On Sunday, 16 June, Rovinj once again showed its radiant face. For the 14th time, the unforgettable view of the Rovinj peninsula was once again decorated with painted sails of traditional boats in which 37 teams from Croatia, Austria, Slovenia and Italy sailed to the finish line. The Regatta, in organization of the Batana Eco-museum, when it comes to ecology and protection of maritime heritage, caught pace with the contemporary trends
“The Rovinj Regatta is primarily marked by the enthusiasm of our sailors. We gather and sail every year, enjoy the benefits that the sea provides, our traditional boats, and in getting together, which makes this Regatta a “regatta for the soul”, said Ermanno Turcinovich, who won yet another race with Ennio Cherin in the batana category in the 14th Rovinj Regatta with lug and lateen-rig sail, and other traditional boats.
The competition was intense, like every year, and we had winners in 9 categories, but both the participants and spectators came to Rovinj above all to enjoy, together with their hosts, its beauty, the richness of its maritime heritage, and mostly in getting together. Alvise Benussi, leader of all regattas since the beginning of this well-known Rovinj tradition, said about this year's Regatta: “Yet another Regatta full of sunshine and good mood is behind us. Although the boats could have used more wind, they had reached the finish line, and all, regardless of their rankings, were satisfied. And that makes our Regatta so special; it is reflected in the dedication of the Venetian sailors who traditionally come every year from “city on the water” propelled by sail and oars only or, for the first time, in the arrival of the Austrian team who changed their Lake Kim See near Salzburg with the expanse and beauty of our Rovinj waters. In order to show them how much we, as hosts, appreciate their loyalty and admiration for Rovinj, this year in collaboration with the LC Studio we manually crafted prizes from wood and epoxy resin. Hopefully, they will be nice reminders of how eagerly we await them at our 15th anniversary Regatta next year,” said Alvise Benussi.
The 14th Regatta will be remembered by the following participants - Ennio Cherin and Ermanno Turcinovich (Regina) in the batana category, Bruno Antonac (Pia) in the cutter category, Ivica Grbac (Don Cicio) in the big guc, and Gianni Mohović (MD 511) in the small guc category. In the gajeta category the winners were Brajković and Mušković (Nikka), in the dingy Luka Pasić (Dingy), and in the leut category Janez Šabec (Old Maček). The winners were also Pietro Fabris in the bragagne category (Mafalda), in topi Fabio Graziani (Spiumante), and in the pasare category Tessitori-Sirotnjak duo (Juliana).
This year's Regatta was marked by some fresh approaches. It was part of a new project for the protection and preservation of the maritime heritage, Arca Adriatica Interreg Italy - Croatia, and it also encouraged the Regatta and the Batana Eco-museum to engage in the ecological themes and to emphasize the importance of using alternative energy sources. Since traditional boats are powered by the wind, a project with a symbolic logo and name – “Wind of Change”, was launched in cooperation with the Maistra Hospitality Group. The first activity was to replace the plastic with the bio compostable packaging on the Regatta. The issue of environmental conservation was also emphasized in the children's program – the “Prints of the Sea” workshop, led this year by the coordinator of the aMORE festival's artistic program, Sabina Damiani. By showing children how to create their own seals with sea motifs, she conveyed them a powerful message of the aMORE Festival about the importance of the healthy seas for the health of people.
One novelty was also a program richer than in recent years, with the informal part starting with a story about numerous Croatian lighthouses and their keepers, whose stories about their lives in such peculiar circumstances were collected in the book “Legends of Light” by the author Jurica Gašpar, editor of Morski.hr. Given that he is also a son of a lighthouse keeper and that he had spent the early years of his life on the lighthouse of Sv. Ivan na pučini in front of Rovinj, he was delighted to visit the 14th Rovinj Regatta and introduce the Rovinj audience to warm, authentic, human side of the story of lighthouses, speaking through their keepers voices in the book “Legends of Light” and the film of the same name. Because of its importance for the safety of ships and people, during the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire when the lighthouses were built, the lighthouse keepers had the same status as doctors, priests and teachers. Today, due to the automation of the lighthouses, their number has dwindled, and their stories became treasures of maritime heritage. And the cultural heritage for people of Rovinj and their guests was certainly another new tradition of the Rovinj Regatta – a procession of batanas and other boats in Saturday twilight, the evening before the main program, which thrilled the spectators and led them to a dilemma – whether traditional boats suit Rovinj more in daylight or at night!