Barcolana: the biggest regatta in the world

Barcolana: when the sea is a carpet of sailing boats “Great things can grow from small beginnings”


This is how it begins - on the trail of an old, rusty train track - the documentary film produced by Slam in homage to Barcolana, the biggest regatta in the world, which has been decorating the Gulf of Trieste with cheery white sailing boats for the past 50 years.

This 40-minute history is narrated by someone who was born and bred in Barcola. A place where children inherit a true love from their grandparents, a passion for the sea. Barcola natives are born “in” the sea, they never tire of looking at it, listening to it, thanking it. They only feel truly alive when they are out there. First there were the fishing boats, then the tourist boats, followed by fibreglass boats, in so-called “celluloid”.

50 years of Barcolana

Barcolana is celebrating its half-century. Today it boasts 2,100 participating boats. These include expert sailors jostling at the start line, desperate to arrive in the first five, but also amateurs queuing up further back, where the great seafaring party is celebrated.

“The further back you are, the better the party”.

But, in the beginning there were just 51 boats who chose to gather together to celebrate the end of the summer season.
Each of them came to challenge their own personal rival. It was free entry to all.

“We are lucky that the event was scheduled for the second Sunday of October, when the season was ending” says one of the organizers, “otherwise Barcolana would have slowly died, like many other regattas”.

“None of us thought it would get so big. We started off as nothing but we had a huge love of the sea and our roots. We don’t need to show off, we’re used to nourishing what we love, staying quietly in the background. This is the secret to success, if you do something with true passion, it will work”.

The story carries on in the words of today’s participants: “Try climbing up towards the Vittoria lighthouse, the view is amazing!”With this film, Slam penetrates the real spirit of Barcolana, starting in that tiny marina which gave birth to a truly incredible event that continues to thrill participants and spectators alike even fifty years on.

“We are Barcolana, those down there on the right”.
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