Sandro Buzzi, a passionate sailing owner

Sandro Buzzi, was born in 1933 and is a successful businessman. Over the years, he developed a strong passion for the sea sailing on different kinds of boats,  that would accumulate years of experience. One of the boats was the ‘Charles Jourdan’ that took part in the Whitbread '89 / '90, which conceived the Junoplano project.
It was 1992, during the America's Cup with the ‘Moor of Venice’ and Buzzi flew to San Diego to talk with the boat designer, Calderon. The talks soon turned to a project to obtain a boat suitable for ocean voyages, which do not luff up and sailed easily in trim, both because "it is more convenient." Because a traditional hull, at the point when it swerves, loses about 30% of speed. As stated by the great Bruce Kirby: "narrow is always faster, providing the necessary stability which can be obtained at a comparable weight".


Sandro Buzzi stated: I was born in 1933 with a passion for the sea, not being one for the beach and umbrellas; my real passion is the large, open sea, with only the horizon as a limit. In the years 1960s  I had four young children and luckily for me, a very patient wife (Maria Luisa)

In 1963  he purchased from Solaroli, on the advice of Paolo Vitelli, the Requin "Luasso" (Sea Bass in Genova dialect), a very elegant French wooden boat, like a Dragon design, with two inner berths, but it wasn’t  really suitable for long distances. The longest and most beautiful journey was the one with my wife, Maria Luisa in Porquerolles. In 1968, I gave it to Max Piovesana, who kept it for years in Venice and then the boat was retired, old but beautiful, to his villa in Oderzo.


In 1966 there was the first purchase of the Joint Venture of "Sandro-Marco (Dufour)": an S&S (Sparkman & Stephens), 40' second hand yacht.

It was located in Fiumicino and flew the American flag! We went to Rome to see it with the owner, the Secretary of the US Embassy and a former Marine colonel.

The name of the boat was "Juno" as the Owner in remembrance of his landing in Normandy on Juno Beach during the famous "longest day", June 6, 1945.

It was the last S&S design with the keel and rudder close together. After a few years Dick Carter inaugurated the Admiral Cup separate helm system and since then all boats have adopted it.

We paid him £8000 for the yacht, Marco paid £4000, myself and my father paid £2000 each as he also approved of the venture.

The name Juno then never changed: remaining so for all my boats except for the change to ‘Charles Jourdan’ for sponsorship reasons in Whitbread 1989 -1990.

Juno II

But in 1969 there followed Juno II, a hull of 12 m. (39 ') It was a French design and constructed by  f.lli Nicolotti Avigliana.

It was there that I met Malingri senior; He pointed out to me, at the foot of his mast, a sign that said "Wind = atmospheric Agent from the bow." Naively I asked why? ... ‘if you do not have it against you, it’s not a Wind' ... was the Malingri answer.

Juno II was very wide, comfortable, with a slight edge to the sides, suitable for cruising but slow when racing. The first trip to Corsica was not so lucky; I ended up on a rock entering the Ajaccio gulf.

I realised the boat wasn’t going to be a real competitor in the  Giraglia '72 race. In fact, I finished second last in a time of more than 90 hours ... .so I sold it in 1973 to the Rotta family .

Replacing it with beautiful Juno III, a Carter '39, green, exposed to GE salon,  produced in Greece, a fiberglass version of the famous 'La Meloria' of Mary Pera.

Since 1964 I raced a lot on ‘Benbow I’ with Recchi, a classic wooden ketch 24 m. which was very beautiful. Recchi had found the boat abandoned in a shed on the Isle of Wight and restored it perfectly.

On Benbow I learned to navigate, and became the official navigator for the boat. Even learning to use a sextant and only later we passed to the VOR aircraft.

I remember during one "Giraglia" race in the '60s - coming from offshore to the coast of Liguria, we were trying to figure out where was San Remo. It seems ridiculous now, but then we only had a sextant, no VOR or Loran or GPS, The situation wasn’t trivial and many, even the most experienced navigators, made errors and landed on Capo Mele or Cap d'Ail.

In those moments we had the precise feeling of how the earth was 'round'. From offshore, they could see the mountains, but the highway and its bridges were hidden .... below the horizon. And this is why it was difficult to locate San Remo.

