Venice to Novigrad and back – 2017 Transadriatica race

Delighted to be sent this picture of the cup for third in class in the 2017 Transadriatica race, especially since we were the smallest boat and the oldest crew.

Martin Walker received the cup for the race, which was actually last June, at the annual dinner last month of his club, Diporto Velico Veneziano. Spiuma is only 26 feet long and was in a class up to 36 feet and beat much larger yachts. In fact we worked so hard on the overnight spinnaker run back to Venice that several boats 8 or 9 feet longer only caught up with us near the finish when the wind had gone ahead and fallen very light. The crew was just the two of us.

A great weekend, with overnight races to Novigrad in Croatia and back, a dinner in Novigrad, and the next day a vineyard tour, before the second evening start. The pre-race gathering of the fleet in Venice’s Arsenale docks (where the old galleys were built and based) was an unforgettable experience.

Spiuma entering the Arsenale.

Spiuma is the smaller one. The Arsenale is normally banned for private boats. The pre-race prosecco flowed freely!

A dry dock for galleys inside the Arsenale.

Compasses and sextants obsolete?

  I like this passage in the latest book by Daniel C Dennett, a celebrated philosopher and writer about cognitive science who specialises in the evolution of the mind:

“Already it would be criminally negligent for me to embark with passengers on a transatlantic sailboat cruise without equipping the boat with several GPS systems. Celestial navigation by sextant, compass, chronometer, and Nautical Almanac is as quaint a vestige of obsolete competence as sharpening a scythe or driving a team of oxen. Those who delight in such skills can indulge in them, using the internet to find one another, and we celestial navigators can prudently bring our old-fashioned gear along, and practice with it, on the off chance that we will need a backup system. But we have no right to jeopardise our lives by shunning the available high-tech gadgets”.

He is giving modern navigation as an example of technologies so far superior to anything humans can do that they “usurp our authority as experts”. There are very good practical and moral reasons for giving way to them. 

Good sense, though not sure it will get into the yachtmaster syllabus.
Daniel C Dennett: From bacteria to Bach and back. Allen Lane 2017. Also the source of the quote in the previous post. He must be a sailor!