A sailboat with an unusual banner bobs at the mouth of the Falmouth Harbor.
The vessel, a sloop named Mia, belongs to an Italian man named Vittorio Fabris. A little over a year ago he embarked on a 20,000-mile journey to become the first 77-year-old man to take a solo trip around the world in 18 months on a sailboat, according reports from Italian news outlets. Last Sunday, May 26, his sailboat ran aground in Nantucket Sound. His boat is now docked adjacent to the Tides Motel.
News circulated of the docked sailing vessel and its Italian owner. People familiar with the situation enlisted help from the owners of Osteria La Civetta because Mr. Fabris does not speak English. Sara Toselli and her father, Alberto Toselli, have been helping Mr. Fabris.
Falmouth Harbormaster Gregg Fraser said the Italian consulate had been in touch to try to find a better location for the boat. It is docked illegally, violating local and state laws. They are hoping to find a solution by the end of today. Mr. Fraser said the town is concerned because the space is reserved for other vessels in the near future. In addition, the sailboat “really needs to be hauled out and serviced,” he said.
Mr. Fabris never intended to end up in Falmouth. Captain Ramsey Chason of Sea Tow got a call on Sunday about the sailboat, grounded in the sound. He said it was not unusual for boats to run into trouble in the area he found Mr. Fabris’s vessel. Mr. Chason agreed to tow the boat to Falmouth Harbor.
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“We understand there are times when you just have to do the right thing,” Mr. Chason said. If he had left the boat, it would have become an environmental concern, he added. A brief inspection of the boat once docked at the harbor revealed that it was not taking on water, Mr. Chason said. The rudder and sail appear to be in fine condition, he added.
Italian media has reported details of Mr. Fabris’s plans as he set sail a year ago in Venice.
Mr. Fabris’s motivation for sailing was more than just breaking a Guinness World Record, he told Venizia Today. Mr. Fabris’s inspiration for the journey came from “Moby-Dick,” by Hermann Melville. The book’s white whale is an enigmatic symbol but some believe it represents the damage nature can do to man. A year ago, Mr. Fabris told Venizia Today that he sails with a banner that reads, “I’m going to apologize to the whale,” to denounce the evil that man has done to the environment.
The book is Mr. Fabris’ reason for visiting Nantucket, according to media reports. In 1819, a 238-ton whaling ship called the Essex left the shores of Nantucket and never returned. Sailors who survived the shipwreck documented the voyage’s downfall—a giant sperm whale. The story is thought to have inspired “Moby-Dick,” published in 1851.
La Nuova di Venizia e Mestre, an Italian newspaper, followed up with Mr. Fabris about a month ago, stating that he had landed on the beaches of Santo Domingo. The news site reported that he was heading to New York and then Nantucket.