Arriva la San Pierota!

The first Venetian boat of its kind is being constructed in the UK.

The Woodbridge Boat Yard belonging to Maxine and Eric Reynolds is now producing the first “San Pierota” to be built in England.

The Woodbridge Boat Yard specializes in rebuilds and unusual boats, such as the Deben Cherub. The san pierota—a traditional boat created in the littoral community San Pietro in Volta after the arrival of the outboard motor in the Venetian lagoon—is the first boat of this design to be built in the UK. The plans come from Gilberto Penzo in Venice, but the boatbuilding skill is supplied by dexterous staff on the river Deben in Suffolk lead by Darren Gee.

The “sanpierota” is a Venetian design of a very versatile boat, unique in that it can be powered by sail, oar, or motor. It’s sturdy and reliable. Out in the Venetian lagoon, it’s the ideal conveyance to a quiet spot somewhere in the sun, or the shade, for a delicious picnic amongst reeds and water birds.

San Pierota under construction at the Woodbridge Boatyard, UK

“Marco,” a graceful pupparino is already located at Woodbridge, was constructed by Amadi for the first Vogalonga in 1975. A dark-coloured racer of a sleek design is used today in some of the most serious of races in the Venetian season, including each September in the Regata Storica in a race of fierce male youth competitors. 

To digress to pure motor power, the Woodbridge yard also possesses a graceful launch from Venice called “Francesca”. These two Venetian craft will soon be joined by this newly-constructed san pierota—we look forward to the “varo” (launch) to learn what she’ll be called.

‘Francesca’ now at Woodbridge Boatyard

For special boat commissions, contact Woodbridge Boat Yard, Everson’s Wharf, River Wall, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 4BB, t. 01394 385786, email: enquiries You can also follow Woodbridge on Instagram.

— Richard Bailey