[Clan Sinclair]
[prev] [next]
7 Roses
   & Zolo
Elba to
Tim about
   Zolo in

7 Roses

From Lisola [an Italian newspaper], November 23, 1999 ``Between Past and Present''

Zolo, an Elban legend on the ocean

"7 Roses", a German shepherd and a mutt: on January 1st, 2000 the skipper from the Naval League will depart from Venice to conquer Nova Scotia.

Laura Zolo began going to sea as a child. The first, and not so timid, outings were with her parents, first on a small boat not more than 5 meters and then on a sailboat measuring 7 meters. It was here, on the sea of Elba and with the kids from the Naval League at Grigolo that Laura found her passion for the sea, a passion that would lead to incredible oceanic undertakings.

The skipper began to cross the ocean in 1980 aboard an old plywood trimaran, which would be exchanged for an eleven and a half-meter steel wreck in the islands of Cape Verde. The sailboat had been brought ashore and abandoned by its previous owners.

Four months of extraordinary restoration of the hull, which had been attacked by reefs, rust and inclement weather, were enough to reach the Caribbean and return, by way of Azores, to the Mediterranean. It was 1992 and the boat couldn't take any more. The original blue color could only be seen in spots under the iron oxide covering. The remains of the vessel were brought ashore in Corsica and Laura began to test the body of the hull and the deck, which were mostly ruined by rust. With a lion's courage, the help of a grinder, a welding machine given by her father, and an enviable will, she began to rebuild the boat.

The Latin and Greek she learned in school were of little help to her. Putting the boat back together and reinforcing the frame required time and understanding of the toil involved. Before starting the reconstruction, the young woman spent several weeks in a Corsican metal-working shop. There she learned how to use the arc welder and grinder. In January of 1996, after three years of intense work, Laura, "Sultan" - a magnificent German shepherd- and the little dog "Stella", left Campoloro for a new adventure. For four months she sailed around the French island and then nearby Sardinia, accompanied the whole time by her faithful four-legged companions and her mother.

Once her mother disembarked, Laura set her course to the west, the Balearic islands and Gibraltar. It was the beginning of a fascinating, solitary adventure of the sea and of life, briefly interrupted by the arrival of her father who accompanied Laura to the Canary Islands. She then set course for the warm South Seas.

It was a new life. Encounters, job opportunities and experiences upset her established plans and the young woman once again changed her course 180 degrees. She pointed her prow to the north-east and set sail for Portugal. Still alone, she took on the Bay of Biscay and reached Great Britain at the end of April. There she learned to navigate fog, strong currents and waves over 6 meters tall. Although she was used to the Mediterranean sun and the subtropical climate, she was still able to appreciate the new and sometimes hostile climate, made up of squalls and gray skies, ports, voyages and landings dependent on the tides.

After a difficult summer of work aboard an old Schooner - at the origin of the reversal of the course- Laura, four-legged friends and "7 Roses" set off to sail around Great Britain. It is November 1997. The boat first reaches Scotland, then Ireland, France and then returns to the port of departure in early March 1998.

The indefatigable young woman is not satisfied with the inclement climate of Yorkshire and decides to venture off to Iceland and reach the Arctic circle. Prior commitments and work obligations don't allow her to leave until the end of August when she sets off to the north, setting course for Shetland, where she arrives at the end of the summer in 1998. The delay and the arrival of bad weather force her to give up her plan, which will be replaced by a much more ambitious project.

In the Orkney Islands Laura learns about the enterprises of the Zeno brothers. Nicol had explored the northern islands, Iceland, and the eastern coast of Greenland. A trip to the New World in 1398 is attributed to his brother Antonio. Earlier than Columbus, Antonio left the Old Country with twelve ships during the time of the Holy Land, the refuge of the Templars. In this northern archipelago, descendants of Prince Henry St. Clair (Earl of Orkney, at the time of the Zeno brothers) were interested in recreating the voyage of the navigator and contacted Zolo. The historic undertaking has been the subject of study of the Henry Sinclair Society of North America for years.

A new horizon was opened for Laura: to repeat the voyage of the Zeno brothers. The plan: depart from Venice on January 1st, 2000 and reach the Orkney Islands by the beginning of June. She will pass Malta, then the Balearic Islands, the strait of Gibraltar, then Brest, the Orkney Islands, the Shetland Islands, the Faeroe Islands, Iceland, Cape Farawell in Greenland and final begin the crossing that will bring her to Halifax, Nova Scotia on the American continent. Who will accompany her on this voyage to Canada? "Stella", the little mutt; "Sultan", the German shepherd; and the "7 Roses", of course. Her companion, Jack, owner of the oak Schooner from 1929, will embark as crew.

During the long voyages of Laura Zolo the Naval League flag has always flown under the left cross tree of the sailboat. The last pennant that she had aboard is now on display at the Boating Club of Scalloway in the Shetland Islands.

Sunday the 21st of November, on the prize-giving day of the Aethalia Cup '99, the "navigatrice solitaria", as she has been defined by newspapers all over the world, to whom Venice just gave honorary citizenship, will be the guest of Elba's sailing circle in Porto Azzurro. It will be the chance to meet this authentic feminine myth.

Last changed: 00/06/10 07:50:08 [Clan Sinclair]