Wind and lake are an indissoluble combination, as the athletes of Fraglia della Vela in Riva del Garda well know. As you may know, this is one the most active sailing clubs at international level
The gold of Garda is said to be its winds. I couldn’t agree more with this assessment. Without them I wouldn’t even exist… Curious to know who I am? Before telling you my story, let me introduce Garda’s winds. Their names are Ander, Vinessa, Fasanella, Boaren, Ponal and Pelér. The most important one is Ora, which blows from the south to the north and loves spring and summer sunny days. Around 10 in the morning if you look up from the shore of Riva towards the crest of the Mount Baldo you can see small clouds. The locals call them Balloni dell’Ora (Ora’s Balloons) That is the unmistakable sign: at midday, the wind Pelér, blowing from the north to the south, shifts its direction. There comes Ora, blowing and driving abundant sailboats and surfboards until the sun goes down. If you wonder what’s the reason why there are so many colored triangles sailing on the lake, well, that’s me.
My story begins just before the outbreak of the war with Italy. In 1915 the governor of the Garda area, serving the Austro-Hungarian Empire, deliberately sank his cutter named Sirius in the waters of the Gulf of Torbole. Then he flew back to Austria.
Some years later, some people from Riva accidentally fished out Sirius. They repaired and renamed it Galeotto: it became the first flagship of a small fleet of sailors. In 1928 this sailing team founded me, Fraglia di Riva, to promote the art of sailing and its sporting competitions.
I owe my unusual name, Fraglia, to the Italian poet Gabriele D’annunzio, who contributed to my foundation. He took up a term that the Venetians used in the Middle Ages to call the guilds of arts and crafts or brotherhoods. This word had the same root of the word brotherhood. The inhabitants of Riva felt honored about D’Annunzio’s idea and decided to appoint him president of the club ab aeterno. He gladly welcomed this great honor.
The sports club extends to the pier and faces Riva’s stronghold, separated by a narrow canal. The club building was built in the 1930s by the architect Giancarlo Maroni. He was very close to D’annunzio and gave a significant contribution to the development of the city between the two wars. At the time the building housed few boats, as sailing on Lake Garda wasn’t so popular. Today there’s not so much space left. Thanks to wind Ora this area is one of the best places where to practice this sport worldwide. For less then a century Lake Garda has being attracting thousands of people and teams from all over the world to race right here. The sailing club, which had started out as a small club of sport lovers, began growing further from 1951, with the first edition of the International Sailing Week, Intervela. This event still takes place every year. Thanks to that event, Garda’s fame outside national borders grew more and more. 2012 was a memorable for me. 1055 people took part in the XXX Meeting of the Garda Optimist and I entered the Guinness Book of Records for being the largest regatta of a single class worldwide.
Riva del Garda is the starting and arrival point of all the rings of GardaTrek. Fraglia della Vela and its headquarters are undoubtedly one of the main symbols of the town. Fraglia has established itself internationally over the years. It sounds almost a contradiction if you think that this sailing club is embraced by the imposing Trentino Alps …
This close relationship between lake and mountain represents the very identity of Garda Trentino, which many have compared to a Scandinavian fjord with a Mediterranean flair.