Vasco Vascotto VS. Ed Baird: Part 1

Vasco Vascotto "Ed is so quiet, explains everything in such a perfect way. I’m exactly the opposite, I’m a disaster."

Vasco Vascotto is an Italian sailor, who won twenty-five World Champion titles in different classes, and it is believed to be the biggest amount for any sailor. He is competing in different classes, such as J24, Farr40, RC44, TP52, Melges 32, Melges 40, and others.

Ed Baird is an American sailor and coach. His career started in Optimist, he was the coach of the winning Team New Zealand in the America’s Cup 1995. Later, in 2007, he participated again in the America’s Cup, at the helm of the Swiss team. Now he sails the TP52, Melges 32, RC44, and Melges 40.

We present you the first part of the interview, in which Vasco Vascotto shared his thoughts about Ed Baird, his character, and their relationship!

Vasco, we have some questions for you about your best friend and at the same time the very opposite of you – Ed Baird. He will also answer questions about you, but now let us start with your experience. What was the first boat you sailed in your life?

I sailed 5-meter boat with my father when I was six. Straight away, we had very bad weather and I said, “No, we will not sail anymore”. Three years later, I started sailing again, had some races. When I was thirteen I almost lost a finger on a regatta, so I said, “I don’t want to sail anymore”. Now I sail 250 days per year, until the next incident, where I would say, “I don’t want to sail anymore” (laughs).

Do you remember the first regatta you won?

It was a regatta of the Optimist, close to my house, and it was the biggest cup I won in my life. It was a wooden cup, approximately 2 meters; I remember this race because it was a very big Cup.

Do you still have it?

Yes, my mother and father still have it in their home.

It is indeed a nice memory. Back to Ed Baird. Do you remember first time meeting him on the races, in the same class?

Ed was one of those idols you have when you are young, you know. Because of his experience, a lot of talent, he is bigger, he is high! He is quiet, relaxed, very gentle man. Everybody is watching him, as a mirror.

Do you remember the first time you saw him in the race?

I do not remember, but I do remember I had an opportunity to sail in the same team with him, in Sardinia, on Sardinia Cup. We sailed in the same team, and we had the briefing, we were listening to him, and he is the exact opposite of me. He is so quiet, explains everything in such a perfect way. I’m exactly the opposite, I’m a disaster. I make a big mess and I’m not very good in English, with completely different character. He was one of my heroes when I was young. And now he is still there, he is still working. He is the man you would like to have at the start with 20 seconds to go and if you are in trouble in your boat. Because 20 seconds to go and trouble – everybody would just give up, and he is able to create a nice start, nice and clean, as his character (laughs).

How do you plan your regatta and how do you plan the race? Is it always some prepared things, or you playing the game as it is?

I am becoming a little bit better by trying to copy these big heroes, but I am sure it’s true that during the debriefs it is hard sometimes with me. I can imagine how Ed is watching the forecast and planning the day, preparing it all. But I just want to use my eyes, not the forecast. And every time I watch the forecast, it always turns out to be the opposite, and I’m like "It’s not working, I shouldn’t do anymore"

The last question: imagine you are the coach of Ed Baird. What would you tell him?

Oh, it is hard. As a friend, I would like to tell him to stay as he is. I have a lot of respect for him, as a sportsman, as a sailor. Because if he shows a flag it is because you are really failing, that is the good part of Ed Baird. For sure, he is a gentleman. If I would be his coach… it’s tough. Because he is one of those guys that are so smart, that if they are doing one mistake, the day after they will change their way of sailing. But because I’m sailing a lot against him I want to suggest something: "Please try to be a little worse"!



Interview: Maxim Logutenko
Interview adaptation: Anna Pankrashova
Photo: Marina Semenova