Leonardo’s ships

Leonardo with his many drawings of extraordinary clarity and effectiveness has left us projects that touch many sectors, including boating: boat designs … up to those that hypothesize many underwater equipment and the fantastic submarine.

Among his documents on these topics that have come down to us is the Atlantic Code which is the most important and reports Leonardo’s entire intellectual life from 1478 to 1519, collecting his precious contributions to mechanics, mathematics, astronomy , geography, boating, physics and architecture. After going through an endless series of vicissitudes, including a series of restorations, the “Codice Atlantico” is now preserved in the Sala del Tesoro of the Ambrosiana Library in Milan. Even on the manuscript 8936 or Madrid II, consisting of two notebooks, Leonardo noted his observations and reflections on water, the sea and rivers.

In his many writings the main problem that Leonardo poses is that of making shipping faster and easier and for him the shape of the hull was of great importance, he thought of equipping certain boats with large paddles which, operated by means of cranks, increased the oar power. His drawings dating back to 1482 refer to a wheel hull with the study of driving blades for the construction of a “propulsion boat”, having an arm and a half of about one meter; to multiply the power of the rowers, it has wheels with a diameter of over half a meter. Then he elaborates the plans of the “pile driver”, a boat useful for the piling of hydraulic basins, composed of a vertical frame with winch for lifting the weight. He then invented the “lagoon and maritime dredger”, a work boat for cleaning the seabed, mounted on two hulls and equipped with four rotating blades with crank movement.

Leonardo also undertakes to study the activity of man underwater, a “diver”, with specific descriptions of the equipment to be used and their operation, providing a screen to breathe or simple headdresses equipped with very small mugs for war uses , with the adoption of webbed gloves and floating fins. His various sketches depict the diver’s systems to be able to work in water at a certain depth: the leather diving suit with breathing through cane hoses joined with leather joints and a steel spiral inserted into the joints in order to prevent crushing caused by water pressure. Leonardo also provides for the diver a small skin bottle for urinating, a hermetically sealed bag of skin equipped with a valve, to be used inflated or deflated for the ascent or descent underwater and sandbags such as ballast, a long rope, a knife and a horn to signal the end of operations.


There is also a secret invention hidden in sheet 881v of the Atlantic Code: the mechanical submarine-submarine, a weapon that he defines as diabolical, dangerous and innovative which, like many of his innovations and inventions, will not be realized. Its war function is clear: the submarine serves to break through enemy boats as a secret instrument, hooked by ropes to a normal non-war boat that can be sneakily approached to the enemy. Propulsion occurs through two mechanical fins, the alternating motion is transmitted by a gear that receives the thrust from the diver’s legs.

Presented by Romano Pisciotti

The salt pans of Trapani (Marsala) – Sicily

Italian and English version

What were the windmills of the Saline di Trapani used for?
Until the 1960s, the Windmills imposed themselves on the panorama of the Trapani salt pans. Majestic giants, with a graceful movement, undauntedly challenged the impetuous winds of Trapani. The salt workers were able to use the wind, indispensable for the movement of water to increase the formation of salt, also to be able to raise the countless quantities of water necessary for the production of sea salt. Soon the salt workers realized that they could use the windmills, as well as to pump the sea water into the salt, also to grind the salt. So it is necessary to understand that there were two types of windmill in the salt pans of Trapani: one type for lifting water and another for the salt mill. The Windmills in the Trapani area were also used by activities that did not concern the extraction of salt, and were also built for the milling of wheat.

Some remains are still found in the Trapani hinterland. In the mid-1950s, another type of windmill was introduced in Trapani, the American mill, with 24 blades. This could be installed on the turrets of the existing windmills and was much easier to manage, because it “self-regulated” according to the Wind and the required power.

A cosa servivano i Mulini a Vento delle Saline di Trapani?
Fino a gli anni 60, i Mulini a Vento si imponevano sul panorama delle saline Trapanesi. Giganti maestosi, dal movimento aggraziato, sfidavano imperterriti gli impetuosi venti di Trapani. I salinai riuscivano ad utilizzare il vento, indispensabile per il movimento dell’acqua per incrementare la formazione del sale, anche per riuscire a sollevare le innumerevoli quantità d’acqua necessarie per la produzione del sale marino.  
Ben presto i salinai si accorsero che potevano utilizzare i Mulini a Vento, oltre che per pompare l’acqua di mare in salina, anche per macinare il sale. Quindi è necessario capire che esistevano due tipi di Mulino a Vento nelle saline di Trapani: un tipo per il sollevamento dell’acqua e un’altro per la Macina del sale. I Mulini a Vento nel Trapanese, furono anche usati da attività che non riguardavano l’estrazione del sale, e se ne costruirono anche per la macina del frumento. Se ne trova ancora qualche resto nell’entroterra Trapanese. Verso la metà degli anni 50, a Trapani venne introdotto un’altro tipo di Mulino a Vento, il Mulino Americano, a 24 pale. Questo poteva essere istallato sulle torrette degli esistenti mulini a vento ed era molto più facile da gestire, perché si “autoregolava” in funzione del Vento e della potenza richiesta.
Presentato da Romano Pisciotti

