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Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 2.44.49 AM

Luna Rossa skipper Francesco Bruni shares a few words with the SAers about a giant in Italian sailing, who died over the weekend after a long fight with cancer. 

Valentin Mankin was one of the greatest people in our sport. He won 3 gold medals and 1 silver in 3 different classes – that’s not something that happens to anyone!

My memories of this great man are not only linked to his victories, but to the way he taught me how to always fight for every win. I will always remember him saying: “Do you have a problem with gybes? No problem! Do 10000 of them and you will see that the problem will be gone!” He would wake up at 5am every day and start drawing on dozens of pages all his crazy ideas for the day’s training. His scribbles were very difficult to read and understand, but they were obviously the work of a genius.

Val was the hardest worker I have ever met in my life, and if I had just listened to him more and had 10% of his mental strength, I would have achieved a lot more in sailing.

For me and many Italians on the Olympic teams of the past, Valentin was far more than a coach. He was a mentor, he was a life teacher, and he was a friend. Thanks you Valentin! You will always be in our hearts!


June 4th, 2014

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Gunboat 60 sailing in Annapolis, MD.