By FARE VELA Magazine
Nov 5, 2003
From the Agostino Straulino website by Giuseppe Leonetti.
Agostino Straulino was born at Lussinpiccolo on the island of Lussino in Dalmatia on Oct. 10, 1914 into a family with a longstanding seagoing tradition. Then the island – which next became Italian, then Yugoslavian, and now is part of Croatia - belonged to Austria. The island was a major center for mariners in the 1880s and 1890s, with navys of varying countries, sailors, and nautical school ships visiting the port from all over the world.
After getting his diploma at the Instituto Nautico, Straulino was given a small sailboat by his father and, best of all, two years of “liberty” during which he traveled in the boat through the Dalmatian islands, becoming in harmony with his elements, the sea and wind.
In 1934 Straulino entered the Naval Academy as a reserve officer. For the first time he had the opportunity to sail a Star during a regatta against the active officers. Straulino maneuvered to get the helm and from then never gave it up. He stayed in the Navy and started to dedicate himself exclusively to the Star, but missed going to the Kiel Olympics in 1936 due to a decision against him by the Italian Sailing Federation. In 1938 he won his first European Championship at Kiel.
Then came the war. First he was on a ship, then in the Gamma assault, where, as a scuba diver with an auto breather and oxygen, he had to assault an enemy unit. After the Navy, he returned to Dalmatia and joined Tito’s forces (not much choice but to do so). When the war ended, Straulino worked at removing mines from ports and almost lost his sight due to an accident. In 1947-48, he returned to sailing Stars and took part in the Torquay Olympics in England in 1948. He lost the gold medal in a dismasting 100 meters from the finish of the final race and also due to a “flagrantly unjust” disqualification due to political motives of a judge.
Straulino then had eight consecutive European Championships (1949-1956), two world championships (1952-1953), a gold medal at Helsinki in 1952 (which topped an incredible year - Italian, European, World and Olympic champion), and another world title in 1956 following a silver at the Melbourne Olympics. These wins had been with his crew Nico Rode, but in 1960 at the Naples Olympics he took fourth with another crew, Carlo Rolandi. He also was 4th at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 in the 5.5 Meter class.
In 1965 Straulino assumed command of the tall ship Amerigo Vespucci, and also managed to win the 5.5 Meter World title in Naples, while the ship was in port and all the sailors were celebrating his win.
Then he cruised and raced with Navy school ships, participating in the TransPacific of 1961 with Corsaro II and, in 1973, won the One Ton Cup at Porto Cervo and then the prestigious Giraglia with Ydra. He retired in his mid seventies with the rank of Admiral. He now lives in Rome.