We arrived in Sèvres at noon, ready for another beautiful warm day like we'd experienced yesterday.
But the bright sun and warm breezes had been replaced by cold winds and an overcast ceiling.
In short order, down came the rain - first in seemingly harmless droplets, and then much more convincingly.
We would not be rowing today.
According to plan, we met Richard Winckler with Vogaveneta Paris, who walked us over to the club facilities and gave us a great tour.
This organization is part of Nautique Sèvres.
Their three focus areas are:
Sailing - known as "La Voile",
Venetian boats - which they refer to as L'Aviron Vénitien,
and steam-powered launches - called Les Bateaux à Vapeur.
There are approximately 80 members in Nautique Sèvres and 30 in Vogaveneta Paris.
Currently, Richard has a gondola and a sandolo, with another sandolo under construction. Vogaveneta Paris had two mascaretas, which were very old and eventually had to be retired.
Richard showed me all of the different vessels in the various fleets, as well as a number of boats under construction.
We enjoyed a terrific picnic lunch provided by Richard, and talked about all things gondola. Not surprisingly, Misseur Winckler, who has been rowing Venetian style for about 25 years, knows a lot of the same people I do. The gondola world is a small one, and everyone in it seems to know (or know of) everyone else.
A solid contingent of French rowers will be heading down to Venice for the Vogalonga, and if you search hard enough, you'll probably see Richard rowing a poppa on one of the boats.
Merci beaucoup Richard.
Thank you for your warm hospitality and great conversation.