The incredible story of the brig of the fragile: come aboard with us

There is a ship that teaches you how to navigate through life. It hosts those who have a difficult existence due to too much calm, perhaps due to lack of stimuli, or a thousand storms of pain and difficulty. But to understand how this magic happens you have to get on board

  brig-today-20 The brigantine Italia was built in the Gdansk shipyards in 1993 and is about fifty meters long

The brig Italia moans a little, and leans slightly as she picks up speed, with the wind filling the sails and causing the halyards to vibrate in tension. But what sea outside, here the sea is everywhere. Indeed, some of the boys feel it too much, so much so that he has to take a pill to resist. But it is a moment, balance and enthusiasm are recovered immediately.

Surprise Fiorello: 'Amadeus doesn't know if he will do Sanremo' Surprise Fiorello: 'Amadeus doesn't know if he will do Sanremo'

A PARTICULAR CREW – These students of the IIS Galileo of Vercelli, selected, among many reasons, also because they are at risk of dropping out of school, have boarded as passengers, but as soon as the ship sets sail they will become part of the crew, integrating with the crew carrying the Navy uniform. During these days they will learn to be part of a team, to be part of a team, to take responsibility for the tasks that will be entrusted to them. The goal of navigation is the only really important thing: learning how to overcome that shadow line that paralyzes us when we have to face a change, a transition between two phases of our lives. Give us the courage to look into the eyes of the aftermath, so as not to sink into the swamp of the before.
Commander Massimo Nava doesn't even remotely remember Sergeant Hartmann of Full Metal Jacket and his verbal violence. He confronts these disadvantaged boys with the gentle but firm attitude of an older brother: he gathers everyone on deck, introduces his crew and then calmly explains what can and cannot be done. And above all, with patience, he motivates each prohibition, and in the end he clarifies: 'There is only one bow at sea: everyone works to keep the same course'. While Nava speaks, a small miracle occurs: smartphones begin to disappear in the pockets of sweatshirts, attention becomes more vivid, distrust diminishes. Perhaps the real, when seasoned with sea salt, is tastier than the virtual.

WHAT YOU NEED TO NAVIGATE – The state of mind of Luca, Valentina, Anas and their companions is rendered unfathomable by shyness and novelty: we have just left and surprise still takes over all other sensations. However, the more enterprising begin to ask questions almost immediately: there are those who ask why there are no women in the crew and those who would immediately like to hole up in the cabin to laze around, and are immediately blocked. Shortly before the ship sets sail, the first doubts emerge. Sonia, for example, is a little scared: «In theory I would like to travel, but I always need to go home, among the things I know, with my habits». The accounts have to be done at the end, once the cruise is over, and there is only one way to understand the magic of this steel swan launched thirty years ago: to read the logbook in one go, filled over time by
all those who have had this experience. It is the stream of consciousness of a thousand souls rediscovering what should be taken for granted. There are those who are happy because they have finally not eaten alone, or with the other diners with their heads in the TV, and those who are thankful for the many small polite gestures, because, writes Kiara, 'even a single 'good morning' can change everything' .

MERIT AND NEED – Scrolling through the pages it is possible to focus in their fullness on two concepts so repeated that they have been emptied of their essence: merit and need. The need to have someone nearby who takes responsibility for showing the way, who doesn't shy away from the need to say no, and to explain why it's no, someone who corrects wrong choices. And the merit: coming across this thought left by a girl not even of age, 'thank you, I didn't think I would have memorable moments in my life', it is difficult not to stop for a moment and wonder how it is possible that at 17 one is already convinced of not deserving of anything worth remembering.

HOW DOES IT WORK – From 2007 to today, the brigantine has introduced the sea to thousands of stormy people, traveling 40,000 miles. In the 2023 season alone, 23 crews will board the brig Italia, selected by the Tender To Nave Italia Foundation, the owner of the brig and chaired by Admiral Giorgio Lazio, from among the candidacies of third sector bodies and associations. The list is long and includes people affected by all kinds of disadvantages: ranging from diabetes patients to South African students from degraded areas of their country.
Why we got on board, however, is never important, because sooner or later we all find ourselves having to cross a shadow line.