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The crew

(referred to the time of departure)

The commander

Nanni Acquarone

Coming from a family with Ligurian origins, born in 1942, son of the famous Turin Choreographer and Classical Dance Teacher Sara Acquarone, he completed all his studies in Turin at the Social Institute of the Jesuit Fathers, taking the classical high school diploma at the age of 17 in 1960. He graduated engineer at the age of 22 in 1965 at the Turin Polytechnic and joined IBM where he remained until 1995, first in Turin, then in Milan and Copenhagen, Denmark.

He is married with three children and eight grandchildren.

An excellent skier, immediately after having interrupted his racing career due to a serious accident, he discovered sailing in 1963.

He begins to sail, first in the Mediterranean and since 1967 always as a skipper, then since 1983 in the Baltic and the English Channel.

Since 1995 he has sailed all the oceans, visiting Portugal, Bay of Biscay, Holland, Canaries, Madeira, Cape Verde Islands, Azores, Patagonia, Falkland Islands, Cape Horn, Scotland, Ireland, Thailand, Malaysia, Nova Scotia, New England, British Columbia, Baja California and Fiji Islands, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Jan Mayen and Norway.

Since 2008 he has been sailing with Best Explorer to the Svalbard Islands in the Arctic among the ice, reaching over 80 ° north. He has published the book: "Best Explorer - From the Ligurian Sea to the Arctic Ocean", Edizioni Il Franente.

After leading the Northwest Passage expedition he took Best Explorer south along the American Pacific coast to Baja California and Mexico , amassing no less than 70,000 miles .


Mariele Portocalschi Acquarone

Born in 1944, she has been married to Nanni since 1966 and is the mother of Mario and Marco and Emma.

He graduated in architecture from the Polytechnic of Turin.

He sailed from the beginning with Nanni and accompanied him on almost all his travels.

Excellent helmsman has a particular sensitivity for sensing changes in weather by anticipating changes in sails.

Mario Acquarone

Born in Turin in 1967. Graduated in natural sciences in Milan, PhD on walruses in Greenland, he was Scientific Secretary of NAMMCO, an intergovernmental organization for marine mammals of the North Atlantic. He is currently a researcher at the University of Tromsø.

Polar nature guide, he organized and participated in six research expeditions to Greenland and six exploration expeditions to Svalbard and Greenland.

He is married with one son, since 2007 he has lived with his family north of the Arctic Circle in Tromsø in Norway.
Son of Nanni, he was practically born on a sailing boat. He has been part of the Best Explorer crew since 1992.
He began sailing in the Mediterranean and during the last fifteen years he has regularly traveled the Baltic, the North Atlantic and the seas around Svalbard and Greenland, not forgetting a couple of expeditions between the Falklands, South Georgia, Shetland Australia and the Antarctic Peninsula. .

Giancarlo Superti Furga

Born in 1933 Engineer.
He began the sailing experience in 1954 on a Ligurian sailing gozzo. Then for over 30 years he was an instructor, captain, commander at the CVC school. He has crossed many seas around the globe. From the Azores to Cape Verde, from the Seichelles to Tasmania, from Puerto Rico to Bermuda and New York, to the Hebrides in Scotland.
With Nanni Acquarone on the "Best Explorer" in Norway between the Lofoten and Vesterålen fjords.

Salvatore Magri

I have always followed the smell of the sea.
From June 28, 1956.
In Naples, my mother tells me, the civic hospital has large windows and so she would put the cradle close as if you could really see the sea.
I didn't see it but I still remember the smell. Which was that of my father, a sailor from before his father, who couldn't look at four pieces of wood without imagining a boat.
So I grow up and emigrate to Rome, which is not really on the sea and the search becomes more difficult but I insist, now of course, without command, always, even when in a suit and tie I discuss payment systems, perhaps in European conferences, perhaps in English.
A well-dressed man who speaks English and thinks of the smell of the sea. Which was the onion mixture of Pupa's spaghetti, on the Grande Zot, and everyone, Giancarlo, Pupa, me swinging, nose in the air, with my mouth dirty with sauce.
The smell that I chase everywhere, a hundred times in the Aegean and the Ionian, to imitate Ulysses, and further up along the Dalmatian coasts, and after the Atlantic crossing, Canada, the Caribbean and again Panama and the Canal, everywhere smell lead me.
I tried to betray it at times, I love the mountains, climbing routes in summer and winter skiing, but it has another scent, then in the air with the paraglider to breathe strongly and in motion to look for the wind, but they are adventures of a moment, the heart is always there, at the sea.
When someone says "I like the sea", it seems like this, any thing, like many: I like chocolate, I like horses, I like the sea ... instead whoever listens to you should pay more attention to that that you are confiding in him, that it is a precise way of seeing life, men, the world from afar with respect, embracing them with your eyes before touching them with your hands, approaching them gracefully like a caress, full of understanding and pietas for the whole humanity, a travel companion that consumes all roads. "I like the sea" is to build the journey with skill and sagacity, measuring and scrutinizing the cards, setting a strategy of maneuvers right at the moment.
"I like the sea" is to build a journey without being the master of the journey and you know that the wind does not think of you and neither does the water and they could easily decide to do something different from always ... and I know it but I continue to look for the port ... this time in the ice.

