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Alberto Bona and the Class40 IBSA Go to USA and Canada

After a thorough overhaul in the shipyard to prepare the boat for the 2024 transoceanic races, the third season of the Class40 IBSA will start with two monumental tests, scheduled between April and July. As holder of first place in the international Class40 Circuit and the 24-hour Class40 distance record, both achieved during the 2023 season, Alberto Bona is getting ready to participate in the Transat CIC, to be held between April and May, and in the Transat Québec Saint-Malo, scheduled between June and July, to then complete the season with the Normandy Channel Race.

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“We called it the season of courage”, stated Giorgio Pisani, Vice President IBSA Group and Leader of the project Sailing into the Future. Together. But it will also be the season of maturity, for both Alberto and our project. In 2023 we achieved great sporting results, but also human ones, thanks to the commitment, consistency and resolution in completing the objectives we had set for ourselves. The 2024 season promises to be exciting: behind us, we have the experience that we strategically need to best manage the planned programme, while in our hearts is the courage to face any challenge, with the enthusiasm of the first day”.

This third season with the Class40 IBSA”, commented Bona, opens with a legendary regatta. I have enormous respect for this course, which I have never done; it’s a new challenge for me: a challenging route in the North Atlantic, in the first months of the season, very difficult due to wind, sea and current conditions. We are making some changes to the boat, in order to be best prepared for this first solo transoceanic. It’s important work”, continued Alberto, which requires time and accurate assessments. On paper, it’s the most difficult regatta I have ever done. A beautiful adventure, also for IBSA, with a season that will take us to America and on less travelled routes; a season which I hope will be greatly satisfactory for everyone. I used to dream with the great navigators’ stories of the OSTAR, and I didn’t think that one day I would be able to do it myself... especially with a Class40!”.

The season will begin on April 28, with the Transat CIC, the new name of the oldest transoceanic regatta, the first edition of which took place in 1960. Then it was called the OSTAR; later it was renamed 1 Star and today is simply known as The Transat. Legendary names in ocean sailing have won it, from Sir Francis Chichester to Eric Tabarly. This Transat is also the regatta in which the world discovered the great talent of Ellen MacArthur, who made her debut at just 23 years of age in this very difficult race”, recalled Bona. “It’s a solo regatta for which I have great expectations. I’m happy to go back to solo sailing after a season spent entirely with a crew. After the 2022 Route du Rhum, finding myself alone on the Class40 IBSA with so much more experience and knowledge of the boat is a great challenge”.

Anticipation is huge, after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the pandemic: the regatta will therefore start again from the 15th edition, eight years after the previous one. The race will depart from Lorient, Brittany, on April 28 (the village will start celebrating on April 23), and arrive in New York, after over 3,000 miles of solo sailing. There will be a maximum of 80 boats at the start: 25 Class40s, 35 IMOCAs, 10 Ocean Fiftys and 10 vintage sailing boats, with registrations closing on January 31. The Class40 IBSA is automatically qualified, thanks to her participation in the 2022 Route du Rhum.

Sailing under the Statue of Liberty will certainly be a great thrill, as will be carrying the Class40 IBSA even further north, up to Canada, with an unforgettable 1,200 mile journey that will lead to the second, and equally legendary, challenge – the Transat Quebec Saint-Malo, one of the few Atlantic regattas sailed “in reverse”, from West to East, crossing the Northern waters and navigating for over 300 miles along a river, the St. Lawrence, in Canada. Now in its 10th edition – it also did not take place four years ago, due to COVID – and dedicated to the Ultim, Class40, IMOCA, Ocean Fifty and Mono and multihull categories between 45 and 65 feet, the Québec Saint-Malo is a regatta for a crew of three. Sailors will start on June 30 and – after dealing with the waters of the North Atlantic – will land in Saint-Malo, where three years ago everything began for the Class40 IBSA, with the departure for the Route du Rhum.

