Roberto and Virgilio Viganò began their competitive career by following in the footsteps of their father Paolo, one of the top boat dealers in Italy, as well as an excellent skipper. Paolo took part in the most important international regattas with his yachts, including the Cape Town-Rio de Janeiro transoceanic. The shipyard was protagonist in the Italian yachting category all over the world throughout the 1970s and 1980s, racing with its unities in the IOR and RORC classes and in the Olympic “one design” classes, such as the Strale and Tornado. Paolo Viganò was part of the Italian Association of Nautical Builders for many years and he represented Italy at important French, Spanish and American shipyards.
The Viganò brothers turned the first buoys on the regatta fields from the age of 12-13, immediately demonstrating an amazing skill and passion for sailing competitions;however the first great victory came a few years later, at the age of 14-15, when they won the Italian championship in the Strale class in Taranto, with a boat that they had personally built, achieving five victories out of six races. During the same year they won the Absolute Senior Championship in Imperia and the European Championship in Bendor, France, thus becoming part of the great protagonists of the international sailing. They had remained at the top of the rankings for years, winning ten Italian and two European Championships in the 470 class, alternating the sailing dinghy activity with that in the open sea on the boats of their father’s shipyard. All this has allowed them to gain an incredible nautical experience both as navigators and as racers.
The Veleria Viganò was founded in 1976. Specialized in cutting sails for Olympic classes such as the Junior Flyng, the 470, the Flyng Dutchman, the Strale and the 420, in a short time it managed to establish itself among the most qualified Italian sailmakers. As time passes, a new activity of research and experimentation of new technologies, such as Furlingsistems and airfoil sails in rigid material, began. The first collaborations between professional crews and the sail loft began, testing the products made directly in the field, including the Minitonners, a very widespread class in Europe at the time, in which the crew followed by the Veleria Viganò managed to select themselves for the European Championship in Spain.
The main Italian builder of Minitonner entrusted to Veleria Viganò, for several seasons, the design and construction of the sails for its boats, as well as the management of the regatta sector. The Mattia and Cecco shipyard entrusted the development of its new multihull boats to the Viganò brothers. Racing in Class A, Roberto Viganò won the Mattia S Italian Championship with a prototype and a large trimaran that won the prestigious Blue Band Trophy three times in Austria. Another important and famous hull managed by the sail loft was Rusty Pelican of Ludovico Fecia from Cossato, who successfully completed the most important European competitions reserved for this class: Giraglia-week of Sete and three transoceanics.
The 80s: the triumph of mister G
In 1980, when Italy took part to the Little American’s cup, the Veleria was asked to the development of a completely rigid sail, the experimentation of which lasted for three editions of the trophy. And it was in the last of these that the Mister G catamaran became famous all over the world, winning the coveted trophy; Mister G was a combination of rigid sails with adjustable airfoil, designed and built with the aid of the first computerized means available.
Two years after the adventure of Mister G, a new class of catamarans, the C Class, was created, from the design of the hulls to the incredible sails; boats aimed at being able not only to participate in the Little America’s Cup, but also for all the large meetings reserved for open classes. The prototype of this new class was Miss G, that participated in most of the closed water meetings throughout Europe.
The first time that this boat was seen by the more than six hundred opponents at the Bol d’Or on Lake Geneva, the reception was cold and skeptical, however the music changed radically in Miss G’s favor when it won the third place overall, although it competed with top class boats. Since then, the Brothers Viganò team was considered the best example of technical and technological preparation in that regatta for many years.
Almost simultaneously, the Veleria Viganò severely tested its technical experiences, taking part in the Formula 40 regattas with a twelve-meters catamaran that achieved excellent results in professional crew regattas. This was a period when, in addition to the affection and praise of friends and supporters, the Veleria obtained the attention of several specialist journals and even newspapers such as La Stampa (i.e. one of the most important Italian newspaper).
The following year, driven by the momentum of the successes of Formula 40, a Formula 28 was prepared, a boat reserved for professionals. Built in just over a month thanks to hard work, it was ready to race in the European championship. Roberto Viganò, at the helm together with a selected and extraordinarily motivated crew, managed to win the bronze medal. That was the first time that an Italian team got on the podium hitherto dominated by the French, Swedes and English.
Almost without stopping, after a short time, a close collaboration between the Veleria and some influential IMS owners began. The successes were not long in coming: the Xyacht of the Veleria Viganò won the Italian class championship and the Livorno Academy Trophy with over one hundred and ten boats at the buoy, a third place at the Sardinia Cup and a long list of victories in the waters all over Europe.
From the 90s to today: between present and future
From the early 90s, much of the time until them dedicated to regatta on the water was transferred and involved in the design and construction of the sails. The Veleria Viganò was among the very first Italian sailmakers to invest in new technologies. The computerized design and the assisted and Plotter cutting of fabrics, radically progressed the quality of the products.
The experimentation of cuts and materials has never stopped: with the evolution of technology also that of the shapes and construction of the sails has developed, new designs and new fabrics have created a background of knowledge such that Viganò sails today in addition to having won the 470 master 2005/06/07 Italian championship and being armed on famous sailing and offshore regatta and cruising boats, they have been chosen by some navigators engaged in world tours and great transoceanic navigation. Also thanks to the collaborative work done with those skippers (some of them solo racers), new solutions have been developed to the problems they may encounter during long voyages and in conditions that are not always easy. These improvements were then transferred to all the sails produced.
Despite technology is predominant in the sailing sector, special attention is paid to the aesthetic finishes, such as hand-sewn details and the leather edges, which on classic or elegant boats (followed by the Veleria in numerous rallies including the famous one in Imperia) are essential. For this manufacturing segment, materials specially made and handcrafted in unique pieces are used.
Present and future of the Veleria is marked by the activity of research on sailing dinghies, multihulls and bulbs and cruising sails, and by the desire to raise their products to a superior quality, collaborating with dedication and studying the best possible solution together with each customer.