Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Ever Wondered About Those Ropes....

When you ride the vaporetti watch the marinaio (the man or woman who ties the boat to the dock, opens and closes the gate, and sells tickets.) With a flick of the wrist, they wrap the thick rope against the stanctions on the dock. The vaporetto pulls forward and the rope groans. Will it hold? It does and pulls the vaporetto back to the dock.

I’ve always wondered about the lifespan of those ropes. So during my recent trip to Venice, when I was doing a late-night trip on the #1 (one of the best times for sightseeing), I asked the (cute) marinaio about the ropes and their lifespan. “They last two weeks, if the weather’s good,” he said, “Three or four days if it’s raining–much less if the pilot is bad....”

The ropes, he said, are made of manila and have a nylon core. Pure nylon is not good because when a nylon rope breaks, it snaps back and hits people on the vaporetto. The blended ropes just fall into the water.

The marinaio came back with one last tidbit. A vaporetto’s propeller is on the right side of the boat, so docking on the right side is easier.

Sorry, but I don’t have any photos of the ropes–I promise to take some on my next trip.


Michelle said...

Believe it or not, but I have one! :-)

You can check it out at http://michellesmentalclutter.blogspot.com/2005/08/learning-ropes.html

Thanks as always for the inside scoop!!

SharonZ said...

Great photo! I love to watch the marinaios work the ropes. And don't you love how they help the little old ladies and people pushing strollers get into the vaporetto? It's a great way to travel--except when the vaporetto is more crowded that NYC's A train at rush hour (which happened to me in May. We got off and walked.)