Sea bass, the story of a boat in record time


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image“Building a boat and building a violin, or a cello, is quite the same thing. Because the boat is a belly, or an ear perhaps, in which the whole surrounding world resonates.” “The boat immediately recognizes men who don’t pretend. You’re there, not ‘doing it.’ An absolutely concrete dimension.”. Speaking is the famous journalist and writer from Trieste Paolo Rumiz, narrator in a short and emotional documentary (made by APZ Media) dedicated to his hometown and the Barcolana. In the film (which you can see on our website by typing “Paolo Rumiz” in the search box) the initiative “How a boat is born” is illustrated, that is, the ambitious project (perfectly successful) of building in the two weeks before the Barcolana a new wooden sailing boat. The idea grew out of a chat between Barcola Grignano Sailing Society president Mitja Gialuz and Claudio Demartis, deus ex machina of numerous Trieste sailing initiatives, and involved Rumiz as testimonial and two shipwrights, Mario Mallardi and Federico Lenardon, on the practical side.

Mallardi, of Cantiere Alto Adriatico, took care of the practical part, while Lenardon, currently on his own after working for years with the same shipyard, handled the design and construction management: “The idea,” explains Lenardon, 50, Carlo Sciarrelli’s only pupil and more than 30 years of experience in wooden boat building, “took sight a few months close to the Barcolana. From the presentation of the design to the launching took only five weeks, an absolute record.” And so Spigola was born, a 4-meter (1.66 meters wide and weighing 50 kilograms) in minimal mahogany marine plywood that is not without elegance: “The making of the trainer and the laying of the structural bulkheads took place at the shipyard, the final construction of the hull continued at the former Fish Market along the Trieste shores, not failing to attract droves of curious onlookers and enthusiasts. It was a great success with the public, which served to raise awareness of the world and the professionalism behind boat building.”

“The philosophy behind the project,” Lenardon continued, “is geared toward maximum simplicity and functionality. We tried to create a boat that could be sold as a kit, so that anyone could build it while keeping costs down.” Spigola is a dinghy that, complete with sails and two-piece carbon mast (5.80 m high, sail area 8.20 sq. m.), is expected to cost around 5,500 euros excluding VAT. “At the Barcolana we launched the first specimen, now we have another one under construction: we hope to make many of them, the potential is there for it to become, in the future, a class-leading boat and attract the interest of many aficionados.”

“It was designed for triple use: sailing, motor (with a small electric outboard that can be mounted on the transom, made of teak-finished plywood) and rowing, thus also becoming a small lagoon fishing boat.” Lenardon considers her a kind of Optimist for adults: “Unlike dinghies on the market, Spigola requires no experience, maneuvers are stripped down to the bone, and she has uncommon stability. It well withstands movement on board without rolling excessively. Even the number of pieces that make up the boat is quite similar to that of an Optimist.”

The boat has a central bench near the centreboard and stern, and is completely “empty.” Ample space on board is ensured by the rig, with the mast decidedly bowed: “But characterized by an important inclination towards the stern,” Lenardon is keen to point out, “so that the sail center is set back to the right point.” The shape of the hull, however, differs completely from the Optimist, designed back in 1947 by Clark Mills. In this case, the choice of source of inspiration is more modern, but not too much: “If you will, the lines of the hull are somewhat reminiscent of the early Australian 18-footers, but with a slight V determined by the marine plywood construction (hence the name Spigola: recalling both the fish’s aquaticity and the angular shape, ed.) In short, a boat of our times but made with ancient techniques, by hand, according to the typical Upper Adriatic tradition.”



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