Piercarlo Antonelli

To survive he works as a lawyer in Milan; to experience many other things. Among these, sport and adventure, the sea and the mountains, are his favorites.

He practiced various sports including, in the mountains, climbing and ski mountaineering.

He approached sailing relatively late but since 2004 he has sailed a lot: 25,000 miles, mainly in the Mediterranean, participating, both as owner and crew member, several times in almost all offshore regattas; from the Middle Sea Race to Roma x Due to Giraglia.

He crossed the Atlantic on the boat of and with Vittorio Malingri.

He was an ambulance rescue volunteer for many years.

Stefano De Luigi

Stefano De Luigi has been a photojournalist since 1988. He collaborates with various international magazines, although he is probably best known for long-term projects including "Blanco - Visions of blindness" Trolley 2010 produced with the support of WHO / Vision 2020 and WE Smith Fellowship 2007 The multimedia "Blanco" won the second prize at the World Press Photo 2011. In 1990 Stefano moved to Paris, where he collaborated with the Louvre museum until 1993, documenting the renovations. From 2003 to 2008 he collaborated with the NGO CBM and with WHO on the Vision 2020 project on the condition of blindness in the world.
In 2007 he was invited by the Locarno Film Festival to present the "Cinema Mundi" project (started in 2006) creating a short film screened in Piazza Grande, Locarno on August 4, 2007. "Cinema Mundi" tells the world of alternative cinema. Hollywood shopping mall. Stefano De Luigi has won the World Press Photo several times in different categories (1998, 2007, 2009) and the Soros Foundation prize in 2009. In 2012 the TIA project on the African continent won the first prize at Days Japan and the Getty Grant for editorial photography.
He collaborates with Stern, Geo, Le Monde Magazine, Sunday times Magazine, Newsweek and New Yorker.
Personal exhibitions include: Carrousel du Louvre (1993), Rome Gallery S. Cecilia (2005), Lille Transphotographique (2007) New York VII Gallery (2010), Paris Polka Gallery (2010), Rome 10 / b Photography (2010 ), New York NYPH11 (2011), MART Museum of Modern Art Rovereto (2011.
He has published two books: "Pornoland" with text by Martin Amis, Contrasto / Thames & Hudson / La Martiniere / Knessebeck (2004) Marco Bastianelli Award 2005 "Blanco" Trolley Books (2010) POY Best Book Prize 2010.

Stefano De Luigi lives in Milan and is a member of the VII agency.

Loredana Ciriminna

I was born and live in Palermo, for 24 years I worked as a manager in the regional administration. Now for some years I have not worked anymore, I limit myself to university teaching and I dedicate myself to my passions: my three girls and the sea.
I recently approached kayaking and sailing and it was shocking for me to discover that I "feel at home" on a sailing boat. "In front of the sea, happiness is a simple idea", that's how it is for me. The air and the smell of the sea are inside me and only immersed in its silence do I feel in my place and breathe deeply.

I was born and live in Palermo, for 24 years I worked as a regional leader in the administration. Now for some years no longer work, I only university teaching and devote myself to my passions: my three girls and the sea.
Not long ago I approached the kayak and sailing and it was shocking to me to find a "feel at home" in the boat there. "Facing the sea, happiness is a simple idea", so for me. The air and the smell of the sea are in me and just immersed in the silence I feel in my place and take a deep breath.

Pietro Cocco

Sailing drifts, in adolescence.
Cabin cruiser of 8 meters for 20 years with frequent solo navigation in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Based on the Ponza islands.
"Ecòle de mer" of the Glénans Italia in the 80s with winter sailing in Istria and Dalmatia.
Sailing with 10 meters in Croatia.
After a "stop" which lasted too long (12 years !!) for various reasons, acquaintance with Nanni.
Approach to Best explorer in Tromsø, in the "magic" of the great North.
I don't think I'll break away from them that easily !!!

