Among the many compelling ideas brought afloat by the quarantine of the first few months of 2020, one was born in our lagoon.
From the 18th of May, as soon as Italy gave the green light to gatherings, a group of girls began sailing out with only one purpose in their minds: teaching other women how to move around the lagoon thanks to advises that, given the warm and welcoming context, sound more like tips coming from a friend you can -actually, absolutely should!- trust, if you do not want to get stuck in risky maneuvers or shallow waters. Marta hops on and sits next to the student -or turns the command of the motor if it is her boat- and the class begins.
They are the Fie a manetta, a way of saying “girls at full throttle”, and this year they have become a sports association.
During a class you will find out techniques and secrets that, whether you like it or not, only a Venetian can teach you, or at least those who know the lagoon from the inside out -or almost so. That is because to sail the Venetian lagoon, a boating license or a few trips on the water with parents or skilled friends is not enough. Knowing which canals are better to be avoided, knowing in which places you risk getting stuck into when the tide is low, learning the right maneuvers, memorising the spots where fishermen place their fishing nets, are just some of the necessary information to sail the lagoon in full security.
In this context sociality and inclusion have an extremely important role, without which the Association, as Marta says, would not have a reason to exist. And we can feel it is true already at our first meeting, for instance, getting to know Alice who perfectly knows how to sail a boat but, as most of the people that participate to these classes, wants to gain self-confidence, and Susy, an experienced rower, which asked to sail together an ancient canal in order to avoid unpleasant surprises, or go in the wrong direction, as she would have to sail it the following day by herself.
We do hope, with Le Fie (the girls, in Venetian dialect), that the lagoon will become more and more a place shaped for women, and that more attention will be brought to private boats, as there are only a few places where they can stop near useful services.
The headquarters of the A.S.D. is now being set in the sports area of Sacca Fisola, in Giudecca Island, which already hosts tennis courts and a bowling alley. It is not only a physical reference point for members, and an aggregation space: also theoretical classes are being programmed to be taken there. The theme? How to fight stereotypes: in other words, how to move around the lagoon if your name is Sofia, Giulia or Beatrice.
It is nice to know that we are never alone, that there are a lot of women, but also some boys – everyone is welcome! – which are willing to learn. As much as it is nice to know that things, if shared, turn out better, and insecurities are easily torn down.