La barca a vela più veloce del mondo – designing the fastest sailing boat in the world had been the objective of Italian businessman Raul Gardini. In line with the upward economical trend in Italy, in 1991, he built Il Moro di Venezia. A prestige boat, naming it after the former maritime power, the Republic of Venice. You can say that Venetians then “adopted” their boat, recalling in its red color and white lion face the Venetian flag.
I remember when it was moored on Riva degli Schiavoni in May 1992 and my Grandfather took me there for a brief visit onboard. Queues were waiting in front of the Moro and the boat was to leave to participate in the America’s Cup a few days afterwards.
Il Moro came back at the right time to the right place to cheer up Venetians at the Redentore Feast in July 2014 during extremely difficult and muddled times. The boat made a surprise call to Venice when just a few people were hoping to see it again.
El Moro is now permanently moored at the Marina di Sant’Elena in Venice but sometimes participates in regate, also fuori Venezia, for example, at the Barcolana di Trieste. Last Saturday, the second edition of the Venice Hospitality Challenge took place in the Bacino di San Marco. Un evento velico di alto livello was titled in the Venetian newspapers.
Loving boats and living on them must be in the blood of each Venetian. Living in a Lagoon is of course one explanation. Some told me it’s simply the vocation of Venice.
The Venetian Arsenale was the first shipbuilding yard in the world, the first conveyor-belt factory from the 13th century. The men working here since the 11th century were called arsenalotti . Already in the year 1198, these workers were able to assemble one boat per day for the European cavalieri participating in the Fourth Crusade.
On 17 October 2015, Venice, clad in the most beautiful October colors (look at the blue in the video !!), with a touch of summer, hosted the second edition of this new favorite sailing event. Five-star hotels in Venice sponsored the participation of sailing boats. Not just Venetian boats – with Shining, a Croatian boat participated and ended up second in the competition.
Enjoy the short video below, with no music, but you can hear the sounds of Venice, water clasping and church bells in the background. The video starts with a curious water effect that a friend called “This is how we wash our churches in Venice” on Instagram.
Venice and its Lagoon are the casa naturale for any sort of boating. Not just for competitions, but on an everyday basis. For fishing, or visiting the isole minori – small islands in the Lagoon that can’t be reached by public transport because the Lagoon is not deep enough for vaporetti to reach all islands.
A Venetian boating calendar would look like this: The year starts with the traditional regate, Festa della Sensa and Voga Longa in spring. There’s another regatta taking place during the Feast of San Pietro di Castello in late June. Local regate on gondolini and caorline and other small boats take place in the Lagoon during summer and early autumn, such as La regata di Pellestrina and La regata di Burano. Regata Storica is the most festive regatta in September and since 2014, the Venice Hospitality Challenge invites skippers to Venice in October.
Each regatta shows off different boats – but all are / were part of life in the Lagoon at one time or another. You can learn more about the naval and boating traditions at the Museo Storico Navale di Venezia.
What you can see all year long is the voga alla veneta. Many Venetians have little private boats to go fishing or simply to a beach on one of the Lagoon islands. There are rowing associations, and they don’t just enjoy rowing but also celebrate together !!