Juno III

In the 70's - with my cousin Marco Dufour we continued the search for beautiful boat suitable for cruising but especially for our race sailing dreams.

As mentioned, Juno III, the green Carter 39'  from 1973, was purchased in US dollars. This allowed Sandro to sell it in 1977 in italian lire, with a net gain from the new dollar-lira ratio. It was the only time when, along with a beautiful boat,’ I had made a good deal.’

Juno TT 

In 1978 I contacted Dick Carter that I had visited in a meeting with Mr.Recchi for the construction of the new Benbow. He was a very competent person, passionate and charming. He was from Boston, and in those years became famous in Europe for the performance of his designs "White Rabbit" and "Williwav",  winning the Admiral regattas.

In Italy, Dick liaised with  Lionello Gasparini, a funny and brilliant man. With Lionello I organized the construction of 42’ JUNO TT '(two tonner) - ITA 7788 - C-Flex and Fabmat fiber 80, in Pesaro at Comet-Yacht, a father and son team of craftsmen, self-appointed "makers of Juno TT"! The sails were North Sails and Beilken on a Stern mast.

Juno TT had a flush 12 mm teak deck. The engine was located in front of the mast, for better weight distribution and had a double berth under the cockpit, but it lacked internal height.

It was launched in August 1977 in the Adriatic. Following its maiden voyage, we planned a family trip to the Croatian coast. In the dead of night, we realized that the rudder shaft was leaking, we began to pump out the water and returned to Ancona at the earliest opportunity.

And here we met again the father and son boat builders, very sad  for the first poor performance of ‘their baby’. We repaired the rudder, returning  to Croatia, then sailed to the island of Miliet and from here in Mola di Bari to find still alive, but blind, Gaetano, nicknamed "Broccolino", our fisherman in Celle Ligure from 1945 through 1958.

We continue on to Santa Maria di Leuca, Capo Rizzuto and left the boat in Reggio Calabria  for Marco’s use.

Juno TT wins the Giraglia in 1978 and 1982, the Capraia in 1978 and 1979 and the week of Alassio YCI in 1978, also participating  in two Sardinia Cup challenges in 1978 and 1982 teams. During the second challenge in 1982 with Dick Carter at the helm, the team included “Guia” of Giorgio Falck and “Karina von Forrell”.

Juno TT was sold at the end of 1983, to a cousin of Lionel who lived in Boston. To boat was taken to Miami, and delivered to its new owner, by Vittorio (Tojo) Regazzola Trentino, who was a great sailor, accompanied by his beautiful Argentinian partner Ela and many bottles of Barbera wine that I had prepared for him in the boats bilge.

Much later we heard that Juno TT, had been painted pink and in fact during a visit to Boston, we saw a beautiful boat at anchor in the harbor, which was pink .. very sad.!

Juno ULDB 50

In 1983 after making contact with Jay Crum of  Santa Cruz - I started a project developing a new boat, JUNO ULDB, 50 'in length, which was a ultra light displacement boat, a Californian styled ULDB designed by Bill Lee.


But I learnt that the project has been sold in Italy, at Bergamo sig.Frigerio who wanted to build a smaller series. With him I agreed upon the Italian construction. By 1984, we are at sea, the boat is very fast with new sails from Marco Holm, and we achieved a record with Jay in the Giraglia race of 28 hours 28 minutes, coming in second place, 8 minutes after ‘Benbow’, who held that record for over 10 years.

In 1985 we brought Juno ULDB to the Adriatic Sea and having the manufacturer Frigerio and his beautiful Valeria on board, we won the famous RI-CO-RI race (Rimini-Corfu-Rimini) which was a race of over 1000 miles. Also in 1986, at a Class A championship in Capri, we were also very well placed.

The following year, 1987, we had our greatest victory on Juno ULDB in our 1st Transoceanic regatta ‘Transat des Alizées’ from Casablanca to Guadeloupe. Over 190 boats participated, of which 10-12 were really competitive; the remaining boats sailed in a more ‘relaxed’ manner. Fifteen days of intense racing with a very experienced family crew, with a 'great navigator' Sandro Buzzi, who considered the Atlantic like a normal 'triangle' with jibing at certain points!

