Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gondola Basics - Asymmetry

True Venice-built gondolas are asymmetric
- that basically means they're crooked.
As the gondolier is rowing only off of one side, the boat should travel in a circle...unless of course, the hull were given a counteracting curve.

Here we can look straight down the centerline of the Wedding Gondola in Newport as gondolier Stefano approaches the dock.

photo taken from previous post "Shooting from the Top Deck"

See that curve? it's like she's lopsided. This asymmetry allows the gondolier to concentrate more on forward movement, knowing that his boat will do some correcting for him. The gondolier does have a counteracting stroke he can use to correct the imbalance, but with the asymmetry, he has help from his boat.


Tamás said...

I think the simplest explanation for assymetry is that different subcontractors worked on the left and right halves of the gondola.

In fact there was probably a project leader company, who designed the vessel and subcontracted construction work to four different manufacturers, for the front right, front left, rear left and rear right segments.

They used different measurements, different rib spacing and different logarithmic bases to calculate the curvatures, yet the result was somehow still floating when cobbled together, even if a little awkward.

Because of the imbalance, they had to retrofit the gondola with a big metal counterweight at the front - shaped like a halbard, as a remainder to anybody who would produce such a thing ever again...

Gondola Greg said...

I love it.
That's one of the best ones I've heard yet about asymmetry.