Thursday, February 25, 2010

That "Big Boat from Brenta"

She's big.
She's bright red and white.
She is often rowed by a dozen or more.

I've heard some refer to her as "the aircraft carrier of the Vogalonga".

Anyone who's ever encountered her on the water will likely point out a most distinguishing feature - the eyes.

She is The Brentana.

The Brentana is a peata, an ancient cargo carrying vessel.
She is believed to be the last existing rowing peata.
She comes down to the lagoon for big events, making the long trip through an inland canal system which has served as a transportation corridor for centuries.

Back home in Brenta, the big red boat is the pride of the fleet at the Gruppo Sportivo Voga Riviera del Brenta rowing club.

The Brentana and another club boat moored in Cannaregio prior to the 2009 Vogalonga.

While several clubs in the Veneto have long boats, nobody has anything like the Brentana. She is big and broad, with an army of rowers pushing her through just about any wind and sea conditions.

Even in a crowd of boats, she is easily identified at parades and regatas.

The Brentana with a full crew during Regata Storica.

One of the best stories I've heard thus far involving the Brentana comes from a Southern California gondolier. Tyson Davis, who co-founded Sunset Gondola in Huntington Harbour tells a story of his surprise encounter with the big red boat.

Read "Tyson's 'Close Encounter' with a Big-Eyed-Boat"
to experience it vicariously.

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