So I woke up early this morning to see this image on one of the Venice webcams:A typical scene on the Grand Canal during Regata Storica.
Boats of all types are side-tied to the shore, with multiple boats rafted to them.
Folks make their way from boat to boat, socializing and sometimes sharing food and drink with each other.
It's a community of people that only exists in a particular form for the duration of the event.
In between races, things get a bit jumbled, like it is in the above image.
When a group of racing boats comes through, everyone does their part to tighten things up so the waterway is wider for the passing boats, and if they don't, you can bet that someone in an official boat will make sure they do.
Here's another image from the same webcam: Notice how all the boats are pressed as close together as they can be, and everyone is standing to watch the race go by.
A closer look shows a few people visibly cheering the rowers on.
This afternoon, I watched the Regata Storica on RAI SAT (an Italian network) on Dish Network.
Heck, I was cheering!
It was great to watch it all, but I do have one complaint: apparently due to some kind of scheduling problem, they cut the broadcast THREE MINUTES BEFORE THE FINISH OF THE FINAL RACE!
(that sound you now hear is steam coming out of my ears)
I shouldn't really complain. After all, in years past, my friend Nereo Zane would mail me a VHS tape of the Regata Storica, I'd take it to a video lab, and pay to have them duplicate it in NTSC format, and THEN I'd get to watch it.
But missing the end of the final race felt like missing the final two minutes in the Superbowl with the score tied.
Today, once again, Nereo helped me by e-mailing the names of the winners of that gondolino race. His quote was:
"Giampaolo D'Este and Ivo Redolfi Tezzat are the best rowers today and deserved to win this edition of Storica."