Included in the crew were sons Michele and Luigi, brothers Massimo and Gianni, Mestron sailmakers, Victor "the Chicken" an experienced radio operator and Cecconi yard boss, the willing Achilles and Franco Bertinetti, an Olympian fencing champion and onboard chef!

In second place with a 8 hours difference arrived "Raguenaud", skippered by the great French navigator Patrick Morvan, at that time Atlantic crossing recordman. Patrick was a good and experienced sailor, much more than us, but the boat - a prototype of Finot made of steel by "Le Guen Hemidy"yard luckily for us was a little slower than Juno.

Bertinetti, sportsman that he is, pushed us ahead with his insistent 'mantra' 'Not second place "and even my  father, using a long wave radio, "second position is not good ... pull out all the linen.. you ... have the strength."

We arrived first and we received a great reception from the local TV, lots of interviews and free drinks in all saloons of Guadaloupe. ... because we had beaten the French, who were unloved.

Bertinetti struggled to get off the boat, due to an aneurysm in his leg, so I had to help him climb over the guardrail, as he had postponed the operation to come on board for the race. From Guadaloupe, he immediately flew to Boston to have the operation. I fly to San Antonio, and Phoenix, for the work that lies ahead.

Juno ULDB, after so many other races and cruises, then returned to the Adriatic and in 1989 we sold her to the famous skipper Bert Mauri, who over many years won some of the most important Adriatic regattas.

Charles Jourdan

At the end of 1989, my beautiful new boat, Charles Jourdan - CJ arrived. 72 feet (22 m) length with "ultra light displacement", designed by Guy Ribadeau Dumas and built by the MAG Fontaine Le Comte shipyard close to La Rochelle. In the beginning it was a 50% partnership with the shipyard.

With a hull of only 18 mm thickness of pre-impregnated carbon,( for the first time ever being baked in special oven at 100 ° C) was ready for the Whitbread 1989-90 (a Round the World race for fully crewed boats, now known as the Volvo Ocean Race, which has 40th anniversary this year 2017.)


The development of Charles Jourdan happened in Trinité sur Mer with the participation of some famous French sailors - led by Philippe Poupon with his wife - helped by his friend Alain Gabbay. We had found support and sponsorship for the race by Wassmer Brothers,who were cement producers, but also owners of the French company, Charles Jourdan.

The start of the Whitbread took place on September 2nd 1989 from Southampton. The 1st leg of 5,938 miles to Punta del Este Uruguay. (see Annexes 2 and 3 technical data and full report of Gael de Kerangat on the Whitbread race).

Maria Luisa and I were in Southampton for the start and we were certainly amongst the most interested spectators. On board as a watch leader was Florence Arthaud, the very popular and experienced French sailor of the time.

I then followed the boat 'flying around the world’, in almost all its stages: Punta del Este, Auckland, and eventually boarded in Fort Lauderdale, with friends Jay Crum and Bill Biewenga, for the 6th and final stage to Southampton. Gabbay, at the Needles off the Isle of Wight and the entrance to the Solent and the finishing line, handed me the rudder saying "You cut the line, the boat is yours."

We finished on 4th May 1990 in 6th position of 16 boats. Behind us ‘Gatorade’ with Giorgio Falck. In front of us just the three giant ketches: Steinlager, Fisher & Pykel‘s ‘The Card’ and the powerful sloops ‘Merit’ and ‘Rothmans’ by far larger boats than Charles Jourdan.

I remained in contact for many years with the Whitbread skipper world, as Vice-President of their association (the president was Fehlmann of Merit).

Charles Jourdan at Whitbread 1989-1990

La regata


Scheda tecnica

Le tappe

Il diario di Gaël de Kerangat

Riflessioni del progettista Guy Ribadeau-Dumas

Il video ufficiale della regata

After the Whitbread race, CJ returned to La Rochelle for a general  structural inspection. Then with Maria Luisa and family crew, assisted by Jay Crum and Fred Dahirel, we sailed hard mostly upwind to Cap Finisterre, Vigo, Lisbon, Gibraltar, Cartagena until the Red Cliffs (Menton) then into Genoa, home at last, anchoring in the middle of YCI dock.

This for me, has been a beautiful story that lasted for years.

