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Winning Barcolana 50

using AzureProject to design winning sails

Spirit of Portopiccolo case study | Interview with Renzo Sorci, Olimpic Sails, Italy

Photo © Studio Borlenghi – http://www.carloborlenghi.com

‘We are immensely proud that the winning boat of the Barcolana had our sails, designed with AzureProject’, says Renzo Sorci, designer at Olimpic Sails and AzureProject user for more than a decade.

He continues: “The Barcolana is not only a regatta, it involves the whole city of Trieste for about ten days, an event joined by 300 thousand people with boats coming from many different countries. Being chosen by the defender ‘Spirit of Portopiccolo’, who represented the city of Trieste, has been a huge responsibility and honour.”

For Portopiccolo we created a Code 0, which was hoisted just 4 minutes after the start of the race and proved to be the winning move, as mentioned by the crew at the end of the race. Since the start, Spirit of Portopiccolo increased the lead and rounded the first mark 52 seconds ahead, completing the course in record pace after 57 minutes.

“Winning that historical event made us very proud and happy”, says Renzo.

Spirit of Portopiccolo – AzureProject simulation compared to real result – Photo © Studio Borlenghi – http://www.carloborlenghi.com

Spirit of Portopiccolo

“The crew of Spirit of Portopiccolo (Furio Benussi, his brother Gabriele and well-known sailors such as Lorenzo Bressani, Alberto Bolzan, Stefano Spanghero) came to our loft only 20 days before the event. Furio was looking to improve the performance of the boat in light wind conditions.”

Spirit of Portopiccolo is a canting keel 86″, and it was looking to defend the trophy from the 100″ CQS Tempus Fugit, the fastest of the challengers.

Renzo and his team took the challenge! They first checked the most suitable membranes materials for the Code Zero. Renzo says: “I started to model the rig and deck from the existing plans of the boat to accurately define the appropriate size of the sail. In my design process, I considered all the details as well as the polar curves and the hydrostatic stability.”

Photo © Studio Borlenghi – http://www.carloborlenghi.com

Using AzureProject

I design sails in AzureProject since 2005, when it was just released. Sabrina, Donald and Alessandro listened to me and implemented my suggestions in AzureProject, so the sail design software is also supporting and enhancing my design work. For support on design issues, I can trust Francesco, part of the team with 10 years of experience in sail design.

AzureProject has grown at each update, improving its stability and integrating more and more tools to follow the increased design complexity of today’s yachts. The fibre layout tool is very precise and allows me to verify the density of the fibres at each point of the sail while the analysis modules gave me a forecast of the aerodynamic performance in the required conditions, including of the resulting loads and deformations. So, in just a few days, I was able to design a 340sqm Code 0 for Spirit of Portopiccolo!”

“Then, we started the manufacturing of that Code 0. We worked in shifts for a week and managed to deliver the sail 10 days in advance, allowing the crew to test it. The crew feedback was immediately very positive! “Superb shape and geometry” was the message from Lorenzo Bressani after the sea trials.

“Winning Barcolana 50 was a great satisfaction, and we remain confident in being able to constantly deliver excellent results, using advanced design software and procedures” says Renzo.

Many thanks to Renzo Sorci for the interview. You can find more information about Olimpic Sails on their website: http://www.olisails.it/

Video Credit: Carlo Alessandrelli – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Va7KIx2EXqI

Barcolana in numbers

Total boats

Participated in the Barcolana 50 Regatta


Course length


The winning time, established by Spirit of Portopiccolo