J/70 Sailor Claudia Rossi Inspires On and Off the Water

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Claudia Rossi and her Petite Terrible sailing team land in Northern Sardinia for the 2017 Audi J/70 World Championships.

More than 160 boats are racing in the Audi J/70 World Championship hosted by Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in the breathtaking Northern Sardinian town of Porto Cervo this week. One to watch is Petit Terrible helmed by the brilliant young Claudia Rossi who, at just 24, is a two-time J/70 European Champion, as well as the youngest skipper ever and first female to hold the title. And, she just started sailing in college—four years ago!

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Claudia Rossi at the helm of Petite Terrible in the 2017 J/70 European Championship where she became the youngest and first female champion. Photo: Paul Wyeth.

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Claudia Rossi. Photo: Zerogradinord.

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Petite Terrible in action at the J/70 European Championship. Photo: Rick Tomlinson.

I had the pleasure of meeting Claudia at last year’s J/70 World’s in San Francisco. I was as taken by the Italian sailor’s beauty, sparkling eyes, and infectious laugh as I was by her impressive sailing skills. She was relentless on the racecourse, although in the end, it was not to be her regatta. She is out to right that wrong on the water in Sardinia.

“I still have a bit bitter taste in my mouth from the San Francisco World Championship last year, but I­ won’t let that get in the way. It will be difficult this year because there are 175 boats and the best sailors in the world. Petite will do as much as ever. We never give up,” Claudia told Sail Couture.

One could say her fighting spirit is a family trait; her father is the skipper of the famous Farr 40 Enfant Terrible. Claudia enjoys navigating for her father, but true competitors they are, they also compete against one another in the J/70 and Farr 40 classes. Indeed, last July, she became the Farr 40 Worlds Corinthian Champion (fourth overall) at the helm of Pierluigi Bresciani’s Pazza Idea; her father was second in the overall standings.

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The famous Farr 40 skipper Alberto Rossi with daughter Claudia at Rolex Capri Sailing Week. Photo: Enfant Terrible/Zerodradinord.

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Claudia Rossi helming Pazza Idea in the 20th Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in Costa Smeralda. Photo: Petite Terrible/Zerogradinord.

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Like father like daughter: Alberto Rossi celebrates his daughter’s 2017 Corinthian Farr 40 Worlds win. Photo: Enfant Terrible/Zerodradinord.

Claudia says she chose the J/70 class because of its size and the skill level. Indeed, at 1,300 strong, the J/70 fleet is the fastest growing fleet worldwide and has attracted many of the world’s top professional and Corinthian sailors.

Claudia feels her greatest strength is her impressive team: Simone Spangaro (main), Michele Paoletti (tactician), Matteo Mason (trimmer), and Giulia Lantier (pit), replacing Verena Weber for the Worlds.

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“The the J/70 is small but technical at the same time,” says Claudia. Photo: Petite Terrible/Zerogradinord.

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Petite Terrible does it again! European Champions for the second year in a row! Photo: Paul Wyeth.

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Petite Terrible in action. Photo: Rick Tomlinson.

“The boat is small but technical at the same time. Being a one-design boat, the difference on the water is made by the crew. This is one thing I really enjoy because it drives me to improve every time more and more,” said Claudia.

Off the water

When she’s not sailing, Claudia can often be found in the mountains. Sailing is a rather recent passion, but she’s been on skis since she was a child. She has spent many Christmas holidays in the popular Italian ski resort of Val Gardena, her favorite for its stunning scenery and challenging slopes.

Claudia enjoys traveling and discovering new places, which is another great benefit of Grand Prix racing. My San Franciscan heart skipped a beat when as she told me about her favorite sailing destination.

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Claudia racing Petite Terrible in the J/70 Worlds in San Francisco. Photo: Petit Terrible/Zerogradinord.

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Claudia Rossi’s Petite Terrible against San Francisco’s Bay Bridge. Photo: Petite Terrible/Zerogradinord.

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Panoramic view of the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds in San Francisco. I was delighted to hear San Francisco is one of Claudia’s favorite sailing destinations. Photo: Alcatel/J/70 Worlds.

“I loved sailing in San Francisco because the place is chill and the conditions are great. Strong wind all day,” she said.

Food-wise, she enjoys fish and a crisp glass of white wine, but it’s the chips that she is really passionate about. “I go crazy for the fries,” she says.

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Claudia at one of the many festive events she attends. Photo: Claudia Rossi.

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Claudia in a moment of play with sister Francesca Rossi. Photo: Claudia Rossi.

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Elegant for the evening, Claudia Rossi and friends. Photo: Claudia Rossi.

Claudia’s favorite designer is the emerging Italian Betty Coppi who freelances for Fendi. “She’s absolutely original, genius and smart. She really goes the extra mile!”

To keep up with Claudia’s sailing exploits, follow Petit Terrible’s Facebook page.

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