The chairman of Porto Antico di Genova talks to LN: “With The Ocean Race and the Boat Show we have become part of an elite group”
Mauro Ferrando, chairman for Porto Antico Spa, talks to Liguria Nautica about the work that has been done to bring The Ocean Race to Genova and, more in general, for the leadership of a city “whose essence is the sea”
“The sea is the essence of our city”: with this phrase, Mauro Ferrando, chairman for Porto Antico di Genova Spa, encompasses not only the success that has led Genova to become the host of the finale of The Ocean Race Europe in the coming weeks, and The Ocean Race in 2023, but also a network of partnerships guaranteeing the Ligurian capital a place among the world elite in boating.
In his interview with Liguria Nautica, Mauro Ferrando also shares some of the behind the scenes in the choice of Genova as the location for the finale of The Ocean Race, he talks about Genova becoing a parlour, the Porto Antico becoming a player in international events and explains the determining role had by the Boat Show, which he hopes will also soon move into the shadow of the Bigo, allowing the event to once again take its place in the “world leadership.”
LN – Mr Ferrando, the Porto Antico is becoming a parlour for the sailing industry. How are you preparing for this event?
MF – With the arrival of The Ocean Race Europe next week, we are doing a test run for The Grand Finale of The Ocean Race 2023. It will be a great, and safe, celebration, not only for the city and sailing enthusiasts, but also to mark recovery after lockdown: sailing is coming out of the small clubs and restricted events in order to excite and embrace everyone. The objective is to add Genova, fully, as one of the international capitals for this exhilarating sport, with an eye to the younger generation.
It is important for growth, and the Council has given it a decisive push, but it can also count on the support of important organisations such as Federazione Italiana Vela and Yacht Club Italiano. In this regard, I would like to note that, at the same time as The Ocean Race Europe, we will also have the finale of the Giraglia and, at the end of September, once again at the Porto Antico, we have the departure of the Marina Militare Nastro Rosa Tour – Giro d’Italia a Vela.
LN – For a while now, rumour has had it that the candidacy of Genova as host for The Ocean Race was one of the most substantiated, as Richard Brisius seems to be confirming between the lines. When did you receive confirmation?
MF – As Porto Antico we are very proud of having been among the strongest promoters of Genova’s candidacy; the first presentation took place at the same time as the 2018 Boat Show. The official announcement of the appointment came the year after, during the 2019 Boat Show.
We did a lot of work behind the scenes, together with a common passion for sailing and the sea, and the friendship of Richard Brisius, the “number one” of The Ocean Race, who had his start on board Giorgio Falck’s “Gatorade” , with Frankie Cattai, in addition to the foresight of our mayor, Marco Bucci, a passionate sailor himself, who took up the opportunity.
LN – What were the elements that played in favour of Genova?
MF – The essence of our city is the sea. It has been historically, and it still is now, and it will be even more so in the immediate future. Looking to the past, we have the Genoa Boat Show, which, starting from 1962, represents an important calling card in the boating world in general, capable of attracting some of the best known sailors, the two magnificent editions of the Tall Ships, with some of the most important training ships in the Navies of the world present in our waters and our tradition of Ligurian sailing clubs, a breeding ground for the champions of tomorrow.
Looking forward we have The Grand Finale, in 2023, which will be an extraordinary opportunity to present the Eastern Waterfront, a redevelopment project that, with the planned connections to the Porto Antico, will become one of the most interesting examples in the world of urban redevelopment. Let’s not forget that the Eastern Waterfront projects and that of the Porto Antico, both come fromthe talents of Renzo Piano, with a vision that takes into consideration the intrinsic nature of these places, architectural discipline and the need to create environments made for people, where it is pleasant to live, work, study and relax.
Going into detail, I’m thinking of the Marina in the former exhibition area and the transformation that it will undergo, and that it is already having in part, with the construction of the docks for super yachts, by Amico, becoming, we predict, a marina located in one of the biggest and most attractive cities in the Mediterranean. The city will have everything in order to fully take back its world leadership with its Boat Show and to attract races and events of the highest calibre. With targeted investments we could become one of the international elites for boating.
LN – What are the objectives you have set for your term as chairman of Porto Antico?
MF – Expanding horizons in order to achieve even larger objectives. The Covid pandemic put a halt to this process, but it was also the chance to review obsolete models and evaluate new opportunities to promote the company’s business activities.
The results of this, first and foremost the assignment of The Grand Finale and of the Ocean Race Europe, are coming. I am proud of the fact that the Giovani di Confindustria have chosen the Magazzini del Cotone conference centre for their national conference which will attract prominent economists to Genova from around the country, and will focus media and political attention on our city. We are also busily working on Euroflora 2022, with an organisational and international network that is growing day after day.
LN – For a while is has been suggested that the Boat Show expand to the Porto Antico. In your opinion, is it time? What precautions should be taken to ensure that the Porto Antico integrates with the main exhibition space of the Show?
MF – It is one of the most sincere hopes for the most famous event in our city, which I believe is ready to offer that solution, putting together all the partnerships we need, both public and private. Transport between two areas has been arranged for decades and is a consolidated habit for the Cannes and Miami Boat Shows.
Last but not least, an image: Porto Antico represents the most interesting area in Genova, where the city comes together with its sea, with charm and harmony. And it isn’t random chance that makes the Porto Antico the heart of the most important events in our area, which are increasingly international in nature.
- 17 March 2021