"We wed thee, O Sea, in token of true and lasting dominion." These words are spoken each year at the Feast of the Ascension to celebrate Venice’s marriage with the sea—a ritual begun in the year 1000, when a powerful fleet sailed from Venice to rid Istria (Croatia and Slovenia) of pirates. Their citizens, exhausted by the wars between the Croatian king Svetislav and his brother Cresimir, swore an oath of fidelity to Venice, establishing the eminence of Venetian maritime power over the Adriatic Sea. The Venetian influence endures today, providing a powerful reason to visit this culturally- and historically-rich, naturally beautiful region—aboard Sea Cloud, the quintessence of sailing in the land of sail:
It takes the 16-member crew one hour to set the sails, and one hour to take them down again, using muscle, skill, and sailing acumen. This itinerary, as are all Sea Cloud’s, is crafted to take advantage of the reliable, prevailing winds that conduct us, in harmony with nature, from point to point, much like ancient explorers.
And, when the square sails are run out from the massive yardarms, you’ll experience something few do in the 21st-century: the mighty allure of seeing a tall ship sailed, as her nimble crew climbs the rigging in a splendid choreography, arranging the lines and unfurling the sails with precision and skill. It’s a sight rarely seen by today’s travelers.
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