Fleet 399 El Gato – Fleet 847 Laguna

By Corrado Perini Snipe Fleets in Chioggia Chioggia, Venice Lagoon, is called "Little Venice", because of its historical center, similar to "La Serenissima", made of bridges and canals. The local Yacht Club, Circolo Nautico Chioggia, was founded in 1949 and in 1950, the first Snipe appeared. ...

Fleet 399 El Gato – Fleet 847 Laguna Image

By Corrado Perini

Snipe Fleets in Chioggia

Chioggia, Venice Lagoon, is called “Little Venice”, because of its historical center, similar to “La Serenissima”, made of bridges and canals. The local Yacht Club, Circolo Nautico Chioggia, was founded in 1949 and in 1950, the first Snipe appeared.


elgatoDuring the ’50s the boats multiplied resulting in two fleets: the Fleet Mario Ballarin in honor of the founder of the Circolo Nautico, who died prematurely, and Fleet El Gato (No. 399) in “honor” of the symbol of Chioggia: a lion in imitation of the “Venetian lion”, which surmounts the column in Piazza Vigo and, perhaps, was built too small by its sculptor; it is mocked by the Venetians as “the cat” (“el gato”).

In 1952, the CNC organized the first edition of the Campionato dell’Adriatico. In 1953 the local fleets sailed the historic first trophy, the Trofeo Corrado Ballarin, which had a very restrictive regulation that included a series of selection trials. Three teams, along with the winner of the previous year, vied for the trophy in a series of 4 races with boats drawn for each race. Among the winners of the first editions was a very young Eleno Baruffaldi, then snipe builder of world renown.


(Eleno Baruffaldi with the American Tom Nute – 1977 World Championship in Denmark)

During the ’60s, the activities of the Club and Snipe fleet continued to grow. The Campionato dell’Adriatico, from 1965 called Trofeo Mario Ballarin, emerged as one of the most famous regattas in Italy and, also for its timing at the end of August, it became a true rematch of the National Championship. These were the years of the Swiss Patrizia III and of the Yugoslavian teams form Rijeka, Split and Moschiena. In the 70s the race started to become a challenge between Giorgio Brezich from Trieste and Sergio Morin from Monfalcone, to which you will add a few years later Giorgio Longo from Caldaro.


At the end of the 70s the Trofeo Belpesse was born. The Trofeo Corrado Ballarin WAS sailed only once between 1967 and 1975. Meanwhile, at the General meeting of the Italia Fleete in winter of 1974, Enzo Perini from Chioggia was elected National Secretary. He remained in charge for more than a decade, bringing to Italy the European Championship in Trieste (1982), establishing the ranking List (1984), the European Cup in Rosignano Solvay (1985) and contributing to the rebirth of the Tuscan fleet with the establishment of the Campionato del Tirreno. In 1987 he became Secretary of Southern Europe.


(Sergio Morin and Enzo Perini on a ferry to Denmark – 1977)

bannerChioggia hosted the Italian Junior Championship in 1967, the last two races of a 1968 Italian Championship sailed in three legs (in Luino, Antignano and Chioggia) and a beautiful Italian Championship in 1972 won by Sergio Morin and Sergio Michel (winners of the first two races) after a thrilling battle with Brezich – Ferin (winners of the 3rd and 4th race) and D’Isiot – Godino (winners of the last two races).

In Chioggia there were also an unlucky Italian Championship in 1989, thwarted by rain and little wind. This for a long time kept national events away from Chioggia. Meanwhile, due to the greater geographical distribution of the Class and the reorganization of the regattas (Regate Nazionali and Zonali) the Campionato dell’Adriatico lost its importance, demoted to the rank of a local regatta. Only in 1996 it was valid as Regata Nazionale and then again in 2000. In 2007 the presence of some Belgian teams made it important again due to the the victory of Van Cauwenbergh – Deferm, 25 years after the last victory of a foreign team (1982 Norwegians Hartmann – Standal in Italy for the European Championship in Trieste ) . In 2003 , the Fleets from Chioggia gave to the class a second National Secretary , the Venetian Alessandro Rodati, the new Fleet Captain of Fleet Lagoon (No. 847), founded to accompany the expansion of Snipe from Chioggia in the territory of Venice and Padua.


(Campionato Italiano 1972 – CNC Commodore Angelo Carlo Perini, Sergio Michel and Sergio Morin)

Finally I want to remind you of some sailors:

  • Sirio e Severo Ballarin (4th Campionato Italiano 1972),
  • Bruno Zoppi ed Eleno Baruffaldi (1st Campionato Adriatico 1973, 2nd Campionato Italiano 1974),
  • Egidio e Massimo Zambonin (1st Campionato del Tirreno 1980, 1981, 1982; 4th Campionato Italiano 1977),
  • Luca Marangon e Silvio Sambo (1st Campionato Italiano Junior 1985 e 1986, 1st Campionato Adriatico 1989, 1990, 1992, 2010),
  • Alessandro Rodati (1st Campionato Adriatico 2001) then with Tom Stahl, for several years one of the best team in Italy (Alessandro sailed 3 Europeans and 1 World Championship),
  • Corrado Perini (1st Campionato Junior 1978, 1st Duca di Genova 1987, 3rd Campionato Italiano 2000, 1st Campionato del Tirreno 1998, 1st Campionato Adriatico 2003, 2006, 2011),
  • Daniela Berto (1st Women’s Italian Nationals in 1999, 2002, 2003 e 1st woman at the Europeans in 2002),
  • Annarosa Perini (1st at the Women’s Nationals in 2000).


(Alessandro Rodati and Tom Stahl – 2004 European Championship in Lorient)

It is impossible to mention everyone, but in the history of the Snipe in Chioggia there are important actors like Roberto Perini (for many years Captain of the Fleet El Gato), Stefano Penzo “Pelo” (good sailor and (not professional but amateur) builder of the Snipes “Lo Zelo”), Luca Oselladore, Silvio Dunatov. Finally we would like to mention the names of the current Snipe sailors: Alberto Camporese, Alessandro Melato, Andrea Vianello, Pietro Pasqualato, …
There are three Classic Snipes in Chioggia: I 9719 LUSSIN, a wonderful boat built by D’Isiot and beautifully restored by Aldo Bellemo; and I 15808 PIGOLI V, another D’Isiot, more recent, now under restoration; and a wooden Snipe ITA 28613 MARIA JOSE built by the brilliant “Pelo”.


(Daniela Berto and Corrado Perini – Cervia 2003)


Let us know the story and the activity of your Fleet.


  • History of the fleet: When the fleet was founded? Most important sailors and fleet captains
  • Where is it located? Where do you sail (Racing area)?
  • How many boats and sailors? Who are they?
  • Which regattas has the fleet held in the past? Are there annual regattas or events?
  • Social events: does the fleet organize parties, dinners, clinics, promotional events etc.? Do you have a site, a mailing list or a FB page?
  • Programs or ideas for the next future
  • Also, please send photos


1 comment

12/12/2013 -

Non hai citato La grande associazione
SILP sindacato italiano liberi prodieri

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