We meet Andrea Andalò, Italian licensed skipper, family guy and passionate photographer. Despite sailing is not Andrea’s first job - he’s a professional trainer in the automotive sector - in this article, he shares with us how he became passionate about sailing and life onboard plus all the profound emotions and vivid memories one gets from sailing.
Andrea in his sailing natural habitat
Two passions going hand-in-hand
Tell us a little bit about you? Where are you from and how did you get to love the world of sailing?
I was born in Rome in 1969, I lived in the US for one year and then moved to Bologna at the age of 13, before arriving in Milan and falling in love with it more or less 15 years ago. Proud father of two children, aged 10 and 15 to whom I am trying to share and pass them my love for the sea and sailing.
For me the most fascinating part of being at sea is actually that profound sense of inner peace, it’s kind of as if you’re being cradled in the maternal womb again. I owe this passion also to my father, let’s say it’s his ‘fault’. Since I was a child, he has always taken me on boats of all sorts, from small boats to motor dinghies, this has given me that drive and desire to make me want to sail.
It is however at the age of 17 that I started feeling that urge to go sailing, to be closer to the sea. It was 1987, it started as a joke: I took part in the first course at the Centro Velico Caprera, in Sardinia from there on I lived on bread, sailing and bowline. I took a long break from sailing due to a personal loss, however, I couldn’t easily stay away from that strong urge and 5 years ago, like a mistral gust, I came back to sailing. Come on Andrea get on that boat, so here I am sailing again.
How would you describe your sailing experience?
As a sailor, I grew up sailing at the Centro Velico Caprera where I took part in several courses up to the most advanced one, their cruise course. Over the past few years, I have acquired a good deal of confidence in hauling the mainsail. A very special moment of my sailing years so far has certainly been back in 2018 when, as a skipper, I sailed on a 35-foot cruiser from Ostia, near Rome heading towards the Pontine Islands and then to Ischia and Procida with my children onboard.
It’s a great feeling to be able to pass on this incredible love I have for the sea and sailing to them. In the following years, I continued sailing in my leisure time in Croatia. Croatia really does offer some excellent sailing and marinas equipped with excellent port services at very affordable costs.
What do you absolutely love about sailing?
"freedom": this is the first word that comes to mind when I think of sailing. If you take a holiday and leave on a plane, your holiday starts when you are at your destination, the rest is just travel. On a boat, your holiday starts even before you leave the moorings, before you set sails.. On a boat, you’re on holiday when you start dreaming about it, when you start thinking about the galley, when at home you draw the route, in front of your nautical chart (today on a PC).
You’re a passionate photographer as well as a professional skipper. How do you combine your passion for photography with the one for sailing?
Taking photos is like drawing using light as your brush, freezing the moment in that one single shot. I don't particularly like "holiday" photos I am referring to those predictable holiday souvenir photos, they are not my photo style. When I pick up my camera, it is because I see something I have already imagined in my mind, taking a shot is just that necessary act to freeze that imaginative thought, to capture it. It’s exactly what I do when I am on board with my Nikon. It usually happens that I go on a sailing vacation with my mind and I visualize all the photos that I want to take. Then when on holiday I make sure to capture with my camera what I had seen in my head before leaving.
If you could pick a place (bay, harbour, town, etc…) from your sailing experience that you will forever remember…?
I don’t think I can pick one bay, harbour or a memory. The sea is so immense that I feel like experiencing it at 365 degrees, stop and be mesmerized by it, that shimmering light the water creates, these are quite unique feelings. Having said that, a few years ago as I sailed back in Porto Palma, a bay on the Island of Caprera where a long time ago I started my sailing experience, I will treasure that moment in my heart forever. There are numerous moments I will forever remember.
I can pick two, probably my most favourite ones: there was this one time when my children set the alarm at 5 a.m. on our way from Ostia to Ponza telling me, with their sleepy eyes: ‘we woke up to see the sunrise with our daddy’. The first taste of the ocean waves during a cruise to the Canary Islands. Often my friends ask me if I’m not afraid to spend the night in a bay, the right answer is to ask them if you have ever really seen the stars. It is something magical.
What do you recommend to those who are considering going on a sailing holiday for their first time?
Wow, what a responsibility to respond to this question! If you don’t have any experience, before booking a holiday of a week or more, I’d recommend trying it out for a weekend. That way you and your crew can understand if it’s something that you enjoy. The problem is that if it is something you love, then it’s tricky to stop! Another piece of advice is to rely on qualified skippers and look at what they do while sailing, ask them as many questions you can think of, especially if this is your first experience, or perhaps you just got your sailing licence. I always recommend relying only on those who can give you that assurance of great professionalism, expertise and knowledge.
You can follow Andrea Andalò and take a look at his exquisite photo collection on Instagram.