Monday, November 30, 2015

Like Christmas!

photo by Joy Sailing
Two years ago we learned the importance of having good oars.
One of the stronger competitors at the US Gondola Nationals managed to push a remo past the point of it's potential.
The resulting "Crack!" filled the air like the sound of a home run being hit at Dodger Stadium.
(read more about that at "The Snapper")
As it happened, the oar was mine.
I never forgot that moment (and the guy who barely escaped being hurt after it snapped probably didn't either).
So when Tim of Sunset Gondola was making a large purchase of remi from Venetian master Saverio Pastor, I was thrilled to be included in the order.
Several of those pieces went directly into storage in my garage - not to be opened until Nationals.
On the first morning, just before the sprints were to begin,
John Kerschbaum and I did the honors of unwrapping those beautiful gifts.
It was like Christmas morning.
Saverio Pastor is one of the only remaining craftsmen in Venice,
carving oars, forcole, and a few other items for Venetian boats. 
He apprenticed under the legendary Giuseppe Carli before opening his own business.  Saverio has taught a few carvers as well,
but most of all - he creates magnificent works of form and function.
Really, the rowing hardware of a venetian boat is a rare dichotomy:
1. it's gorgeous, a true work of art
     (and many grace the halls of both galleries and museums)
2. it works! I mean really works. Both remi and forcole, when carved right,
and used properly, are profoundly effective in propelling their boats.
Saverio Pastor working on a forcola in his shop in Venice.
Some of the many remi on Saverio's racks.

Unwrapping amazing things.
photo by Joy Sailing
A few different remi in action at the start of a solo sprint heat.
Three of the four remi were part of the purchase, with the blue and orange striped one having been unwrapped and painted earlier in the year.
photo by Joy Sailing
A good shot of a fresh pastor remi in the hands of
a gondolier from Coronado, California.
photo by Joy Sailing

Many thanks to Saverio Pastor for such terrific oars.
They are great to row with,
        even better to race with, 
                and not one of his oars snapped.

You can visit Saverio's website at

See more photos from the shop through the lens of John Synco
of Gig Harbor Gondola at:
"Photos from Saverio Pastor's workshop"

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