Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Rowing in Venice
Our friend Giacomo de Stefano sent me a video link today of a mid-winter row in Venice and on the Lagoon, to Sant'Erasmo Island and back.
The boat we're watching is a Mascareta. The Mascareta, in addition to the Sàndolo was once a common means of family transportation. This boat is lightweight, easy to maneuver, and above all, inexpensive. It weighs as little as 120 kilos and is approximately 6.5 meters in length. It is one of the simplest of the traditional Venetian boats, and thus popular among modern amateur boat builders.
Note the rowing style. The oar never leaves the water and the feathering is very subtle. Stefano's wrists hardly seem to move. The oarlock is called a forcola and has a long history going back to the 1300's. The craftsman's guild (called remèri) who made forcole then are still making oars and forcola today. I highly recommend following the link above to learn more about these lovely, functional works of art.
Thank you once again, Giacomo. You inspire us.