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The Classic Maxi Cadamà, a boat without barriers, celebrates her 50th birthday

by Cadama 18 May 2021 10:15 UTC

Cadamà, the world's only wooden Maxi for the physically impaired, races with a mixed crew of wheelchair-bound and able-bodied sailors. This solid, two masted yacht was built 50 years ago in mahogany and iroko by the Beconcini Yard in La Spezia.

Designed by Laurent Giles, she was launched in 1951 for the then president of A.C. Milan, Albino Buticchi. Since 2014, Cadamà belongs to Andrea Brigatti. Despite being confined to a wheelchair after an accident, Brigatti continues to go to sea and teach the sport of sailing. Making his dreams come true, beginning this June "Altura Senza Barriere" will be the first offshore sailing school for the disabled aboard a classic wooden Maxi.

Cadamà, a Wooden Maxi Yacht for the Disabled

1971-2021. Cadamà (, one of the most elegant wooden yachts in the Mediterranean, is celebrating five decades since her launch. Thanks to expert modifications, she is the only over 70' wooden maxi qualified for sailing schools, chartering and racing with a mixed crew of able-bodied and wheelchair-bound sailors. Two platform lifts give wheelchairs belowdeck access, allowing the physically impaired entry to the cabins and services, enabling them to enjoy all aspects of sailing with their families. With an overall length of 22 meters and a beam of just over 5 meters, Cadamà was launched in 1971 in La Spezia by the Beconcini Yard. Designed by the famous English yacht designer Jack Laurent Giles, she has mahogany planking above the waterline, iroko below, and teak on deck. Rigged as a ketch, Cadamà has 300 square meters of sail area, with a 30 meter tall mainmast and a 17 meter mizzen. Based in the Riva di Traiano Marina, just south of Civitavecchia, she's found an ideal port for her cruises to Sardinia, the Tuscan Archipelago, the Cinque Terre and all the beautiful localities of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

A 'Beach House' for the Ex-President of A.C. Milan, Albino Buticchi

Cadamà was built for her first owner, the oil tycoon from La Spezia Albino Buticchi. Her name is derived from Cadimare, which means 'beach house' in the local dialect, and is also the name of the small town overlooking the bay of La Spezia where he was born in 1926. Buticchi owned several yachts over the years, including the 16 meter 1964 ketch Namar (also built by Beconcini, and designed by Franco Anselmi Boretti), and the Baglietto Minorca Namar II built in the late 1960's. Buticchi became famous as president of the premier football team, A.C. Milan, from 1972 until 1975. Towards the close of the 1970's, Cadamà participated in several editions of the Giraglia yacht race, then moved on to chartering in the Tyrrhenian, Greece and Spain. Sold to an associate of Buticchi in the late 1990's, Cadamà participated in the 2008 and 2010 editions of the "Sulla Rotta di Imperia" rally hosted by the Valdettaro Yard in Le Grazie, here too in the La Spezia area. Under the auspices of the "Timonieri Sbandati" association, in 2018 Cadamà finished a respectable 206th (out of 2689 participants!) in the 50th edition of the famous Barcolana, the world's most 'crowded' regatta, and took third in her category in the 2019 edition of the "Vele Storiche Viareggio".

2014, a New Life and a New Owner

Sailor, explorer, skier and biker, Andrea Brigatti has always travelled and led an outdoor life. But in 2003 an automobile hit him, breaking his 12th vertebra and confining him permanently to a wheelchair. But Andrea didn't loose heart; in the following years he became the proud father of three children, went back to skiing, and never stopped dreaming of returning to sea as his own master. These dreams became reality in 2014 when he found the ideal boat, Cadamà. Her large size made it possible to move about on deck in a wheelchair, but without loosing the beautiful lines of a classic wooden hull. He then created a special carbon gangway for wheelchair access, wide enough and with raised sides to keep the wheels from going off the edges. On deck a ramp runs to the companionway and the electric platform lift that descends into the main cabin. Special shell-shaped deck seats with safety belts are strategically located on deck for helming and working the winches. In just a few seasons Cadamà has become an ideal charter yacht for disabled sailors, for racing with a mixed crew, for running a sailing school and a powerful instrument for Team Building.

La Spezia in June, a Sailing School for the Physically Impaired

Cadamà is ready for day, weekend or week long charters. Her three permanent crew members are well versed in the needs of up to a maximum of seven guests, with a spacious triple-berth cabin with its own head aft and two twin-berth cabins with a shared head forward. This year's program will include participating in the "Vele d'Epoca nel Golfo", the third edition of the rally for classic and vintage yachts organized by the Italian Classic Yachting Association (AIVE) in Le Grazie (near Porto Venere) from June 4th to the 6th. Since she was launched in 1971, Cadamà is qualified to race in the Classic division (for yachts from 1950 and 1975) in all the yachting events of the season, and the "Vele d'Epoca nel Golfo" will feature a celebration on her 50th anniversary. On the following weekend, June 11-13th, together with the association "Timonieri Sbandati", Cadamà is organising "Altura Senza Barriere" (No Barriers to Offshore), the first offshore sailing course for disabled sailors. The crew of Cadamà and two Italian National Sailing Association (FIV) instructors will accompany the participants as they sail offshore, taking turns at the helm and the sheets. The start on the 11th will be from Viareggio, the night of the 12th will spent in port in Le Grazie, with the finish on the 13th back in Viareggio. Participants will receive an official certificate upon their return. The organising team's intention is that this will be the first of many further editions!

Cadamà - Specs

Name: Cadamà
Rig: Bermudan Ketch
Year: 1971
Boatyard: Beconcini (La Spezia - Italy)
Naval Architect: Jack Laurent Giles (UK)
Material: Wood
LOA: 22,00 mt
Beam: 5,12 mt
Draft: 2,20 mt
Displacement: 50 tonn.
Sail surface: 300 mq
Engine: Cummins (V 903 M) 320 hp
Fuel: 2.500 lt
Water: 1.000 lt + 2 watermaker
Cabins: 1 triple + 2 double + 1 triple (crew)
Toilet: 3

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