In 1992 we were once again on the ocean - with a family crew and experienced friends  - for the Transat 1992, following the second route of 4400 miles from Cadiz-Canaries- Guadeloupe-Martinique -St.Barthelemy. Crossing the Atlantic Ocean from the starting point at the Canary island of Hierro, to the finishing mark off Martinique in just 10 days and 6 hours achieving an average speed of 12 Kn  (least time amongst all boats!) and coming 3rd at the finish line after Steinlager, now named Safilo by the new owner Falck, with Gabbay as skipper and Merit of Fehlmann!

From 1993 to 1995, we enjoyed some great international regattas with Charles Jourdan In the Mediterranean in Saint Tropez, Palma de Mallorca, Porto Cervo, then the Tour d'Europe with the sponsor's name of "Nicorette." Arriving in Stockholm and raised the interest of the swedish King Gustav V, who preferred CJ amongst all maxi boats anchored in front of king’s palace.

The king came on board for the inshore (harbour’s fjords) race and democratically passed  the day  on board with us.

Ludde Invall, a great sailor and true friend of mine, joined me in 1993 with CJ, in a 50/50 partnership. But later in his will, he stated the owner's name on the ships papers, to be Sandro Buzzi.

With the management of Ludde, CJ always participated with some of us on board - to three "Gotland Runt" races in Sweden (retiring in 1993 and winning in 1994!) and two Fastnet races, in 1993 and 1995 (with victory - in 1995 - both real and corrected time with the greater separation records per second, a record that holds to this day). CJ won still the '97 Fastnet on corrected time with the new owner Gunnar Ekdhal, under the new name ‘Royal Blue.’

1995 was the year of our second victory in our 3rd attempt of the Transat des Alizees, the Trade Winds ocean race, previously won in 1987. Using my brother Massimo’s boat, a fast Vallicelli 65 ' "M'Sabu" ( "my lady" in swahili). We were 12 crew on board divided in two watches of 6.

I remember perfectly the  Luigi’s pretty difficult arrival under spinnaker, held up almost to the arrival line. Massimo’s beard cutting in Guadeloupe and Paolone’s drunkenness, found belly up ... under a palm tree, on arrival, having drained the 'entire bottle of rum’.


But even before, since 1993 I had thought a lot about the "Junoplano" project, the brainchild of Alberto Calderon,  a very special boat ... very fast ... to race around the world with my boat, winning the stages ... and get back home during intervals between legs in order to keep contact with my work in Italy and USA. An imaginative plan but not impossible ...


L'articolo di A.Calderon "Sailing the future"

L'articolo di Paola Pozzolini Sicouri "Junoplano, mai più allo sbando"

But it did not go well ... Junoplano, a fantastic innovative project of water lines and appendages from Alberto Calderon of Dyna Yachts, San Diego, (Professor of Aero and Hydrodynamics at Stanford  University and designer of all appendages of Dennis Conner’s America’s Cup boats ) and of Giovanni Belgrano for exceptional hull structure "specifically for around the world sailing" and of myself - naval architect in pectore ... but not bad - for all that is above the water line, built then by Speedwave - Jettingen in Germany (who were specialists in carbon appendices) and completed by Vismara and launched in September 1997 in Viareggio, as the first oceanic CBTF (Canting Ballast Twin Foils) yacht.

In the Year 2000, it was thought we would participate in the Oceans World Tour otherwise known as the ‘Millennium Odyssey.’ Equipped with a self-standing, wing and rotary mast by Thierry Petitjean. Junoplano ‘s ocean career was curtailed by the owner himself, even though he was retired he was still very busy in his work at  AD Unicem, therefore she was sailed only in the Mediterranean.

But Junoplano had a sail plan specifically designed for Ocean winds above 10 knots, and not suitable to the Mediterranean calms. The sailing plan was extended in 2005 on the Maxspar project with Alessandro De Riso, installing a new mast and raising the halyard point of ca. 4 meters. Which was successful.

However  the original Petit Petitjean’s mast made of M40 carbon, with which we won in 2000 the Three Gulfs and Brindisi-Beirut races. The year after 2001 , we won the Rome-Tunis race with a time record that we held for over 5 years, is now erected in the garden of our Casale Monferrato offices. 


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