Amedeo Sorrentino's interesting crew training gets thumbs up

Forty-nine-year-old Amedeo Sorrentino may be known as the ‘crazy Italian’ but there is no doubt he’s earned a lot of respect from his crew. Sorrentino, the oldest skipper in the Global Challenge fleet, not only has that special Latin charm but also possesses an infectious enthusiasm that seems to have spread rapidly through his team.

But don’t be fooled by the skipper’s playful exterior. Underneath there’s a highly-strung, competitiveness that will undoubtedly unfold as the race progresses. Sorrentino proved his potential earlier this year when, after an extremely close battle with the BP Explorer, narrowly missed winning the Round Britain and Ireland Challenge. In some ways he has ‘bit of unfinished business to do’ aboard Vaio.

Chatting about his approach to crew training Sorrentino said: “I relate this sort of sailing to a previous career when I was working as a music promoter in show business. I often worked all hours, with little sleep and I had to get used to plans changing instantaneously. Because I think this has helped with my mental attitude towards competitive ocean racing, I’ve tried to use a similar training method on my crew. It may not have been a very British way but the crew have responded well.

“Even yesterday, for example I gave them [the crew] a little surprise. We were out testing our new spinnaker carrying out loads of hoists and drops and suddenly, on one of the drops, I turned the boat into the wind, which made it very difficult for them to complete their drop. Not surprisingly they coped exceptionally well because they were used to this sort of surprise!”

But it’s not been all plain sailing for Team Vaio in their training process. Like most of the teams they’ve been from heaven to hell and back several times.

Sorrentino added: “It was quite shocking at the beginning they thought I was a crazy Italian but now they are used to me and after all our ups and downs we have levelled off and I’m very happy with the result.”

As well training his crew to ensure he feels satisfied that each one of them is capable of carrying out any task on the yacht at any time Sorrentino has been working on building his own confidence too. “The thing that I had to work on,” added Sorrentino, “was to build up a sense of trust in the boat. Because I felt I needed to know everything about the boat and everything she was capable of doing I’ve spent the last four months living onboard, alone. I also forced my guys to live on board for the last couple of weeks which I believe will give us a bit of a head start.”