Being the owner-driver of a boat is a lot like owning a company, according to Ludovico Fassitelli. After all, he has done both. Before selling the business in 2015, the yachtsman and former professional rally driver was founder and owner of Stilo, a manufacturer of motorsport helmets and intercom systems.
“Like a business, each member of a racing crew has a vital role to play – be it timing, measuring, or tactics”, Ludovico told guests at a Stonehage Fleming dinner to celebrate the World Yacht Championship in Monaco. “Having a tactician on board is so important. Like a CEO, they are responsible for strategy. You are entirely in their hands. As helm, I would never contradict the tactician even if I thought they were making a mistake. If I did that, everything would break down”, he said.
As a rally driver, Ludovico won the 1990 Italian Rally Trophy, the 1991 Fiat Uno Turbo Trophy and the 1992 Italian Rally Championship, Lancia Delta Integrale Evoluzione. However, before all that, he started his sailing career young. As a boy, he was Italian Junior Laser Champion and went on to win the Italian cup and Euro Cup (H22 class). He is two-time winner of both the Primo Cup (J70-H22 classes) and the Monaco Sport Boat Winter Series (J70 class) and four-time Monaco J70 champion (J70 class). He was selected to represent Monaco at the 2022 J70 World Championship, at which Stonehage Fleming was proud sponsor his ‘Junda’ sailing team.
Like running a business, racing a yacht is all about having the right team, explained Ludovido. “The team is 95% of the performance. Everyone works together but you have to respect each other’s distinct roles and trust each other 100% to do a good job”, he said. “If you start to doubt what someone else is doing, you lose control of your own area. You can’t afford to do that. On the start line, if you make a mistake – however small – the boat stops. You train and train until it all works like clockwork.”