Sailors Return with Three Trophies; Red Ferrari Remains in Italy

More Room Required for RMCC Trophy Case

The 30th Trofeo Accademia Navale e citta di Livorno (TAN) officially ended with a spectacular awards presentation at the Italian Naval Academy. TAN is a sailing regatta that comprises of 9 different classes of sail boats. The regatta is a combined Italian Naval Academy and city of Livorno event and draws thousands to Livorno each year.

Although we were scheduled to match race for three days following the fleet races, high winds, rain and high sea state caused the race committee to change the race format to a team racing format. Four teams of eight raced against each other where the top four boats moved on and the bottom 4 were eliminated. Ideally the bottom four boats would have had their own round robin event, but the significant weather only permitted the top four winners of each group to carry on competing.

Team RMCC ended up in the finals racing against, UAE, BAH, TUR, ITA, SLO, BRA, IND. After finishing second in the semi-finals RMCC finished third overall behind UAE and BAH finishing 3rd in each of the two final races.

At the award ceremonies Team RMCC received the following trophies.

3rd place- Fleet racing

3rd Place- Team Racing

As well, because there were more than military academies racing, there was a military academies award, for which RMCC placed 3rd as well.

For their efforts they also won a beautiful Red Ferrari, however Canadian government gifting policies prevented us from accepting.

Each of the countries team leaders, which ranged in rank from the RMCC’s CWO to the Egyptian vice Admiral, divided their time equally between watching the races from observation boats provided and attending a comprehensive cultural program. These activities provided each academy’s team leader, an opportunity to discuss and learn from each other with respect to our individual processes, organizations, demographics, and academic requirements as well as learn about the history and culture of the Tuscany region. Historical guided tours were provided of the Livorno Naval Academy, the old port of Livorno via canal boat tour, Florence, Pisa and Lucca. We met with the mayor of Livorno after a parade through town and toured the WASS torpedo manufacturing plant.

One of the two highlights of our cultural program was a most unusual wine tour of a very small wine region just south of Livorno and Saturday nights Ballet.

Victorrio, the wineries communications representative, wrapped our glasses in stories that went on for the entire afternoon. This completely self serve wine and food tasting event inside a well appointed Tuscan villa with an over abundance of italian leather sofa’s and marble tables provided an environment we all think of when we think of Tuscany.

Saturday night the team leaders and some of their visiting defense attache’s from Rome attended the Ballet “Genisis”. This five story opera and ballet theatre was an impressive display of fine italian architecture dating back to the late 17th century.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the commandant for his unwavering support, the faculty, training wing and the athletic department for working through those scheduling issues that are required when our cadets participate in events such as these at this time of year. HMCS ONTARIO  for permitting the RMCC sailing team access to their 420’s just prior to us departing.

Together you all played a role in this teams success.

I look forward to seeing us all work together in creating the RMCC aquatics centre which will no doubt be the home of our future aquatic sport trophies.

Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Ocdt Foscarini, Mahon, Germain and Bowen. They each represented Canada with distinction. On and off the water they developed respectful relationships with not only the other crews but also their team leaders.


RMCC CWO    Previous Article on TAN 2013


Trofeo Accademia Navale – The Competitors Perspective

25902 OCdt (IV)Nigel Mahon

Recently, four members of the RMCC sailing team returned from a 9-day international regatta hosted by the Italian Naval Academy in Livorno, Italy. The regatta, the Trofeo Accademia Navale, consisted of several different boat classes and regattas that involved much of the town where it is hosted. The RMCC sailing team participated in the foreign military component of the event that was attended by 26 military sailing teams from around the world. The foreign military regatta consisted of three days of fleet racing and three days of “theater-style” racing with several other events and activities throughout the week that allowed the teams to talk and share their experiences from their respective academies. (For more information on the day-to-day events during the regatta see the College Chief Warrant Officer’s posts).

The RMCC sailing team has been preparing all year to compete in regattas and develop the sailing skills of its members. Throughout the fall season the team practice four days a week and attended several college level regattas in the local area. In the winter season when it was too cold to sail the team continued to train with theory classes once a week and gym sessions Friday mornings. The week before departing for Italy we got two boats in the water to have a weekend of theory and practical training. With the help of the CCWO we got back into the sailing mindset and reviewed some of the rules and tactics we would be using in Italy. The lake is still pretty cold in April but it paid off.

The regatta provided an incredible chance for the cadets from the different academies to learn from their counterparts from other countries and hear how their academies and militaries are similar and different from ours. Most of the teams in attendance spoke some English and several of the teams such as Norway and India were basically fluent. Our French language proficiency proved useful with the cadets from Belgium who natively speak French.

