Sailing | Monocle

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Swiss-born Alinghi Red Bull Racing helmsman Arnaud Psarofaghis started sailing Lake Geneva with his parents at the age of three. This head start gave him a competitive edge: since joining the Alinghi team in 2016 he has steered its yachts to a string of wins. With the America’s Cup, the world’s longest-running international sailing competition, taking place in Barcelona between August and October, Psarofaghis tells us why the city has become his favourite home port.

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What’s behind Barcelona’s excellent quality of life?
It’s a welcoming city with walkable streets, such as those in the El Born district, lined with characterful shops. It’s a big place brimming with culture – and offers the option of escaping to the sea.

The America’s Cup values sustainability and good sportsmanship. How does this align with the city’s outlook?
The teams are based in the Port Vell marina, so we can share our journey with the public. People can walk down and see an AC75 boat being craned into the water. The main action will be in the heart of the city, reducing congestion and transport emissions, while giving everyone a good vantage point to watch the race from the beaches.

What does Barcelona have that other sailing locations lack?
Not many urban centres in the world have such a strong breeze parallel to the city. This lets us sail right in front of it. Barcelona is in the middle of the Costa Dorada and the Costa Brava. When I’m out on the water and no one is speaking onboard, I find a moment to get into my own bubble, cool down and breathe in the Mediterranean air.

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