A remarkable Sunday
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If you Genoese people facing out of your windows, living around Genoa's hills, focusing on a mooring manoeuvre, of a vessel in the port area, have ever asked what kind of men can be those riding those little red-orange boats that lead the ship to the berth, you should know somebody of them.

My letter starts from the far seventies, when I was too child to get on board by myself , so that my father helped me boarding, passing me to a colleague, from ashore to onboard. I ran all over this bright boat and the master, gently argued me in Genoese: “Me raccomando no toccae ninte” “ Please don't touch anything”. On the wheelhouse there was the rudder wheel, the one that to a child like me inspired a symbol of august power. From there you felt the owner of the world, and the tugboat, painted in white, blue and black shone under a Sunday's remarkable sunny day. From up there, you could see the name and the homeport of the tug upside-down, rounding the stern same, as to remark gently the shape: “ TORREGRANDE – GENOVA”.

All of a sudden, this name was loudly spelt by the VHF: it was arrived the time “to do an arrival”. In a while the strong hull of the tug was twisted by the hits of his own machinery. From the bow, the lines were being slacked by the sailor. Underwater, the screw started making foam, and onto this bed, the tug sailed towards his job. The rudder wheel was ticking from port to starboard side, while I was leading all the scene sitting on an highchair “Cusci' ti vedi meggio” “So you can watch better”.
The vessel shape was on the landscape already. From then to a while afterm we are alongside and a big towing line is slacked on our stern, and the sailor of before, grabs it with a big hooked stick and hooks it to the tug hook. Since this moment, we are linked to the vessel, but we are more, more powerful than she, and she will come through us as an obeying animal. The foam under the tug becomes a furious stream and the towing line gets stretched as a spring. That's the most dangerous situation during towage, as, if the line breaks it spreads injuries and death to who is standing by. All of us are inside the narrow space of the wheelhouse.

The VHF meantime sounds around the Pilot orders, just climbed from the Jacob's-ladder. In front of my child eyes, the bridge panels were lightning as Xmas tree decorations and a ordered line of switches was lying on them as ants in queue. You wished to push all of them!!! In all this meantime on which I concentrated on the switches, we were narrow to the quay. The Pilot was already on the wing of the bridge of the ship for the last orders and our towing line is passed on to the mooring men.

Our job is completed, the pilot thanks all of us, we horn to bye him. The tug master nears my highchair to the rudder wheel and gives me the orders to ride the tug, and she goes port or starboard when “I” want. Command sense has no pair even to a child. On the tug, metaphor of hard-working life, icon of sea rescue, I recognized for this 32 years, the food and the unimaginable satisfaction to have had toys no other child could have or dream.
Since then started living in myself, the passion for sea. I ever imagined my father, today retired Tugs Chief Engineer, like he was a watchmaker, and the engine a watch to which give the run every single day. And every single day I spend in Harbor master offices with unknown seamen books, I imagine to have my father's one in my hands, while turning pages, with all boarding checks, pages of lived life, of sea waves taken alongside, in the damned Atlantic Ocean together with people forgotten by the world, that were coming back to life, happy for the ending sacrifice, each time they were putting after them the red and the green lights entering in the port of Genoa.

With this letter I embrace all the Crew members of Genoa Tugboats Rimorchiatori Riuniti.

Goodbye Superba.

Luca Roncolini - 4/2007- Free translation by writer, published in Italian by “Il Secolo XIX” on April 26 th 2002