Interviewed by Alexandra Gallus

My name is Ricardo Petrocelli, and I am 81 years old.

It is a wonderful opportunity at my age to be physically able to do this. I started looking into Sailing back in October and decided this year I wanted to find effective sailing courses. I started looking in places like Buenos Aires and many clubs around the United States. However, most places required a year-long process with only 3h courses once a week. I wanted something “fast-track”. I ended up finding an option in the States, and because I know the country very well and how their system works – I took off and went to San Francisco. I realized it was not for me. It is a “Dog eat dog” society where everything is about money, insurance, lawyers, and I did not like the instructors there. So, I planned something else, and started investigating other options which included Australia.

I had visited Australia on vacation before and was familiar with the mentality, the people and the way things worked here. I wrote to many clubs, inquiring about fast-track courses and private lessons and honestly, I did not receive a lot of positive answers back. However, after a lot of searching – the first positive response I received was from Jan, whom I have now had the pleasure to meet here at the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron. She happily redirected me to speak to a girl working with training, Perrine. Perrine got in touch with me, informing me about all the conditions of the club – I asked her and Phillippe a few questions and off I went, booked a flight and arrived here in Melbourne Sunday 25/03/24.


I came here with previous knowledge acquired in the United States, which is benefiting my experience here of course. Since I arrived, I have been doing a lot of sailing and theory, and I am thrilled and excited to have been given the opportunity to do this.

My plan moving forward in Australia is to go up to Queensland. I am making contacts around at the club, which is great for advice or tips on what to expect for such a trip. As my children and grandchildren are well taken care of back home, I have time to complete this journey in my own time.

Quite likely, after talking with Philippe, I realized that if I were to live in a boat it should be a catamaran. It’s more comfortable, there is more space allowing me to move more easily and safely. When I have finished my training, I plan on returning home in Spain and purchasing a catamaran somewhere in Europe to continue my sailing journey.



I am very satisfied with my training at this stage, it has been very thorough and very professional. Philippe is a wonderful person who doesn’t only have a great ability to communicate but he knows a lot and has tremendous experience.

Doing this at my age is not easy. However, I hope this will serve others to prove that if you are motivated, if you are healthy, and have strong willpower, you can in fact do anything. I am extremely lucky at this time that I can move, that I am functioning and can follow a dream like this one.