Ylena and Luigi are a couple, in work as in life. They are both trainers and create champions at the Fraglia Vela Malcesine. The first approach to the world of competitions on Optimists starts with Ylena and from 13/15 years they continue on their athletic journey with the 420 with Luigi.
Together with the two trainers we talk about the excellence of the Fraglia Vela Malcesine, a sailing club creating champions, about sailing on Lake Garda and about sport value.
Why is it beautiful to sail on Lake Garda?
Ylena: It's very easy: there's always wind.
Moreover there is fresh water and the landscape is also to mention.
We are very lucky to have the opportunity to train in Malcesine because thanks to the constancy of the winds you can plan training and our guys have the certainty to spend lots of time on the water. It's not for nothing that lake Garda is also known as "the sailing gym": we train in the water for 10 months a year.
If I have to find a negative aspect is that my guys gets used to this standard and they can encounter some difficulties when they face something unexpected.
Luigi: Ylena already said everything but I'd like to add that more than the guarantee of wind on Lake Garda, the clubs are structured for sport. The organization is superb and sport activity is the center of everything. The teams are the real stars and working in this environment is very stimulating.
Ylena: Yes, it's true and also the clubs organize important regattas which bring the best sailers of the world to Lake Garda. Our guys always keep tabs on our champions and they can see these number ones coming here on Garda to train. This is a unique possibility in Italy.
We consider it as standard but for the guys… they are really lucky.
Is there something that distinguishes the Fraglia Vela Malcesine from the other clubs?
Luigi: Yes, the environment! In Fraglia Vela Malcesine everyone is on the same side.
The most important thing here is the teaching/learning of sailing, and I don't think there is another club like it in Italy.
Ylena: The guys come here to train, the atmosphere is relaxed and we as trainers feel free to operate in the best way. Anyone here gives their best: we are a squad and there are no roles of power or representation. We aim just to do well and that's why good results come.
We would also like to thank Gianni Testa our president.
When he started 10 years ago in the old centre of the FVM, there were only 10 kids. After the Optimist squad, the Laser squad was born and then the 420 one and windsurfing. Now we can count on 70 athletes in 4 squads.
I will forever remember the words that Gianni said right after the end of the building of the new FVM; we were looking at it as he said: "Now it's up to you, fill it with children".
Luigi: The trainer normally works for the club, but in Malcesine you are a part of a group too. There are some clubs which represent a Status Symbol and have many constraints but not Malcesine.
The place where you train plays an important role and does a lot for the sport and personal growth.
Ylena trains some children who will change their class and probably will be trained by you, Luigi.
Participation on Garda is quite high and much credit goes to the trainers that train them on the Optimist.
That means they have an high starting point: they are complete athletes when I put them on a different boat.
What binds you to this work?
Ylena: It is a very varied work even if the training route is always the same.
The process has to be calibrated for every child: for me it's like having a material to be moulded and I give my best to everyone of them to train them the best way.
It is tiring work; all day long in the water with waves, wind and sun drains your energy,and even more so when we are away. But the results reward me.
To see them grow as people and athletes gives a big human feedback.
Luigi: I am an athlete and in training I find the same joy I felt when I won and I love to pass the kids my training. It's more a way of life and sailing.
Ylena: With them you live unforgettable and unique moments. We support them both in victory and in defeat, these are moments of strong emotions and we live them together. That's the beauty of the sport; it is a school of life and I can't live without it.
Lake Garda is known in the world for sailing and taken as an example to follow. We are envied for our sailing level and to us, all of this is always normal. So normal that sometimes we never realize it. We assume a lot of things but in reality we are very lucky.
Luigi: So far I have not known any sailor who does not know Lake Garda.
In addition to the location and the good fortune to work in a club of excellence we can teach our passion to the champions of tomorrow.
Sailing is a hard sport on the emotional level; on the boat you have to face your own fears.
You learn to handle your emotions and nature teaches us patience. All things that are very useful in everyday life.
And we are there with our sailors, we believe that there cannot be a bigger fortune.
The best results of both squads
2011 - Emil Toblini: silver at European Optimist for squads
2012 - Emil Toblini: Italian Champion absolute Optimist
2012 - Emil Toblini/Dimitri Peroni/Patrick Zeni/Kevin Rio/Luca Penini: Italians Champions Optimist for squads
2013 - Dimitri Peroni: silver at World Championship Optimist for squads
2015 - Gaia Bergonzini: Italian Champion absolute for Optimist
2015 - Gaia Bergonzini: Silver female at World Optimist Championship
2013 - Matteo Pilati/Michele Cecchin: silver at World Championship ISAF
2015 - Andrea Spagnolli/Kevin Rio: Italians Champions absolute 420
2015 - Demi Rio/Maria Coluzzi: bronze female European Championship Juniores 420
2015 - Demi Rio/Maria Coluzzi: Italians female Champions 420