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ITALIA - SLOVENIA   Part 3/4 - Signposts in the sea
Gommone Laguna Club Venezia - 21st Raid, Venezia-Pirano

Before leaving Pirano and with the help of enthusiastic sign language it became clear that our return trip would take us along the coastline on a 'horseshoe' course until we reached the deltas of Italy. From time to time we would rendezvous to ensure that all boats were accounted for before proceeding to the next stage.  This was my chance to see how the RIBS from this part of Europe handled in pressing conditions.

I had already noted that all boats, regardless of size or engine power, were keeping close together and that boat weights were generally 'stern heavy' which made for better speeds when on the plane. Sure enough when off the plane the strong headwind lifted many of the boats upright, making way difficult, with the smaller RIBS being wetter. Peter Zurrer's boat, Highlander, performed well in these conditions as it was designed for this type of typical headstrong wind and choppy seas, often seen in the UK. The Bora Bora

can be cold and cruel as it sweeps down from the Alps. After several stops to regroup we entered the Italian delta canal system at twilight. Darkness soon descended.

All twenty two boats in a line, ever so close so as not to be lost in the blackness, the fleet snaked the 'conga' at 30 knots through the complex waterways of the shallow lagoons. The white navigation lights clearly showed the passage of this new creature of the lagoon. An impressively awesome sight.
We arrived back at Grado in darkness and with lots of foreign accents as the RIBsters went ashore and the boats were safely berthed. And a welcoming party, how kind! Unexpectedly the local authorities greeted us and solemnly inspected our papers before we were allowed to proceed to the hotel for an eagerly awaited warm shower, wash and brush-up before the

planned evening dinner and awards presentation. Everyone arrived back to the hotel, all present and correct. Now for some serious R&R after the gauntlet thrown down by the Bora Bora. But who were these uniformed officials standing across the doors? Well, it would seem that during our battle against the elements we should have called into the port of Trieste to check-in with the immigration authorities....Apparently our passage along the coastline and our little sojourn

through the lagoons had us all, 60 RIBsters, under close scrutiny. With four foreign tongues in the group the authorities were confounded for a while and possibly thought we were part of some sort of conspiracy.

As is the Italian way, and some eight hours later, all became clear but by this time the party spirit had long departed. After each and everyone had signed a declaration of one sort or another we drifted off to slumber. The group incurred an impressively large fine for this small indiscretion, which the organising club graciously settled on behalf of all the RIBsters. Bravo! The following morning brought a refreshing change in the weather's visibility. Still cold but the ill winds of the day before had cleared the air to crystal clarity.
The majestic mountains of the Austrian Alps made a perfect backdrop for our return passage to Venice. A different route to that for our arrival took us closer to the Alps as we enjoyed an exhilarating ride through the lagoons once again. The now customary 'refuel stop' and 'comfort stop' were made and we were on our way again.

Once back in the open sea we departed from the main group, along with a couple of other RIBS, as we had long drives back home (in Peter's case all the way back to Zurich and Stefan to Hamburg) and the day was getting on. A final departing hot 'punch' (a welcomed mulled wine) at Beppi's boatyard sent us on our way from a
unique RIB event and anexperience of a lifetime. Gommone Laguna Club Venezia extend a warm hospitality to RIBsters of any nationality who would wish to join them in the future on this RIB Raid. Best enjoyed if you like good eating, serious drinking, laughing and joking and excellent company. Should appeal to most RIBsters throughout the world, I guess?

Contact: Snr. Renzo Tasin Via Monte Abetone 20 30030 Favarov (VE) Italy