Andrea Henriquet: “I fell in love with sailing using a 3-metre launch and the adventures told to me by my father and my family of sailors”

Andrea Henriquet is a sailor born in 1961 in Sestri Levante. Skipper and world champion in sailing, he took part in a round the world tour and some of the most important sailing competitions. He is now a sailing instructor and works in training.

Andrea Henriquet was born in 1961 in Sestri Levante and is a sailing instructor for the Federazione Italiana Vela and the French Federation, world champion skipper in sailing, and a participant in the world tour. He currently works with Ucina and I Saloni Nautici, first as manager for promotional activities and then as manager for the Area Mare in the International Genova Boat Show. He is a consultant and instructor at Villaggio del Ragazzo teaching professional training for Blue Economy projects.

In 1977 he was the winter champion of the  Tigullio IV classe IOR on the “Marmau” and the year after he became champion in I classe IOR. In 1979 he participated in the Regata Internazionale di Alassio and came in third place. In 1980, on the “Rory Star” he crossed the Atlantic and the year after, in Porto Cervo, he participated in the Admiral’s Cup, and then in Fastnett in England. Between 1981 and 1982, on the “Rolly-Go” he completed the World Tour, then participated in the Sardinia Cup and then the World 3/4 Ton in Denia, Spain. In second place before the last race, in the final leg his boat was dismasted and he came in ninth.

In 1983, he participated in the Italian J24 championship in Cala Galera, and then won the Italina 3/4 Ton championship , and with Luigi Carpaneda’s  “Botta dritta III” in the waters of Trieste, he won the World Cup with Corrado Isenburg, De Grassi and Romanengo. He then took part in the World Maxiyacht on the “Moro di Venezia”. He then went on to the “Carmen di Bellavista” and the “Longobarda”, winning second place in teh World Maxi in 1992. In 1993, due to a lack of time, he reduced his professional activities, having opened a sailing school, which he still manages today. In January 2020, he was a skipper at the Cape Town-Rio race on the “Almagores”.

Andrea Henriquet, you come from a family of sailors. How did your father and grandfather make you fall in love with the sea?

They would tell me stories and adventures they had experienced and my father, as soon as he could, took me onto a launch that could be sailed and rowed, teaching me the basics of boating: from how to drop anchor to rowing and sailing, consulting the barometer and observing the weather.

How did you first start sailing?

I fell in love with sailing using a 3 metre launch, a type of lateen, in the bay of Portobello, in Sestri Levante.

Is it true that sailing took you out of school?

Yes, I was in the fifth year at the Boating Academy when I made my first Atlantic crossing. My second time doing my fifth year, I was travelling around the world, and then I participated in the world championships, in short I finished the Boating Academy a few years later privately, but with excellent grades!

Of your many sporting accomplishments, which was the most emotional and why?

Certainly the world race, as a life experience and the personal satisfaction of having been the only team member to have completed it all, including the transfer between Italy and England. The World Cup I won in Trieste in 1983, instead, was very exciting because we won it in the last race. In those days it was a nearly 400-mile race.

You are also a skipper and sailing instructor, and have found yourself training students of all kinds, from children taking a course to managers working on team building skills, and people with special needs. What is the minimum common denominator when you are on board?

This is maybe the aspect that fascinates me more than going out to sea with a team: knowing that we are all so different, even in confronting ourselves with the water, but at the same time needing to use a common language, not only in terminology but in sync with the times and ways dictated by the boat, the wind, the sea, and the captain.

You leave the port using the engine, place yourself against the wind, raise the mainsail, then you bear away, haul up the sheet, the boat begins to drift, you put it in neutral, turn off the engine, and then that sudden sensation of the boat coming “alive” in the silence, pushed forward only by the wind…whether they are a child, a manager, young or old, sporty or disabled, you can always read in their eyes the same expression of surprise, freedom and happiness!

As an instructor, in your opinion, how are sailing, boating, and sea-related disciplines taught and considered in Italy? Could we do more?

We could do much more! All nautical training is disconnected, hard to access, difficult to read, with no common standards. In this way we are really losing a great opportunity for the development of an entire sector that has a number of options and opportunities, not only for jobs and sports, but above all for the development of social environments and human relationships. In my opinion, there needs to be a common thread throughout school, from primary through to university, with training, sports, and recreation. We are working on this.

How do you spend your free time at sea, Andrea Henriquet?

Lately, I have been putting my head “under water” using tanks. I love going to discover the taste, smell, and sound of the clean water around the rocks. There are still parts of Liguria that are unique, where you can still just float and relax with a mask on. I struggle to just lie under an umbrella.


Giuseppe Orrù

Photos by Claudio Colombo

BOATING IN A PORTRAIT A project by Liguria Nautica and Claudio Colombo showcasing a gallery of Ligurian people or those who have ties with our region, who have left their mark on Italian boating, or who have deep rooted connections with our sea. For each of them, we present a photographic portrait take by Claudio Colombo and an interview with our journalist, Giuseppe Orrù, to better know each person, in their personal lives as well.



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