Venice e-Regata announces programme, schedule

An exciting showcase of electric boats, the The first Venice e-Regata, is set to take place June 3rd to June 6th with a full schedule of competitions, exhibits and conferences.

The e-Regata will be an official event in the 2nd edition of the Venice Boat Show and organizers hope it will be the first of many e-Regatas throughout Europe and indeed around the world as the popularity and variety of electric boats and boating continues to grow. (Full list of organizers at bottom of page)

Listen to the Plugboats Podcasts in which we speak with Venice e-Regata originator Kevin Desmond

The e-Regata is open to all types of electric boats – battery, fuel cell, hybrid, solar and other sources – with the condition that boats operating on 100% fossil fuel are prohibited.

Various organizations have been involved in creating the e-Regata, under the banner of the IWI – Inland Waterways International. The canals of Venice, of course, are the world’s most famous inland waterways and have been subject to ever-escalating assault from boat traffic.

The Guardian newspaper reported in 2016 that  “In the past two decades, the volume of motor-powered traffic on Venice’s canals has doubled. The foundations of more than 60% of the buildings on the Grand Canal have been damaged by the wash from the waterbuses and barges.

Every visitor to Venice knows that the continual noise from the fossil fuel boats is matched only by the noxious fumes floating through the air as they pass. What can’t be seen, because it is under the water, is that the constant churning of powerful propellers has been causing damage to the centuries-old foundations of the city’s famous palazzi for years. So much so that there is genuine concern that one or more may literally collapse into the canals like a scene from James Bond or The Italian Job.

Petition for electric boats in Venice canals

VeniceAgenda2028 is one of the organizers of the e-Regata and has an online petition asking the city to address this problem by banning FF boats from the canals within 8 years. You can add your name to the petition »» here.

Plugboats wrote about the electric boat elements of the first Venice Boat Show in June of 2019 and the city began testing restrictions on gas boats in some of the canals in August. The e-Regata is the next step– and a large one – in raising the profile of one of the world’s historic maritime centres as a hub of electric boat activity.

Event map for Venice e-Regata electric boat regatta

Venice e-Regata Schedule and Programme

Day One: Grand Procession

The show begins on June 3 with a grand procession of boats along the Grand Canal, each flying their own national flag along with the city’s Lion of San Marco standard. The parade is open not only to competitors but to all boats – whether from Venice or anywhere else – with electric or hybrid engines. Competitors will proceed after the parade to their mooring site at the Arsenal of Venice – The Arsenale. This will also be the centre of many of the exhibits and showcases.

The Arsenale is a magnificent complex of former shipyards and armouries that was at the heart of Venice’s naval power when the city state literally ruled the seas. The complex could turn out a ship a day through the world’s first assembly line operation and in 1450 over 3,000 Venetian merchant ships were in operation. There was even an Arsenale forest to provide wood for the boats.

Day Two: Slalom and e-Ballerina 

The morning will feature a timed slalom event where each boat takes off on a straightaway, then returns by negotiating a slalom between seven buoys spaced over 250 metres.

The afternoon will be taken up with what promises to be one of the most intriguing events and a crowd pleaser for sure: the E-Ballerina.

Patterned after figure skating competitions and designed to demonstrate manouevrability in a confined space, the ‘course’ is a public area staked by about five large buoys spaced in the shape of a diamond with a fifth in the centre.

The competitors choose a piece of music that they will broadcast from the boat during a choreographed performance that includes 360˚turns – both clockwise and counterclockwise –  figure 8s, controlled reversing, lateral movement and remaining still.

Judges follow the movements using video from an overheard drone and points are awarded for degree of difficulty and elegance of execution. Adding even more of a twist, the drivers can add passengers to increase their level of difficulty score because it makes the boat less manoeuvrable and less efficient.

Day 3: Speed and Endurance

In the morning there will be timed bidirectional sprints over 300 or 500 metres with points awarded for passages and trails with low wake/wash emission.

In the afternoon all boats come together to take part in a six-hour cruise on the so-called Fasiol circuit behind the Giudecca. The battery charge of each boat will be measured at the beginning and at the end and will be assessed by the judges. Each boat must carry at least four passengers.

Days 4 and 5: Awards and Conference

Awards and Murano glass trophies will be presented on June 6 along with a customized Venetian electric motorboat being handed over to an association that provides services to disabled people.

The presentations will be part of an international conference organized by Inland Waterways International and VeniceAgenda2028 featuring international producers and experts on the energy transition in the marine industry organized.

Many will also take part in the next day’s brainstorming on next steps in implementing the zero-emission strategy in Venice and creating the Trouvé International Study Centre for sustainable marine motorization.

The Venice e-Regata is organized by VeniceAgenda 2028 (VA2028), Triumph Group International, Assonautica Venezia, Associazione Motonautica Venezia and Venti di Cultura, in collaboration with the City of Venice and Vela SA, under the banner of Inland Waterways International (IWI). All these bodies are working together to accelerate the transformation of thousands of boats that navigate in the lagoon, from petrol/diesel engines to zero- emission electric propulsion.

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