Italian sailor Vittorio Fabris will soon return to Italy by air, rather than by sea. A little over a month ago Mr. Fabris washed ashore at Falmouth Harbor, after coming close to completing the first leg of what was supposed to be a trip around the world.
He had been trying to reach Nantucket in a sailboat named Mia, after departing from his home in Italy a year earlier. Several delays had altered his intended course. In late May, Mr. Fabris’s boat was blown into shallow waters in Nantucket Sound. SEA Tow brought him and his vessel to Falmouth.
Over the last few weeks, Mr. Fabris’s boat has been moored near Falmouth Yacht Club, said Sebastian Agapite, the vice commodore of the yacht club. Mr. Agapite, who speaks Italian, offered Mr. Fabris the mooring after hearing the sailor’s story.
Brianna Agapite and Mr. Agapite started a GoFundMe page on Mr. Fabris’s behalf on June 4. As of July 4, Mr. Fabris had received $4,885 in donations. The GoFundMe site has been shared 86 times.
“He’s just a wonderful human being,” Mr. Agapite said, adding that Mr. Fabris’s story is full of passion. “Now we’re hoping to be at the end of his journey here,” he said.
Mr. Fabris intends to sell his boat before he leaves.
Mr. Agapite and Charles LoPresto have been working on ensuring that the boat can be registered in the United States. Mr. LoPresto met Mr. Fabris through Marian Averbuch, who teaches Italian lessons at the Falmouth Community School and Alberto Toselli, the owner of Osteria La Civetta, an Italian restaurant in Falmouth. He has been accompanying Mr. Fabris to various places over the last few weeks and improving his Italian.
The vessel was previously registered in Italy. Mr. Fabris could not register the boat in the United States himself because he is not a US citizen. On Wednesday, Mr. Agapite was able to register the boat in his name.
Once the boat has been sold, Mr. Fabris plans to return home.
In the meantime, he has been thanking members of the community who offered him assistance during his time in Falmouth.
Last Wednesday, Mr. LoPresto accompanied Mr. Fabris to a meeting with Falmouth Town Manager Julian M. Suso. Mr. Fabris wanted to express “his gratitude for the overwhelming support he has received from the people of Falmouth during his time here,” Mr. LoPresto wrote in an email about the meeting.
Mr. Fabris presented Mr. Suso with an “I’m going to apologize to the whale” T-shirt.
When Mr. Fabris set out on his transatlantic journey, he wanted to raise awareness about man-made pollution and its impact on the environment. Mr. Fabris was concerned about plastic pollution and its effect on the oceans. He set sail with a banner that read, “I am going to apologize to the whale,” inspired by Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick.”
“It was very kind of Vittorio to stop by. I was humbled and pleased to accept his offer and thanks on behalf of the Falmouth community,” the town manager said in a phone interview on Wednesday, July 3. Mr. Suso added that Mr. Fabris’s experience in Falmouth was “certainly reflective of the warmth of the Falmouth community.”