After the Quebec Saint-Malo”, concluded Alberto, we will be back in the La Trinité shipyard to get ready for the last event of the year, the Normandy Channel Race. These three regattas will, I hope, allow us to defend our Class40 championship title. It will be another challenging season for everyone, with thousands of miles behind and hopefully with more good results”.

THE PROJECT: The three-year project Sailing into the Future. Together was launched in January 2022. The partnership between IBSA and skipper Alberto Bona was born on common bases and values, ​​and aims to use sailing as a corporate communication vehicle towards the market and the nautical world. Ingenuity, courage, innovation, responsibility are elements that unites IBSA and Alberto, and the oceanic challenge, in addition to the sporting competition, also metaphorically represents the company’s history, philosophy and vision, which are always oriented towards and are part of a path that brings IBSA increasingly closer to the topic of environmental and social sustainability, with a particular focus on inclusive sailing projects for people with disabilities. In November 2022, the Route du Rhum was the first sporting stage of the project Sailing into the Future. Together. In 2023, Bona and the Class40 IBSA participated in six regattas, including the Rolex Fastnet Race and the Transat Jacques Vabre. With two victories and three podiums, the record for the highest number of miles covered in 24 hours and over 15,000 miles sailed, Bona won first place overall in the Class40 International Championship. In 2024, between April and July, he will face two of the toughest transatlantic races on the international scene: the Transat CIC from Lorient (France) to New York and the Quebec Saint-Malo (from Canada to France).


THE SKIPPER: Alberto Bona is from Turin, and has a degree in philosophy. As a university student, he won the Panerai trophy aboard Stormvogel, fast ULDB and historic boat with which he crossed the Atlantic Ocean for the first time, winning the ARC with a New Zealand crew. In 2012 he took part in the Minitransat, finishing 5th, one of the best Italian results ever in this category. In 2015, he switched to the prototype category Mini 6.50 with Promostudi La Spezia: he won the Italian championship and finished second in the ocean crossing Les Sables-Azores. In 2017 he discovered the Class40: on Giovanni Soldini’s former Telecom Italia, he participated in the Transat Jacques Vabre, where he was forced to withdraw when he was in sixth place. In 2019 he was aboard the Maserati Multi 70 trimaran, one of the world’s fastest boats, where he practiced on the foils before moving on to the Figaro Beneteau 3, aboard which he participated in the Solitaire; the only Italian registered, in 2020 he finished 7th among the rookies in the first year and 16th overall. In 2021 he won the Italian offshore team title and the Europeans in mixed doubles aboard the Figaro 3. In 2022 he started the new project in partnership with IBSA: after an eighth place in the Route du Rhum 2022, in 2023 Alberto won the Class40 International Championship, closing a season with three podiums and over 15,000 miles covered.


THE BOAT: Designed by French naval architect Sam Manuard and built by the JPS Production shipyard, Alberto Bona’s boat is a Class40 Mach 5 model. Its main characteristics are: scow bow – rounded and with a wider and flatter shape than standard bows – designed to stay high above the water and avoid being submerged; all-round hull, particularly performing in conditions of strong tailwinds; and a large, shielded cockpit, to face extreme conditions of navigation in as comfortable and safe as possible positions.


IBSA: IBSA (Institut Biochimique SA) is a Swiss multinational pharmaceutical Company, founded in 1945 in Lugano. Today, its products are present in over 90 countries on 5 continents, through the Company’s 18 subsidiaries located in Europe, China, and the United States. The company has a consolidated turnover of 900 million CHF, and employs over 2,200 people between headquarters, subsidiaries and production sites. IBSA holds 90 families of approved patents, plus others under development, as well as a vast portfolio of products, covering 10 therapeutic areas: reproductive medicine, endocrinology, pain and inflammation, osteoarticular, aesthetic medicine, dermatology, uro-gynaecology, cardiometabolic, respiratory, consumer health. It is also one of the largest operators worldwide in the area of reproductive medicine, and one of the world’s leaders in hyaluronic acid-based products. IBSA has based its philosophy on four pillars: Person, Innovation, Quality and Responsibility.

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