Just behind the Ravenna railway station, a big sailboat suspended in the air rises imposingly and is reflected in the waters of the Candiano canal.
Walking by it, many tourists wonder what it is and are surprised by the magnificence of the structure. A tall main mast stands out against the sky and seems to touch it. Beneath it, a black and red hull; and in the background, the blue of the Candiano canal.
It is MORO DI VENEZIA, entrepreneur Raul Gardini’s historic boat, which was the protagonist of the America’s Cup in 1992.
HISTORY OF A BOAT
In 1992. entrepreneur and sailor from Ravenna Raoul Gardini, with the financial and technological support of Montedison, decided to embark on the adventure of the Louis Vuitton Cup.
He previously had Compagnia della Vela in Venice build a hull called Il Moro (1990), followed by four other hulls with the same name in the following two years, launched in Spain and in the USA.
The last one of them, considered the most reliable one, took part in the regattas of the Louis Vuitton Cup in 1992. The winner of the competition would later compete against the USA team to win the America’s Cup.
Il Moro, protagonist of an unforgettable dream, is today a monument to the sail and the maritime identity of Ravenna.
IL MORO, TODAY
The boat that you can see in Ravenna is Il Moro III, maybe the fastest one of the five that were built at the time in view of the America’s Cup.
After the historic competition, Il Moro III was purchased by Diego dalla Valle, who left it to the Port Authority of Ravenna in 2008. In 2013, the boat was moved next to the headquarters of the Port Authority, where it remained until 2021.
Today, it is located at the head of the docks in the Darsena area, imposing and breath-taking, so that all the citizens of Ravenna can see it. Thanks to the long perspective offered by the Candiano canal, it has revived its relationship with water.
LOUIS VUITTON CUP 1992
In the waters of San Diego (California), Il Moro – led by the US skipper Paul Cayard – ended the first phase of the competition in third place. In the semi-final, it defeated the Japanese Nippon Challenge and the French Le Defi, thus remaining the only boat to compete against the favourite team New Zealand Challenge.
The final didn’t start well for the Italian team, who briefly found themselves just a point away from losing. With four heart-stopping regattas, conquered with less than a 1-minute gap, Il Moro managed to overturn the result and win the cup against all odds.
It was the first time in 141 years for a non-English-speaking boat to compete in an America’s Cup final.
AMERICA’S CUP 1992
The final took place on May 9th, 1992. The America³ team was the great favourite. And indeed, it won the first regatta 30 seconds ahead.
The second one was instead in favour of the Italian team, which finished the race some seconds ahead of the USA one, with a masterful manoeuvre just a few metres from the finish line. It was the first time for an Italian team to win a regatta in a final of the America’s Cup.
After four other tense regattas, Il Moro gave way to the USA team, which won the trophy.
The Italian team came home to an overjoyed population and was welcomed with love, as someone who has accomplished something great anyway.