can take a lot of time.”

Where are you heading after sailing the ClubSwan 50?

“I’m going to train on the TP52 Bronenosec, I’m standing in for my friend and colleague Bruno Zirilli who had a scheduling conflict.”

Francesco says goodbye with his usual smile and a joke.

“I’m the patch, the guy to call when you’re got a hole to cover. No, actually I’m the guy to call when you’ve got a problem to cover!”