Italian battleship Roma (1940)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Name: Roma
Namesake: Rome
Ordered: 1937
Builder: Cantieri Riuniti dell’Adriatico
Laid down: 18 September 1938
Launched: 9 June 1940
Commissioned: 14 June 1942
In service: 21 August 1942
Fate: Sunk 9 September 1943 by German aircraft


Roma was 240.68 meters (789.6 ft) long overall and had a beam of 32.82 m (107.7 ft) and a draft of 9.6 m (31 ft). She was designed with a standard displacement of 40,992 long tons (41,650 t), a violation of the 35,000-long-ton (36,000 t) restriction of the Washington Naval Treaty; at full combat loading, she displaced 45,485 long tons (46,215 t). The ship was powered by four Belluzo geared steam turbines rated at 128,000 shaft horsepower (95,000 kW). Steam was provided by eight oil-fired Yarrow boilers. The engines provided a top speed of 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph) and a range of 3,920 mi (6,310 km; 3,410 nmi) at 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph). Roma had a crew of 1,830 to 1,950 if she had been completed.[7][8]

Romas main armament consisted of nine 381-millimeter (15.0 in) 50-caliber Model 1934 guns in three triple turrets; two turrets were placed forward in a superfiring arrangement and the third was located aft. Her secondary anti-surface armament consisted of twelve 152 mm (6.0 in) /55 Model 1934/35 guns in four triple turrets amidships. These were supplemented by four 120 mm (4.7 in) /40 Model 1891/92 guns in single mounts; these guns were old weapons and were primarily intended to fire star shells. Roma was equipped with an anti-aircraft battery that comprised twelve 90 mm (3.5 in) /50 Model 1938 guns in single mounts, twenty 37 mm (1.5 in) /54 guns in eight twin and four single mounts, and sixteen 20 mm (0.79 in) /65 guns in eight twin mounts.[9]

The ship was protected by a main armored belt that was 280 mm (11 in) with a second layer of steel that was 70 mm (2.8 in) thick. The main deck was 162 mm (6.4 in) thick in the central area of the ship and reduced to 45 mm (1.8 in) in less critical areas. The main battery turrets were 350 mm (14 in) thick and the lower turret structure was housed in barbettes that were also 350 mm thick. The secondary turrets had 280 mm thick faces and the conning tower had 260 mm (10 in) thick sides.[8] Romawas fitted with a catapult on her stern and equipped with three IMAM Ro.43 reconnaissance float planes or Reggiane Re.2000 fighters.[10]

Romano Pisciotti:  Read more about the battleship Roma…



Italian and English version

“Galeazza” is a type of war “Galea” used mainly in the Mediterranean Sea since the 16th century.
It differed from the thin “Galea” municipality by its larger size, the large number of artillery and the exclusive possibility between the Galleys – to carry out the lateral shot.
These ships, used for the first time in the battle of Lepanto, represented the passage between Galea and the sailing ship.

Galeazza was usually equipped with 3 square sails masts (the largest ones had 4 masts), bow castle, stern castle (this model had already been developed in the barrack and later in the Mediterranean galleon) and two bridges. He could carry 32 to 46 rows of rowers and fit 36 large cannons, plus others of smaller size.

La “Galeazza” è un tipo di galea da guerra usata principalmente nel Mar Mediterraneo a partire dal XVI secolo.
Si differenziava dalla comune “Galea” sottile per le maggiori dimensioni, il gran numero di artiglierie e la possibilità esclusiva tra le Galee – di effettuare il tiro laterale.
Questi navi, utilizzate per la prima volta nella battaglia di Lepanto, rappresentarono il passaggio tra la Galea e il veliero da guerra.

La Galeazza era usualmente dotata di 3 alberi a vele quadre (le più grandi avevano 4 alberi), castello di prua, castello di poppa (questo modello era già stato sviluppato nella caracca e successivamente nel galeone del Mediterraneo) e due ponti. Poteva portare dai 32 ai 46 banchi di rematori e montare 36 grossi cannoni, più altri di minor dimensione.


Presented by Romano Pisciotti


The advance of technology and connectivity does not impact only the world of cars and trucks. Imagine a connected yacht, navigating smoothly through a beautiful sea, with all smart controls at the palm of your hands – this idea is not far from reality.



Presented by Motor Parts Industry ( Romano Pisciotti – ITALMOTOR)

Roman Shipbuilding & Navigation

Unlike today, where shipbuilding is based on science and where ships are built using computers and sophisticated tools, shipbuilding in ancient Rome was more of an art relying on rules of thumb, inherited techniques and personal experience rather than an engineering science. The Romans were not traditionally sailors but mostly land-based people who learned to build ships from the people that they conquered, namely the Carthaginians (and their Phoenician predecessors), the Greeks and the Egyptians.


