Vela al Terzo: centuries of sailing the Venetian lagoon

Unless you’re an avid sailing enthusiast, you’ve probably never noticed that the colorful canvases tilting into the summer wind as they criss-cross the Venetian lagoon aren’t shaped like sails you’d see elsewhere (…what a surprise). Look closely – they’re not triangular, not trapezoidal, and not rhombus shaped, but a odd quadrilateral with four unequal sides suspended from a mast one-third of the way up from the shortest one — thus the name: Vela al terzo.

And this is how they look when there’s a traditional caorlina underneath, participating in a local regata. The caorlina is one maintained by the Associazione Arzanà. If you look closely, you’ll see that the masts and rigging are as traditional as the craft itself.



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