Help us build a Venetian boat!

Help build a Venetian boat


Made in Goolwa

Every year Venice, Italy hosts a non-competitive rowing regatta called the Vogalonga. 2019 was its 45th edition. Only human-powered watercraft participate in the event. A typical Vogalonga fleet includes scores of local Venetian boats of which there are many types (not just gondolas). These are joined by people from all over Europe rowing sculls, kayaks, canoes, dragon boats, stand-up-paddle boards, English skiffs, Irish currachs and a whole lot more. Even crews from Australia and New Zealand head to Venice to participate in this event.

Modelled on this famous annual event in Venice, Goolwa will soon host its inaugural Vogalonga Down Unda on 26 April 2020. And as a way of forgeing a tangible connection with and giving a salute to Venice itself, a traditional Venetian two-person sandolo (pictured above) will be built by a group of local volunteers to lead the fleet during our local event. Hopefully, this boat will be the first of many boats rowed Venetian-style in our Australian event in future years.

The Venetian Sandolo

Using traditional drawings acquired from a source in Venice, Straydog Boatworks of Mt Barker has created digital plans for a 2-person traditional Venetian sandolo. (See images below). From these digital plans, kits for the boats will be made mainly out of marine ply. The kits will be assembled by volunteers with no previous boat building experience required under the guidance of an experienced wooden boat builder. A local non-profit boat building organization in Goolwa – The Armfield Wooden Boats Inc. – has expressed interest in providing advice and mentoring to the group building the boat.

Sample images from the digital plans for a Venetian sandolo.

If you would like to volunteer to help build one of these boats – whether or not you are planning to participate in our Vogalonga – register your interest here. All those who help to build the boat will be offered free lessons in how to row the boat you helped to build – Venetian-style.

If you would like to DONATE towards the purchase of the boat kit (est. $10,000 in total for all materials including epoxies, jigs, royalties etc.), contact us. All donors of $50 or more will also be offered lessons in Venetian rowing.

For further information, contact Michael Piovesan 0415 448 657 or email .

If you would like to experience Venetian-style rowing for yourself, contact Michael Piovesan on 0415 448 657 or email or visit Venetian Rowing SA on Facebook.


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