I had a great conversation today with Tyson from Sunset Gondola. He and Tim just got back from Venice, and by all accounts, had more fun than anyone should be allowed to have.
The guys at Sunset have one of the coolest boats in their fleet: a pupparin.
The pupparin (also referred to by some as a pupparino) is a type of sandolo.
The sandolo hull design is a simple and elegant design, consisting of three curved "sheets" of wood and a small transom piece. They are seaworthy, easy to maintain, and arguably easier to build than a gondola, which has numerous complex curves in her design.
The pupparin has been described as a gondola-sandolo hybrid because she has characteristics of both boats.
She is also described by some as a "transition boat" because young men are usually the ones racing her; guys who are typically on their way to becoming gondoliers.
There are numerous other opinions associated with this unique boat, but my commentary would be incomplete without mentioning the lines of the boat. The pupparin may be the most graceful of all boats in the sandolo family.
As far as I know, the pupparin at Sunset Gondola is one of only two in North America.
I took some shots of her last time I was on their docks.
This boat was built in 1982 by Roberto dei Rossi in Squero San Trovaso.
Notice the seating and surrounding parecio resemble those of a gondola. In addition, the floorboards, forcola and gondolier's deck have strong similarities too.
The pupparin is shorter in length and has less windage so she is more maneuverable and easier to row in windy conditions.
The pupparin is also one of the Venetian designs that are asymmetric. Looking down the center line, you can see her built-in curvature.