Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bob Easton's Sampierota

Well, she's not actually his Sampierota, but he sent the photos, and she's a beauty.
Bob also related a funny story about the boat.
He was in a residential area of the Dorsoduro, along the Rio de le Romite, not far from Ponte delle Turchette.
"One day when passing by, a delivery topa was squeezing its way along the rio, being very careful about the boats moored on both sides. The owner of this Sampierota rushed out of his house and "had words" with the operator of the delivery topa. The owner retreated after insuring his boat was left unharmed."

Sampierota is a great example of the Venetian way of thinking. Most of us have seen them, either in person or in paintings and photos. They often have painted sails. Their shallow draft gives them the ability to sail in parts of the lagoon where other sailboats would run aground.
Like the Venetians, she adapts to her surroundings, and thrives because of it.
But there are other reasons this design has lived on while so many other types have become "extinct".
first of all there's size:
she is small enough for folks to own privately,
large enough to have friends aboard for an outing,
and in many cases big enough for light cargo carrying if necessary.

But I believe the
Sampierota's greatest strength is her versatility:
she can be rowed in traditional Venetian manner,
fitted out for sailing,
and has a stern which easily accepts an outboard motor.

When Bob first sent me these photos, I wasn't sure if she was a
Sampierota or a Topa - the two designs share many traits. I asked Nereo Zane and he indicated that the boat was a Sampierota. An e-mail from Gilberto Penzo confirmed the same answer.

When I'm in Venice this May, I might just try and find this boat to get a closer look. She looks immaculate.
I just wish I could have been there to see the owner "have words" with that delivery driver.

Thanks Bob, for the photos and great story.


Bob Easton said...

She's not hard to find Greg ... as long as you get to the right Rio. :)

If approaching from the Zattere, you'll find a very narrow passage between two buildings about 150 yards East of the Billa store.

Or, from San Baranbas. go though the sotteportega to the south. Make the next right. Watch for a linen shop on the left side of the calle. Turn left at the linen shop.

The boat has been on that rio the past two years. I imagine she'll be there in May. Enjoy your travels.

René Seindal said...

Hi Greg, I hope we'll get to meet when you're in Venice in May. I'll be there from mid April until the autumn.


Anonymous said...

Oooops, flubbed the 2nd part of those directions. It's easy enough to get lost in Venice without someone giving lousy directions.

From St. Baranabas, walk toward the sottoportego, but don't go though it. Instead turn right into the calle and watch for the linen shop. Turn left at the linen shop and continue another 60 yards or so to the rio.

Truth is, you can also go through the sottoportego, cross the next bridge, then do a right and a left. :-)

René Seindal said...

According to my map that's Rio delle eremite or Fondamenta di borgo. That's one of the very few canals I haven't paddled through :-(

Gondola Greg said...

Well if you do paddle through there,
watch out for the owner of that Sampierota! HA HA HA!

Hey, I hope we can meet when I'm out there.

Anonymous said...

René, you are right about the name of the rio. I picked up the name I used from a Google map, and they have a huge number of errors.

I remember seeing people who looked like college students wandering through Venice with computer gear on their backs and a keyboard in hand. From the results on Google, it looks like they note whatever they see on the nearest building as a name applied to a rio, calle, or fundamenta without discrimination.

René Seindal said...

There are some fairly decent and detailed maps in the back of the small green TCI guide books for Venice. I use them quite a bit, also because they have names for many of the rii, which are usually left out on city maps.

I always get lost when walking in Venice, until I cross a canal and get my bearings :-)