Alessandro Vitelli

NORTHEAST HARBOR — Alessandro Vitelli died on his beloved Mount Desert Island on April 15, 2015. He was born in Rome on July 26, 1944. His father was an Italian diplomat whose career took the family to Vienna, Zurich, New York, Bordeaux and Belgrade before settling in Boston in 1956 when Sandro was 12 years old. His mother’s side of the family had been coming to Northeast Harbor since the 1920s, so the family continued the tradition of summering on the island. In his early teens, Sandro joined the Northeast Harbor Fleet (NEHF), sailing Bullseyes, Luders, Solings and International One Designs, developing an enthusiasm that saw him eventually own and race a Soling, Liszt, and his IOD, Acontia.

His first job as a sailing instructor at the NEHF set in motion a lifetime passion for teaching seamanship, enjoyment on the water, and the art of racing sailboats. Sandro’s path in life took him to many ports around the world as a sea captain — including St. Barth’s, where he lived for a number of years; a competitor, and an ambassador for Northeast Harbor. In addition to sailing, a love of music and literature complemented his passion for cooking and true enjoyment of a good meal.

Sandro also worked at Hinckley Yachts, was a founder of The Yacht magazine in Newport, R.I., and freelanced for myriad publications. He coauthored several books: “Ranger, Recreating a Racing Legend”, “The Saga of the International One Design, A Celebration of 75 years”; “Classic Sailing Yachts”; and “The Bucket Book, A Celebration Of Megayacht Racing,” for which he drew from his co-founding and race management of the Bucket Regatta in St Barth’s, which has become a major annual event for sailing megayachts.

In addition to his siblings, Vittoria McIlhenny, Niccoló Vitelli, Ginevra Tehin, Giovanna Vitelli, and their families, Sandro leaves behind an extended family of friends and sailors in the Mount Desert Island community as well as from around the world, and a partner, Diana Paine.

A celebration for Sandro is planned at the Northeast Harbor Fleet on Monday, July 6, at 5 p.m., to honor our mate and friend.

The family has requested that as a memorial to Sandro, contributions may be made to the NEH Sailing School, to which he donated Acontia. Please make checks payable to the Northeast Harbor Sailing School’s “Sandro’s Fund,” P.O. Box 12, Northeast Harbor, ME 04662.


Know when to pay your respects.