Warships were built to be lightweight, fast and very manoeuvrable. They would not sink when damaged and often would lay crippled on the surface after a naval battle. They had to be able to sail near the coast, which is why they had no ballast and were built with a length to breadth ratio of the underwater hull of about 6:1 or 7:1. They had a ram often made of bronze which was used to pierce the hulls or break the oars of enemy ships. Warships used both wind and human power (oarsmen) and were therefore very fast.

There were many kinds of warships. The trireme (derived from Latin “triremis” meaning “with three banks of oars”) was the dominant warship from the 7th to 4th century BCE. It had three rows with rowers in the top, middle and lower rows, and approximately 50 rowers in each row. The rowers in the lower row had the most uncomfortable position as they were under the other rowers and were exposed to the water entering through the oar-holes. It is worth noting that contrary to popular perception, rowers were not slaves but mostly Roman citizens enrolled in the military.

The trireme was superseded by the larger quadriremes and quinqueremes. The quadrireme had four rows of oarsmen while the quinquereme had five. According to Polybius, the Roman quinquereme had a total of 300 rowers with 90 oars on each side. It was about 45 m long and 5 m wide and would displace around 100 tons. It was superior to the trireme, being faster and performing better in bad weather.

Merchant ships were built to transport lots of cargo over long distances and at a reasonable cost, therefore speed and manoeuvrability were not a priority. They had a length to breadth ratio of the underwater hull of about 3:1, double planking and a ballast for added stability. Unlike warships, their V-shaped hull was deep underwater meaning that they could not sail too close to the coast. They usually had two huge side rudders (or steering oars) located off the stern and controlled by a small tiller bar connected to a system of cables. They had from one to three masts with large square sails and a small triangular sail called the supparum at the bow.

The Roman merchant ship’s cargo capacity usually was between 100 to 150 tons (150 tons being the capacity of a ship carrying 3,000 amphorae). The smallest ships had a capacity of 70 tons while the largest could have a capacity of 600 tons for a length of 150 feet (c. 46 m). Cargo included agricultural goods (e.g. grain from Egypt’s Nile valley, wine, oil, etc.), raw materials (iron bars, copper, lead ingots, marble, and granite) and other goods. Just like warships, merchant ships also used oarsmen. Following the collapse of the Roman Empire, no ships of the cargo-carrying capacity of Roman ships were built until the 16th century CE.

Just like with shipbuilding, navigation in ancient Rome did not rely on sophisticated instruments such as compasses or GPS but on handed-on experience, local knowledge and observation of natural phenomena. In conditions of good visibility, seamen in the Mediterranean often had the mainland or islands in sight which greatly facilitated navigation. They sailed by noting their position relative to a succession of recognizable landmarks and used sailing directions. Written sailing directions (periploi in Greek) for coastal voyages were actually introduced in the 4th century BCE. They were initially written in Greek and they existed for trips in the Mediterranean. By 50 CE, there were written directions not only for the Mediterranean but also for routes from Atlantic Europe to the city of Massilia and for routes along the coast of north-west Africa, around the horn of Africa or past the Persian Gulf to India and beyond.

When weather conditions were not good or where land was no longer visible, Roman mariners estimated directions from the pole star or, with less accuracy, from the sun at noon. They also estimated directions relative to the wind and swell. A lot of the Romans’ navigational skills were inherited from the Phoenicians. Pliny claimed that the Phoenicians were the first to apply astronomical learning gained from the Chaldeans to navigation at sea.

Both merchant ships and warships used wind (sails) and human power (rowers). Coordinating the hundreds of rowers was not an easy task and in order to solve this problem of rowers’ coordination, a musical instrument, usually a wind instrument, would be played. Roman seamen also had to have a good understanding of natural phenomena, wind direction relative to the sail, and they had to know how to operate the sails in various weather conditions.

Presented by Romano Pisciotti


The 36th America’s Cup presented by Prada is the upcoming edition of the America’s Cup yacht race. It will be contested by the winner of the 2017 America’s Cup, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, represented by their team, Emirates Team New Zealand, and the winner of the Prada Cup, the challenger selection series which takes place in January–February 2021. The “Challenger of Record”, the club that negotiates the racing protocol for the competition with the defender, is Circolo della Vela Sicilia who will be represented by their team Luna Rossa Challenge. As per the Protocol, for the 36th edition of the America’s Cup, the Challenger of Record (COR36) shall be responsible for organising all the preliminary regattas including the America’s Cup World Series (2019–2020), the Christmas Race (December 2020) and ultimately the America’s Cup in Auckland.

The boats will be in the AC75 class and will be monohulls featuring foils and “soft wing” mainsails.


Presented by ITALMOTOR, Romano Pisciotti


Imparate a buttare i rifiuti nei cestini ed a non abbandonare nulla nell’ambiente.
Cerca di essere la soluzione del problema, non il problema!!!
Learn to throw rubbish in the baskets and not leave anything in the environment.
Try to be the solution to the problem, not the problem !!!
Save the Ocean
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