Yacht Club Italiano, founded in Genoa in 1879, is the oldest sailing club in Italy and one of the oldest in the Mediterranean, with a membership base of about 1100.
The club began its life as Regio (“Royal”) Yacht Club Italiano through the initiative of Vittorio Augusto Vecchi (“Jack La Bolina”) and his enthusiastic sailing fellows, and enjoyed the support of His Majesty King Umberto I.
Since its inaugural race on 8th August 1880 (177 yachts racing in the Gulf of La Spezia), YCI has made sailing a popular sport through national and international events as well as training the younger generations. YCI inspired the establishment of other clubs (Naples, Palermo, Trieste and Venice) which led, after WWII, to the foundation of the Italian Sailing Federation.
Since the early 20th century the history of YCI has been marked by memorable events, such as the victory in 1902 of the French Cup by the 10-Ton Artica owned by HRH the Duke of Abruzzi, thus marking the club’s entry into the international racing arena; the gold medal won by the 8-Metre Italia at the XI Olympics (Kiel 1936); the lighting of Sydney City Hall by the club member Guglielmo Marconi on his yacht Elettra moored in the Duke of the Abruzzi Harbour; racing the ‘87 America’s Cup with another yacht called “Italia”.
High-profile club members from the past are Luigi Durand de la Penne (who was awarded a Military Gold Medal) and Beppe Croce, beloved President of the club for 28 years and the only non-Anglo Saxon to head ISAF (the International Sailing Federation). More recently Luca Devoti and Alessandra Sensini with their rich collection of prestigious awards and Olympic medals.
Throughout the decades several projects were launched, such as the foundation of STA-I in 1996, jointly with the Italian Navy, to enable the younger generations to experience life at sea on civil and military boats.
Again with the Italian Navy, in 2007 YCI launched the Tender to Nave Italia Foundation aimed at improving the quality of life for disabled people by means of sailing courses on board of the 61-m brig Nave Italia.
In 2000 the Beppe Croce Sail Academy was founded, open to members and non-members, to teach sailing at beginner and advanced level, offshore sailing, and preparation to qualify for a Nautical License.
More recently, in March 2017 Nicolò Reggio replaced Carlo Croce, a 20-year President. At the end of 2019 Gerolamo Bianchi followed, supported by a broadly-unchanged Board of Directors, with an agenda of openness to Genova, its institutions and its citizens, and international relevance; not to mention the organisation of world-class events such as the Rolex Giraglia, the SIAD Bombola d’Oro Trophy, the Millevele, the Grand Prix d’Italie Mini 6.50 and the Coppa Alberti.
YCI is a promoter of Olympic Classes too, through the organisation of the Olympic Classes Italian Championship in 2018, followed in 2018 and 2019 by the World Cup Series, which placed Genova on the stage of worldwide Olympic sailing.
Through these and new challenges, YCI is ready to consolidate its future.
252 yachts fly the club’s burgee.