We use cookies to improve your experience. To find out more or disable the cookies on your browser click here.






Matteo Iachino set his sights on windsurfing to Corsica earlier this year and in September got the forecast to make it happen. He talks us through the crossing.


Ever since I started windsurfing, I’ve heard riders from Liguria (the region I come from in the northwest of Italy), talking about making a crossing to Corsica by windsurfer. On a really clear winter day from our mountains, you can spot the reflection of Corsica. Our sea, the Ligurian sea, is a part of the Mediterranean Sea, really deep and open and we get proper storms and big waves coming from far away. Facing southwest, there is a really long fetch that goes all the way to the Algerian coast, more than 1000 km away. Corsica is the first island in this direction, 150 km from the closest point of Liguria.

Some riders throughout the years tried to cross, but no windsurfer ever made it before to the other side. The wind and sea conditions can be challenging and the mountains on both sides create local effects that change the winds and make the crossing so difficult, and it is really hard to find the perfect day of steady wind that covers all this stretch of sea evenly. With the foil technology now available and the possibility to have some friends as my support team I decided it was time to try and make the crossing happen.


To plan something like this is way harder than it seems. First of all, I called Stefano Camera, one of my best friends and the person who helps me out on many logistical issues every day. I explained to him the project and he loved it. It was January 2022. We had to find a boat fast enough to be able to follow me in rough seas. Then we brought in Yacht Club Italiano, the sailing club I compete for, so that they could organize all the permissions from the Italian and French coastguard. Last but not least we had to select a waiting period throughout the year when the days would still be long enough to have many hours of light, but there would be a high chance of getting good southwest wind, which is the stronger and more reliable wind that hits Liguria and Corsica. At the same time I would have to be free from other competitions and events. In the end we decided that our window would be the 28th of august until the 19th of September.


We put together the best team for the event. We called Marco Carasso, a good friend, as the official photographer. Roberto Actis and Riccardo Piombo, long time friends, together with Stefano, to be the guys on the boat helping out if anything was needed or going wrong. We called Silvio Gandolfo as a videographer and we met Francesco who was our boat captain. A great mix of friends, good vibes and professionalism.


With everything ready after nine months of preparation, the waiting period started slow with hot summer days and light breezes. Around the 2nd of September we saw something was moving for the 7/8/9 September. Getting closer it was clear that the 8th of September would be the day. We had to make the official call so that the team could gather together and this was done on the 7th September in the morning. That day was stressful, checking the ever changing forecasts and preparing my foils sails and boards. I prepared my 5.5 litre CamelBak with minerals and carbs, and energy bars tucked in also. The 8 of us at 5 a.m. met and drove to Imperia, a city located one hour towards France from my place. We got on the beach and the wind was super light. At 8:30 a.m. the crossing started. It took me forty long minutes to get out into the open sea to finally get the west wind that was already blowing on the outside. From there I had four magic hours flying on starboard tack towards Corsica with an average speed of 24 knots. There was a magic moment in the middle for one hour when I was not able to see Italy or Corsica. The wind was perfect around 20 knots, the waves smooth around 1/1.5 metres, and everything was just insanely good. Then I finally began to see Corsica and after 140 km from the start, I had just eight miles to get to Giraglia island, the finishing point that is located on the north of Corsica. But then the wind died. I had been sailing at that point for 5 hours and I was tired and hot in my 3/2 mm wetsuit. I could fly on the foil now and then, but it took me one hour and a half more to do the last little part. The island at that point looked incredibly close, but impossible to reach at the same time. After 6 hours and 3 minutes and 161 km I made it and finally scrambled ashore on Corsica, climbing over some rocks. I felt exhausted and happy at the same time. I had made it!


The crossing is the main part of a project called “Un solo Mare per tutti”, which translates as ‘Only one sea for all of us’. The main goal is to bring the new generation to the beach, to see the beauty of the sea and its environment through sport and to teach respect for it. We brought kids from schools and hospitals in two provinces to the local beaches to show them how important it is to keep our oceans clean and alive and how dirty the beach where we were walking was, even though it looked super clean. I tried to show my passion for windsurfing and the ocean and a group of young biologists helped me explain the flora and fauna of our local coasts and how to properly clean the beach.

I am thankful to “Il Porto Dei Piccoli”, a charity that helps kids that are ill in hospital experience the healing power of the sea, for helping me organize the social part of the project with great professionalism, and thanks also to our main sponsor Tirrenopower for believing in this project and of course thanks to Sushi Gourmet, Albisola Servizi, Monetto and Yacht Club Italiano for the lifesaving support. See you soon with the next adventure!


You must be logged in to post a comment.