The Royal Malta Yacht Club is saddened to learn that Admiral Giovanni Iannucci passed away in Milazzo at the age of 89.
Giovanni Iannucci was born on 2 February 1933. He started sailing at the age of 14, and subsequently became involved in offshore racing participating in many races, including transatlantic crossings, the Fastnet and the Middle Sea Race, in 1969, on Stella Polare. He joined the Italian Navy in 1951 and, following his retirement in 1991, he served on several World Sailing and Federazione Italiana Vela Committees, and as a member of the Offshore Racing Congress. A qualified PRO and International Judge, he was a member of the Rolex Middle Sea Race jury on many occasions, most notably in 2007 when his knowledge of and contacts within the Italian Military and Marine Services were invaluable in facilitating the successful rescue of the crew of Australian yacht Loki, which had lost its steering off northern Sicily and was threatened by a lee shore in winds approaching gale force.
A Neapolitan by birth, Giovanni lived in Messina for many years. In 1996 Giovanni played a significant part in helping get the Rolex Middle Sea Race restarted after a period of it lying dormant. Offshore racing was enjoying something of a revival, and in a meeting with John Ripard and George Cachia, the then Commodore of the RMYC, and Giovanni proposed putting on a shortened version of the course. During the discussion, it was quickly clear that if the RMYC was to reinvigorate the race it would be the full course or not at all. The 1996 race attracted some 20 yachts, and the rest is history.
Despite his experiences around the world. Giovanni always considered the Rolex Middle Sea Race to be the one to do. No other came close to it in his view. “If you are a sailor and love the sea you cannot but fall in love with, and praise, the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Taking part in and finishing the race is like magic and definitely cannot be replicated anywhere else.”
John Ripard Sr, President of the Royal Malta Yacht Club, expressed the club’s sorrow at Giovanni’s passing: “For so long Giovanni has been part of our lives, and an unwavering supporter of the club and its activities. He will be greatly missed as a dear friend, colleague and as one of the main contributors to the success of the Rolex Middle Sea Race. He will always be remembered warmly.”
The Royal Malta Yacht Club would like to extend its condolences to Giovanni’s wife Marilena, his family and friends.