Ottoman and Berbers adventurers, coming respectively from actual Turkey and Maghreb, were excellent sailors between XV and XVII centuries. The Westerns called them pirates and they really were pirates! Not more than Andrea Doria and the Knights of Malta, this is clear. We can say that during some centuries whole generations of adventurers, soldiers, ship owners met and competed in the middle of the sea, showing extraordinary courage and temperament, becoming the protagonists of the main nautical history ever seen.
The Islamic captains of that period were called "Rais" and operated both under the ottoman Emperor control and as pirates on their own. Among them solidarity was the main rule: they helped each other, they shifted change, they gave support to all the others. Both while “hunting” as “entrepreneurs” or acting under the Ottoman sultan command, they were always informed and coordinated, they kept in close contact through continuous connection missions, they were always ready to stand by each other.
Inspired by them, we decided to set up a Committee of Rais, a team made of all the captains, the seconds-in-command and aspirant seconds/captains, who are responsible for conducting the boat Mediterranea along the several miles of its route. They are the actual Mediterranea sailing crew, men and women who dedicate their time to the boat care and management, to crew and equipment, swapping on board in the different stages of the journey, acting as routiers when they are not on board, studying the weather forecasts and informing their firends on board about warnings and urgent news, managing customs formalities and bureaucratic items, facilitating the contact with land and sea national and international authorities and institutions, dealing with the research of protected areas, managing maintenance activities, bunkering, provisioning and so on.
But not only. The Committee of Rais of Mediterranea is also engaged in training activities concerning sailing, aiming to share the right values of the Seafaring, the respect of the rules and environmental protection, which are the basis of the project. They attend periodically to nautical training and they teach sailing to those who come on board. They write about sailing topics on media and social networks, they study, promote and talk about sailing, navigation and sea, searching for that "seamanship ", which seems now lost in those who sail and navigate, and has to be recovered and preserved absolutely.
Undoubtedly, they are one of the main souls of Mediterranea Project.
Here they are (not in a specific order):
Rais Simone Perotti. Writer and sailor.One of the founders of Mediterranea Project. "Mediterranean Sea has always been the centre of the world. We have to stop just talking about it, in an adoring way, or ignoring it, as most people does. We have to live into it, we have to live it, know it inside out. I sail in the Mediterranean Sea to search for the questions I don’t have so far". www.simoneperotti.com
Rais Giuliana Rogano. One of the founders of Mediterranea Project. "For me Mediterranean Sea is a journey, because I understood, in the last years, that the best way for travelling is sailing. And because, as Charles Borge said, 'on a trip aboard of a small boat soon the measure of a man, his hopes and fears, his fiber and some aspects of his character that might otherwise remain hidden for a lifetime behind a curtain of deception appear. That 's what makes it an interesting journey, and not just only the routine on board, the wind, the route, the time and the covered distances' ."
Rais Andrea Laghi. "Mediterranean Sea is the only sea where, while feeling a real dizziness for the unknown, for the blue horizon discovering, for being offing, at the same time I feel at home, enclosed by its millenial liquid memories, its ancient voices, the hug of its sweet climate and its unique scents".
Rais Paolo Beltrami. "'Let what you say be simply Yes or no, more than this comes from evil '(Matthew 5:37). The sea as a training ground for life, or at least how I wish life should be: a few rules, all clear and shared with wonderful traveling companions, and each could set his own small piece to set up the mosaic."
Rais Massimo Guidetti. "Sailing by sea always looking for the right route, perhaps, is how to live life always looking for an inner balance. The Mediterranean Sea, perhaps, is the nearest place where you can find a harmony between living and navigate."
Rais Simone Moretti. "Some time ago sailing for me was just a dream, today is my greatest passion. The sea, sailing and marine tradition are part of our history, our culture. Navigate to rediscover our origins, to understand who we are today and to find a new harmony with our wonderful planet.”
Rais Sara Rosson. "To be a Rais in my opinion means to know and to learn, through the sailing experience, a new way of being with others and towards nature. At sea I search for a greater awareness of my capabilities and weaknesses, along with a group of people with whom I feel I share the values of human and environmental sustainability, well-being and pleasure for life.”
Rais Francesca R. Piro. One of the founders of Mediterranea Project. "A journey always begins with a start. It's most beautiful moment. The boat leaves the port, the lines on the ground, the gaze towards the horizon. You await. You are waiting to be outside, to feel the wind and to raise the sails. And come back the words of Joshua to Bernard Moitessier: ‘Give me the wind, I'll give you miles’”.
Rais Francesco Nacinovich. Freediver, fisherman. "I was born and I grew up between Istria and Quarnero's islands, in the eastern Adriatic. To me, the Mediteranean Sea reppresents the only nation I want to belong to. Hence I am setting the sails and and starting this journey to meet fellow Mediterraneans, to listen to their stories. And, above all, to learn. By the sea and from the Sea, the ultimate master."
Rais Amerigo Rossi. "I draw surveys on my life map paper and 'I make the point', but I see that this point isfar from the sea. A sea yearned since I was young as the place to live my own adventure being free, happy and in harmony. Mediterranea allows me to shape this dream through a journey with true friends".
Rais Mauro Bonfigli. "I knew that sooner or later I would have found my traveling companions to share, but above all to live an adventure like this. Thanks to the founders of Mediterranea Project, thanks to all of us since we never stop dreaming!".
Rais Roberto Gabaglio. "Sailing is a beautiful metaphor for life and a great means to learn more about myself. Sailing for 5 years with worthy men and women, to create opportunities for interaction and discussion, this is the dream of a lifetime: the sea, the boat, the journey, people.”
Rais Maurizio Villa. “On this continent upside down, where I like to think that coasts are lapping the shores of the great blue country, I'm happy and proud of being able to give what I've learned, I know and I like, and the secrets of salt water and starry skies, to anyone who wants to join us and listen, to Mediterranei, part of this wonderful project."
Rais Andrea Martini - "I would weigh the anchor from the reef of the false certainties, sail against the streams of senseless conventions, find out that many borders are just my fears, together with bright eyes people."
Rais Marco Baghin - "I join with humility in this group of fans of the sea and of its charm, experienced sailors and respectful of the marine culture, proud and excited to grow together as friends and seamen."