Luigi Saidelli

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameLuigi Marino Oscarre•Saidelli
Used nameLuigi•Saidelli
Born12 January 1939 in Trieste, Trieste (ITA)
Died4 November 2023 in Genova (Genoa), Genova (ITA)
Measurements180 cm / 76 kg
AffiliationsYacht Club Italiano, Genova (ITA)
NOC Italy


Luigi “Gigi” Saidelli was both the son and grandson of naval officers with Austrian roots. Their Italian name Saidelli derived from their German name Seidl. They moved to Genova, and Luigi went on to become one of the most important names in Italian sailing.

Once World War II ended, Saidelli spent a brief period in the Veneto region, then in Roma, and finally in Genova where his father Alfredo began to collaborate with the historic maritime agency Oceania. Gigi attended the Arecco Jesuit school and continued the sport he had started a few years earlier, by sailing in Genoese waters. In 1955, at the age of 16, Saidelli travelled around the world alone on board a cargo ship. Despite having a serious disability in one eye, Saidelli managed to compete at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics in the Star class with Luigi Croce where they finished a disappointing 15th place overall following a mechanical incident.

Saidelli graduated in economics and commerce in 1963 with a thesis focused on the collision between the Italian liner Andrea Doria and the Swedish vessel Stockholm, which occurred in 1956. He was married in 1966 and, with his wife and two children, they spent long periods in the Caribbean, South Africa, and Greenland. At the end of his sporting career, Saidelli embraced his entrepreneurial career, continuing to bond with the sea when he embarked on a career as a shipping agent and founded a shipping agency bearing his name, with his time being spent mainly between Genova and Savona, the cities that adopted his refugee family.

In his autobiography Il senso della rotta, written by Bruno Cianci and published in 2019, he retraces his sporting, professional, and family life with a cross-section of the history of sailing, with many faces, from Agostino Straulino and Nico Rode, to Beppe Croce.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1964 Summer Olympics Sailing ITA Luigi Saidelli
Two Person Keelboat, Open (Olympic) Luigi Croce 15

Olympic family relations