Wednesday, January 20, 2010

North Sea to Black Sea

Design Conversations with Nicola Zago

"At Lago in the last few days strange things are happening.
We have always designed and built furniture. Some furniture is often very detailed, but we never expected to start building boats."

"On Monday a carpenter's bench and tools appeared in our reception area where the shipwright Roland Poltock and his loyal friend Silvio began to shape a boat of 5 meters." (A Ness Yawl from the pen of Iain Oughtred. DM)

"Of course as you know, our reception area has now become the famous "Art Waiting Room" where we host live installations and performances, but until now we have never seen anything like this."

"Everything stems from a journey that Giacomo de Stefano plans to take in the coming months from London to Istanbul first rowing the Thames, crossing the Channel, then navigating the Rhine and Danube rivers to the Black Sea using only sails, oars, the energy of the sun and the aid of people met during a trip of 5-6 months. A true journey of zero impact. The journey involves no competition or sports, but hopes to build a dialogue with the land and the people about sustainability, respect of water and the real needs of Man at a time when these things have been forgotten."

"Giacomo is no stranger to these journeys. In 2008, in the same way and with the same tenacity he went up the Po, from Venice to Turin, discovering the hidden aspects of a river, perhaps overlooked but still with much to say. His whole journey is the site:"

"As you can see from the pictures the boat is already on site. We will also have a site dedicated to streaming live video and when the time comes we will follow this journey of over 5200 km."

Nicola Zago

Translation from Italian by Doryman.

The Ness Yawl being built for North Sea to Black Sea is the same design Giacomo employed for his trip on the river Po and this boat is being built by his friend Roland Poltock, who also built his first Ness Yawl.

Be sure to check out the live stream video of the lobby at Lago. Maybe you can catch the boat building in progress!

Those who might want to join Giacomo, for encouragement or just to row a little can leave a comment below or contact him at

Here is a map of the proposed route:

Visualizza Man on The River, by fair means in una mappa di dimensioni maggiori


Raef said...

Go for it any publicity is good. Better than the telly with the rubbish they dish up which you canno recycle.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Michael, Thanks Stewart! Here we are after so much work, help, so many NO, Thank you, Friends, real and fake and so many bike and train miles we found the way to build the boat. I am so happy, so thankful to everybody who are helping us.
And so happy that everybody can see, everywhere on this planet the boat building. We are very careful in using sustainable wood (from Bellotti wood See our web page) and non fenolic glue and resins.
Thank you friends for your support

doryman said...

It is our job as responsible citizens of our planet to sift through the trash for the gems.

We will be truly civilized when all people behave in a responsible manner toward each other and every other species we share this rock with.
It's a daunting task. It's much easier to take advantage of your neighbor and beat each other to death to steal what isn't ours. Take the best and discard the rest.

Giacomo realizes this is self defeating behavior and wishes, in a simple, poetic gesture, to call our attention to it. He asks for little in return. Only the love and respect we already owe each other.

He thanks me. It is I who should thank him! I don't know much about Lago, but it appears that a corporate sponsor has stepped up to support Giacomo and his friends in a way that I would hope that all businesses should respond to their environment, both in business and in culture. May the ethos of business always be so!
My best wishes and wholehearted support to all engaged in this effort. (And a special thanks to Roland Poltock for his continued support of his friend! Cheers!)

Brandon Ford said...

Go Giacomo! My heart is with you my brother.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your wonderful help my friends, thank you again Michael, I still believe that you will be on the boat, I am sure! We are waiting for you and for anybody who will just say: I would like to row with you.
Thank you Brandon, you will be wellcome too, anywhere. LAgo is helping us just hosting us and giving us some place (and what a place!!) to build the boat, they asked for nothing. They are improving their way of producing. I want to cohoperate and build a possibility for everybody to change. Differences are a risource, a treasure. We are learning from eachother.
The world is a miracle. And we are here to preserve it from stupidity and waste of energy.
Let's go!
All my gratitude to all of you

Ben said...

This story makes me want to a, build a Ness yawl, b, go on a long row/sailing journey.

Giacomo might just find me standing on the banks of the rhine thumbing a ride.

doryman said...

Giacomo seems to be having trouble recruiting people to join his worthy project. This baffles me. I am well past my physical prime and have debilitating disabilities which hinder me, but I yearn to go anyway and may yet!

This voyage needs someone like you. The commitment to participate is open. You could go along for a week or a month or the entire trip. I know that yours and Giacomo's philosophies would match perfectly.
I am struggling with the notion of abandoning my life for six months to join this effort. In a way, it seems a natural for me and thus would not be an abandonment at all.

Giacomo is known for picking up hitch hikers who happen to be sailors. But why wait by the Rhine? Crossing the Channel in a Ness Yawl would be an event of a lifetime.

Ben said...


It baffles me too. An opportunity to be involved in such an adventure doesn’t come round every year.
I would very much like to participate, even if just for a week and, as you say, the Channel crossing would be a great thing to do.

Please let Giacomo know I’m rooting for him and that he can contact me at