The Special Star of the Museum, Gold Medal in Helsinky 1956.
This boat belonged to Agostino Straulino, the greatest Italian yachtsman that ever lived. It is a star class built in 1949 in the Old Greenwich Boat Corporation of Elwood Widmer Etchells in Connecticut on specific order of the Italian Navy. In its making, red citron was used, a fabulous wood that is very light, without knots, and with extraordinary conservation properties.
The boat was entrusted to the expert hands of Straulino (yachtsman and Admiral) and Nico Rode, his bowman, with the goal of winning an Olympic gold medal. In Helsinki, in 1952, off the coast of the Bay of Harmaja, against all odds, which instead considered the American boat Comanche as favourite, in a last incredible leg, the Merope beat the Americans and won the gold medal.
The Staulino-Rode-Merope saga returned to later win a silver medal at the Olympics of 1956 in Melbourne, four world championships, ten European and twelve Italian championships.
After Straulino’s death, the Italian Navy sold the Merope at one of the many auctions held to sell disused material. No one was interested though, not even at an extremely low price. Incredibly enough, it was abandoned on the steps of a port, in a state of deterioration.
When GianAlberto Zanoletti learned of this boat, he immediately organised its recovery and saved it.
The restoration was entrusted to the Lillia shipyard of Musso on Lake Como.
MEROPE is exhibited in the Sail Room of the Museum.
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