Each team was given a host for the week from the Naval Academy to help with organization and getting around. Our host, Annalisa, was a 3rd year logistics officer completing a law degree. She was very capable in English and made sure we always had everything we needed and that we experienced as much of the culture as we could in 9 days. Between her and the other team’s hosts, they frequently planned evenings out at restaurants or bars that gave the cadets a chance to talk with one another in a relaxed setting. After exploring Pisa for a few hours one afternoon we went to a pizza restaurant where we met up with the teams from UAE, Mexico, Bulgaria, Slovenia, and Tunisia. Several more of these evenings happened later in the week with the teams from Norway and Belgium. At the halfway point in our time there the hosts switched so the first group of hosts could resume classes again. Our new host was Giuseppe, a fourth year Coast Guard officer. Giuseppe was an avid member of their horse riding team and had competed and done very well in several competitions since he had started riding at the school. The school owns 16 horses that are kept adjacent to their outdoors sports area that is across the road from the main buildings of the academy. The team competes in jumping events and the coach in charge of the stables described the relationship of horse riding and naval operations such as understanding the motion of the boat/horse, and the split second decisions and guidance from the rider to the horse required to successfully complete a horse jumping competition.

The Naval Academy organized several events with buffets and music that all the teams attended in uniform and had time to socialize with the other cadets and the staff representatives from the other academies throughout the week. Most of the other teams that attended the regatta were from naval academies with the exception of Belgium and Serbia who have mixed academies similar to RMCC. Learning about the other academies shed light on the way other militaries operate and train their officers. Norway for example did not appear to have a hair standard as two of their three members had hair well over 6 inches long and covering their ears. Several of the academies required previous non-commissioned experience before attending the academies, and many of the academies tailor their training for the cadet’s specific trades. The Italian academy operates under this model with cadets applying for a trade in the Navy and going to the academy in a pre-selected degree program for that trade. Naval engineers only take mechanical engineering; logistics officers only take law, etc. Along with their academic program the academy also teachers specific trade skills rather then having the cadets go to separate training centers each summer. The line officers (MARS) study navigation, astronomy related to navigation, and spend time in the school’s bridge simulator. The school also trains coast guard officers, and medical officers for the first three years before they are sent to a larger university in another town.

Learning about how different academies run their programs begins to make many parts of RMC seem better then the general consensus perceives them. In the Italian Naval Academy, the first years all stay in rooms with approximately 40 beds. The beds have a bedside table and there are small lockers in separate rooms near the bathrooms. They have no privacy, minimal space to put their things, no personal computer access, and they aren’t allowed to close the windows of the room at any point during the year, including the cold nights in winter. During their first year of summer training they spend three months on the Navy’s tall ship learning about life at sea and developing as a group. One part of this training involves going for three days without food and water with the intention of breaking the group down and forcing them to find their strength and motivation. During the three days they are to find a symbol of their motivation that becomes the symbol of their year.

We had some time off during the week that was used for personal time but also to experience some of the history and culture of Italy. Our team went to Pisa on one of the earlier days with Annalisa where we saw many of the famous landmarks and learned about their significance. In the same area as the leaning tower are two other large buildings, each representing a different time in life. The first building is essentially a large dome representing birth, then a large cathedral in the middle signifying life, and the tower at the end. We had a day with no sailing included in the schedule that was used for the teams to visit Pisa, Florence, or Luca. Our team chose to visit Florence where we were given a guided tour with several other teams to see and learn the history of several “famous” areas. Some of the areas we visited were the Vecchio Palace, Vecchio Bridge, Signoria Square, Replublic Square, and Florence Catherdral. We had several opportunities to explore the town around the Academy as well which had kilometers of waterfront, a crowded canal, market squares, and many areas and objects of historical significance.

The RMCC sailing team attended this regatta to develop our sailing skills in a new environment against people from different sailing backgrounds then what we usually see in competitions around Canada. Some of the teams their had members that are internationally ranked like the skipper from Bahrain. We had a couple hours on the first day to practice and get used to moving within the boat and make sure everyone knew what their jobs were for each manoeuver. Throughout the competition our team improved and worked more smoothly together which paid off in the final “theater-style” racing event where we placed third. We briefed and debriefed each day and after most races to ensure continued development and learning from every opportunity.

The Trofeo Accademia Navale was an incredible experience for the RMC sailing team. The setting provided opportunities to meet cadets from other countries across the world and share experiences and knowledge with them. The competition itself provided further training and lessons that have been brought back to RMC by means of the member’s skills that can be incorporated into next year’s training for the team. The sailing team would like to thank everyone who supported our attendance at this regatta and a special thank you to CPO1 Davidson who took the time to ensure we got the most out of every learning situation on and off the water before and during our time in Italy.

One Comment

  • Joey

    May 6, 2013 at 11:08 am

    BZ to the RMC Sailing Team and an excellent showing on the world stage!

    It is fantastic to see that the Sailing Program is alive and well at the College. Success like this will no doubt ensure it will remain that way.