Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sanpierotta Plans for DoryMan

Back in May I was lucky enough to receive some study plans for the Venecian Sanpierotta, which is a design that has been on my mind for long enough!
Currently I am striving to find a set of building plans for this timeless fishing vessel. For centuries these and other vessels of Venice have been built using design tools called sesti, to lay down the lines.

Naval historian Gilberto Penzo descrbes it thus:

"The principal system used in boat design in the Venetian boatyards is the sesto, a full-scale template that, by rotating and moving and guided by the marks on its surface, allow for the direct creation of all the frames."

"Although technical drawings showing the classic longitudinal, transverse and plan views exist, they are used only for bureaucratic purposes."

"The advantages of this template system are evident: full-scale drawings are made directly without having to enlarge them at the lofting stage; the sesto can be positioned on the block of rough wood for a more rational use of the material; one or more parameters of the boat can be changed by varying the scale of the marks and families of similar curves can be generated while avoiding possible irregularities in the form of the hull."

Historian Nereo Zane puts it this way:
"[Venetian boats] are the result of centuries of life on the water. There were hundreds of boat builders in the past and each of them used to build his own model of boat; sandoli, mascarete, batele, topi and so on. There is another thing to tell: those boats were built without the help of drawings. The builder used only a set of shapes, called "sesti" and his experience. More or less the same shapes used by a tailor sewing a suit. The result is that there aren't two suits or boats absolutely identical."

It seems highly unlikely that I will come into possession of a sesto, nor would I know what to do with one, should I be so lucky. So, it seems much of the construction of my sanpierotta will be left to my interpretation. Sounds good to me!

Recently, my friend Giacomo sent me another photo of my favorite boat - on the rio delle Muneghete. I believe it's rare to find a sanpierotta in Venice with a set of sails - they all seem to have been converted to motor boats.

But those who know me will understand if I balk at putting a motor on mine.


Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,

thank again for putting this pic. I made a video, years ago, about two sailing sanpierotte. And still there are many, and even a champioship, called Vela al terzo (LUg sail). Here the link

All my best and hugs from VEnice

doryman said...

We would love to see your video, if you could send us a link.
And, great news! I ordered a set of plans from Gilberto Penzo this morning for the sanpierotta. I feel like the proverbial kid in the candy store!