Francesco De Angelis
Neapolitan Francesco de Angelis is a figurehead of italian sailing and a true gentleman, with a word of praise for his former opponents - the new zealand team sponsored by Nespresso - and the time to share his passion for boats, competition and the sea.
Francesco de Angelis has competed in the America’s Cup three times. The first of these, in 1999-2000, was a competition as dazzling as the silvery hull of Luna Rossa, the monohull he helmed.
At the time, thousands of fans burned the midnight oil, glued to their televisions to watch the Neapolitan sailor’s victory in the Louis Vuitton Cup at the end of a hard-fought battle in the waters of Auckland, New Zealand. “It was a real street fight,” he recalls. To this day, Francesco de Angelis is the only Italian sailor to have competed in an America’s Cup final. He does not brag about it, nor is he any prouder of that particular feat than of the first trophies won in his youth sailing the Mediterranean. His fighting spirit on the water and discreet charm and manners on land have made him the epitome of the modern yachtsman. He has natural class. Anyone who has worked alongside him describes him as a gentleman. I “don’t really know what that means,” comes his modest reply. “I imagine that everyone wants to improve in life. If gentleman means being well-mannered, fair, honest, then yes, that’s what I aim for.”
At the age of 52, de Angelis is still a member of his childhood yacht club (CRV Italia in Naples). He still takes to the water, but is no longer competing for the Cup. A new Italian squad is training in Auckland for the 34th Cup without him, alongside Emirates Team New Zealand, their former opponents and now training partners. As a true Italian supporter, Francesco de Angelis will be following the team’s progress. But he still has a place in his heart for his former arch-adversaries. Firstly because the Kiwis are “the most prepared.” But also because he developed strong bonds with them over the course of the six years he spent in the land of the long white cloud. Between 1997 and 2003, his two sons went to school in Auckland and learned to play rugby, a sport they still play in Milan. In 2000 he was made an Officer of the Order of Merit by the New Zealand Government. And the de Angelis family developed a real taste for the New Zealand lifestyle – a sort of antipodean dolce vita – while living there. “New Zealanders spend much of their time outside, in magnificent surroundings. They put a lot of their energy and effort into work, but they also value family and friends. They have a good balance.” So as not to waste a single drop, they love a strong Espresso, preferably a Ristretto. “But not just for the pleasure of drinking top-quality coffee. What matters most to them is enjoying a coffee with good friends.” As sailing ambassador for Nespresso, Francesco de Angelis shares his passion, at least when he has time out from his busy sporting schedule. What he loves most about the sport is the purity of its fundamental elements: interacting with water and air, predicting the weather, developing technological tools, exercising discipline, thinking, making strategic decisions and, above all, connecting with nature. Later in life, he would love to return to very basic sailing, with no complicated equipment, competing on small, simple boats with his friends and children. Back to basics.
Francesco De Angelis
Born 11 September 1960 in Naples, has two children, lives in Milan.
GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS:6-time World Champion. Winner of the Admiral’s Cup in 1995.
LUNA ROSSA IN THE AMERICA´S CUP
2000:Wins the Louis Vuitton Cup. Finalist in the America’s Cup against Emirates Team New Zealand. Made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM).
2003:Semi-finalist in the Louis Vuitton Cup.
2007:Finalist in the Louis Vuitton Cup against Emirates Team New Zealand.
Nespresso and the America’s Cup
Nespresso has been an America’s Cup sponsor for nearly ten years. For the 34th edition, which will take place this summer in San Francisco, Nespresso is the Official Coffee. As part of this prestigious competition, Nespresso is also very proud to sponsor Emirates Team New Zealand.
For more information visit www.nespresso.com/americascup
Text Camille El Beze Photography Francesco Ferri/Seaway/Nespresso and Chris Cameron/ETNZ