Danilo Ronco

Born in Cuneo in 1968, currently the owner of a leading restaurant in the field of banqueting, at one year of age he moved to Denmark where he spent his youth and where, living just 100 meters from the sea and playing with it every day, he got the good Viking passion for sailing.
After the first edges in the North Sea he returns to Italy where he sails the Mediterranean far and wide and in every season, until in January 2010, on board "Austral" a sailboat of only 9 meters and only two, double the mythical Cape Horn and from there the love for "uncommon" seas.
Now after "training" with Best Explorer in Tromsø and in the Norwegian fjords he is ready for this new adventure that will lead him, past Resolute Bay, to have rounded both the most extreme leaders of the American continent.

Paola Beneton

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page" (St. Augustine)

Of dual Franco-Swedish nationality, Paola Beneton is already struck by the travel virus in the family kitchen where there was an immense globe. Tierra del Fuego, Strait of Magellan, Kerguelen, Fiji, Kilimanjaro are names that, in his imagination, resonate like invitations to discover.
He began sailing on an Optimist at the age of seven and continued his apprenticeship on dinghies and hobie cats. Sail regularly in the Mediterranean, Brittany and Sweden. During her trip "alone with a backpack" in South America in 2007, Paola crosses the route of Adriatica, the boat of Velisti per Caso (and Filippo Mennuni, its captain) in Ushuaia. He shares their slow adventure up to Mar del Plata, Argentina.
He joins the Best Explorer crew for the final stop, Bering-Aleutian. A way of uniting the Pacific through its two extremes.

Nicoletta Martini

Romagnola di Cesenatico, born in 1958. Chemical engineer.
Extensive deep sea sailing experience in the Mediterranean. Ocean navigation in tidal areas (Brittany, Scotland, New England, Nova Scotia), Denmark, Sea of Cortez, Malaysia, Fiji. In 2005 about 2000 miles of Pacific "two" aboard a 32 'UFO. Sail with Nanni since 2000


Filippo Mennuni

Sailor and navigator, he has traveled a large number of maritime routes in command of sailing boats of all kinds. In thirty years, with over 190,000 miles traveled, he has sailed from the North Atlantic to Tierra del Fuego, from the Mediterranean to the Antilles, from the Indian Ocean to the South Pacific. He collaborated with important shipyards and architects for the construction and reffitting of famous sailing ships, including the 3-masted "la Boudeuse", with which he then reached the Amazon and explored some great South American rivers.
Collaborator of various television stations, he organized and supported various scientific and cultural expeditions. In the past he has raced offshore and transoceanic regattas obtaining excellent results.
"I have a predilection for navigating in cold seas and with little traveled routes" - he says - "in which nature really puts you to the test and where the qualities of the person, the resistance, the spirit of adaptation, the technical competence and the management of one's morale. I like to reach places where there have been few people before me or none at all. I believe that going to sea is today the last possible adventure for a normal man. I love the night in the ocean, his perfume and its noise. We find ourselves face to face with ourselves, without compromise .. "

Roberto Oberti (called Spinone)

Born in 1948, company manager.
He began sailing at the age of 15 on the dinghies. At the age of twenty he began sailing on cruisers and regattas first as a crew and then as a skipper. For over 40 years he has been an instructor, boat leader and commander of the Caprera Sailing Center (CVC). From 1975 to 1990 he was in charge of the cruise and offshore courses of the CVC.
In 1985 he coordinated the construction of the sister ship of Best Explorer, armed with a schooner for the offshore courses of the CVC, also taking care of the teaching and training of the captains. From 1993 to 1999 he was president of the CVC Allievi Association, one of the three members of the CVC. Over the past twenty years he has sailed the Atlantic around Europe and participated in three Atlantic regattas. Two as a crewed skipper: Boston / Liverpool, Halifax / Amsterdam. The third duo regatta from Brittany to Martinique. Interested in the polar regions, he participated in sled dog trekking.

Paolo Prieri

After the first edges in the lake of Viverone (Turin) and in the Ligurian sea in Spotorno at the end of the sixties, he became passionate about non-competitive sailing. Since 1975 he has regularly attended the courses of the Glénans Sailing School in northern and southern Brittany (France) with the aim of deep-sea navigation. He has occasionally sailed in the western Mediterranean between Liguria and Sicily.
Since 1982 he has been a member of the French association GIC (Groupe International de Croisière with which he sailed in the French and English Channel, in Northern Norway, the Azores, Brazil and the Bahamas. He also sailed with the role of gabber on the Belem, a French brig on the pole of 1896, in the Atlantic, visiting the Azores, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and, in the Mediterranean, the Côte d'Azur and Corsica.
His goal: twenty thousand leagues above the seas, visiting the largest continent of our planet, a natural space that makes humble, sometimes just humid ...

Heike Schmitz-Zilli

I was born in Germany in 1941 and have been living in Rome for some time, married to an Italian.

