At the invitation of Arzana, the association responsible for the maritime heritage in Venice, curator Hubert Rubbens was a guest at the “Regata Storica”. This competition for gonderliers and other skippers was preceded by a historic procession through the Grand Canal. Simply phenomenal.
It goes without saying that the gondoliers are part of the symbolism and mythology of Venice, but the splendor of their fleet was breathtaking. According to a legend, gondoliers were born with webs between their toes. We will have to check this during their visit to Ostend at Anchor in 2023. In addition to about 8 traditional vessels, all crafts necessary for the construction of a “Gondola” will be present at the festival. You will receive expert explanations about the forcola (the part where the gondolier's oar rests), the main part of the gondolas and about the asymmetrical shape of the vessel that allows an easy propulsion. Last but not least, you will be able to sail yourself!
A small anecdote, in 1992, Hubert accompanied a team of the Belgian Navy (on board a whale-boat) the gondolas that sailed from Ostend to Bruges on the occasion of the "Circolo Naitico Generali Venezia 1992, Gondole in Belgium". What an honor to welcome them again, who knows, he might sail with one himself, like 30 years ago.
On top of boats, shipyards and gondolas, Venice is and remains a wonderful city, with more than 2,000 years of history. You will be able to discover a small piece of its rich maritime history during Ostend at Anchor from 1 to 4 June 2023.