Someone out there took it upon themselves to try and ruin this year's Regata Storica by damaging seven of the gondolini that are used in the final race.
Plenty has already been said about them (by me and a multitude of others),
but I want to reiterate one thing that I said about them in my previous post "Cowardly Sabotage" and that is that
Yes, the boats were chopped up with power saws,
Yes, the criminals who did this cut through rails and other important structures,
and yes, it was done very close on the calendar to the race.
But whoever was wielding the saw that night in late August,
they didn't think it all through.
They underestimated the will, the resourcefulness,
and determination of their chosen foes.
They didn't think anyone could fix the boats in such a short time,
but they were wrong.
Two gondolini - ready to race!
In 1969, the Beatles began their album Abbey Road
with the song "Come Together".
You all know it.
If you don't you've been living under a rock.
I love the song (although I love the Aerosmith version even more).
Come Together is exactly what Venice did.
I can't help but wonder if at some point, in Venice, the craftsmen who were working on the damaged gondolini played the song as they worked.
Probably not, but I'm gonna keep that cool image in my head anyway.
Some of the best boatbuilders Venice has ever produced,
grabbed their tools, stood up tall, and went to work.
They came together as a fighting force.
With the grit and determination of someone who's just been told they can't do something, these men proved the losers with the power saws wrong.
Earlier today all nine gondolini, along with the tenth alternate boat,
were launched and blessed from the steps of Venice's sacred Santa Maria della Salute church.
The builders came together,
the Venetian people came together,
and everyone who was paying attention felt something stir within them.
Here's a video link to the launching of one gondolino with an excited crowd.
As people, we don't always agree with each other,
and unfortunately we aren't as good to each other as we should be sometimes.
But when we realize that we're all on the same side, when we come together,
well that's when we're at our best.
The race will happen.
And with all that's gone on,
I'd guess that more people will watch this year's Regata Storica than ever.
And won't it be nice to see those magnificent boats
racing through the city...with all new paint jobs.
photo by Roberto Cinzia Dei Rossi
I've been watching this race for sixteen years,
and I must say: those boats have never looked so good!