I started sailing at the age of 53. It was at the Centro Velico di Caprera where I learned the basics of sailing by completing four courses between 1994 and 1998. The first "big" cruise in 2000 with Nanni in the Atlantic. Others followed in the Mediterranean, Atlantic, Baja California, Vancouver Islands, Norway and this one with different skippers.

I like the sea because it is never the same, kind or bad that it gives unique sensations. The starry nights in the middle of the sea are priceless, as is the friendship between sailors.

Pietro Grossi

Fortunately, for some years now I have been the field of my books, most of which have been published with Sellerio, the last with Mondadori.

Before I was fine with books, I did a little bit of everything: from barman to advertiser, from proofreader to skipper.

Yes, I have been sailing from a very young age.
At fifteen I left on Sunday morning at dawn for the sea to be at the helm of a laser or a 470, at 19 I crossed the Atlantic and then spent several months in the Caribbean.

I have also worked often in the Mediterranean, especially in July and then pay for my holidays with friends in August. By now, however, I mostly end up doing cruises with friends, and it's been a while since I've been feeling nostalgic for bigger seas.
So you can understand that when Stefano - the photographer and now a friend with whom I often collaborate for Vanity Fair - asked me to do a piece on the Northwest Passage and sent me the link of the Best Explorer, it didn't take long to pick up the phone. and make me live.

Silvano Cova

Engineer. He has worked since 1980 as Technical Director of Lyric Theaters, in Italy, at the Teatro Regio in Turin and at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, and in Spain at the Teatro Palau de Les Arts in Valencia. He works as a designer of theaters and stage machines. He is 69 years old, has two children, three grandchildren and an eternal girlfriend.
Water lover; in his youth on Lake Maggiore as a professional diver and later as a passionate sailor in the Mediterranean Sea.
First with Grille, then with Nikita, two solid Hallberg-Rassy, he spent long periods of navigation along the coasts of Croatia, Greece, Spain, Sicily, Pontine Islands, Sardinia and Corsica. Passionate about fishing and cooking. Try to combine the pleasures of sailing with the delights of Mediterranean cuisine.

Francesco Daina

- Two courses stems from the Glenans archipelago
- Two semi cabin cruises in Corsica with Glenans
- Two residential courses in Caprera
- Various navigations in the Tigullio, circumnavigation of Sardinia, and for 5 years on Lake Garda with Deler 8 meters also owned by me
- Atlantic Ocean crossing from San Martin to the Azores with Lagoon 60 catamaran with skipper Le - Guennec Bernard and another sailor (2008), where I did regular shifts at the helm.
I know how to behave on a sailboat, follow orders, live in community and cook.
I have been a family doctor since 1978.

Paolo Ivaldi

Paolo Ivaldi, 45, architect, head of the technical unit of the ministry of foreign affairs, university professor at Sapienza in Rome. I have been sailing for almost 30 years.
I met sailing in the Fiumara shipyards in Fiumicino that I used to hang out with as a kid, and I haven't stopped since.
My nautical experience is limited to the Mediterranean, which however I have traveled far and wide, especially with the Centro Velico Caprera, first as a student, then as an instructor, and also as an instructor for instructors. Navigare necesse est, vivire non est necesse or, as the sailors say, "whoever gets wet in salt water never dries up".

Mauro Baluda

Born in Bergamo in 1981.

PhD student in Computer Science.

He discovered sailing ten years ago with the courses of the Caprera Sailing Center (CVC).

In the following years he sailed between the alpine lakes and the Mediterranean with some ocean passage.

In 2008 he took part in the first Best Explorer trip, in 2010 to Svabard again with Nanni.


Ed note: Excellent sailing companion and passionate racer, despite his not exactly seafaring birth and the decidedly dry style of his sailing curriculum, he is always a crew member much sought after by all the friends who have had the good fortune to sail with him.

Cristina Lombardi

Born in 1958, architect then webdesigner, she now dedicates herself exclusively to navigation, in particular to offshore sailing projects for the reintegration of problematic teenagers, as skipper.
She discovered sailing in 1976 and from the age of 20 she began teaching, first as a drift instructor then offshore, and later as a trainer of cruising boat leaders. As a skipper, on a cruise, transfer or regatta, he has sailed in the Mediterranean and Atlantic in all countries from Greece to Scotland, from the English Channel to the Atlantic Islands, the Caribbean and the USA.
In 2009 he participated in two solo Atlantic regattas, Brittany-Martinique and Azores-Brittany. In 2010 he took part in an expedition to the Antarctic on a 12m UFO, and sailed with Nanni on Best Explorer to the Svalbard Islands.


Ed note: Cristina had to leave for good family reasons and was unable to participate in the expedition. We strongly missed her and we sincerely hope that she will return to sailing with us soon.

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