Sean Jamieson sent these photos from a private party they were hired for in Del Mar - a San Diego suburb.
Sean's operation, The Gondola Company is located in Coronado, California.
"A couple had gotten engaged years ago in Venice on a gondola so the wife wanted to surprise her husband on his birthday with a gondola in their pool." As you can imagine, the type of clientele who arrange for such things usually have pretty nice pools. But even the best pools don't often have launch-ramp facilities.
Here's how the launch went this time:
"Getting the gondola into the pool was quite an ordeal. I was assured I could unload the gondola and splash it strait, repeat...strait into the pool. But when we got there they wanted the three of us to carry it up 50 stairs. The alternative was down a path along a wall and a 90 degree turn between two light posts. We had to elevate the bow about 10 feet into the air to make the turn."
As you can tell from the photos, the gondola made it safely into the water, but it wasn't easy.
I have to give Sean a nod here - the boat looks pristine.
Sometimes, the client wants a gondola simply for decoration,
sometimes they plan on getting folks in the boat but it's not in the cards.
Such was the case in Del Mar:
"The event was meant so people could get on it and take pictures. But once we arrived, we determined that would not work so it was just a decoration. Some people took pictures in front of it with a gondolier but it was super cold that night (by California standards) so most guests stayed inside the house. The highlight was when the gondoliers did a silly happy dance on the boat."
Some of you may be curious about the origin of the gondola.
This is a 30' gondola built in 1998 at the now closed Hills Marine in Seal Beach, California.
She has plywood planking over Douglas Fir frames with fiberglass on the outside.
Hills Marine produced most of the boats for the Gondola Getaway in Alamitos Bay, and many more for operations in several other cities.
Founders of The Gondola Company Sean Jamieson and Eric Johnson took an active role in the construction of this particular boat.
Of all the boats I've seen come out of that yard, I think this is the cleanest and best maintained of the bunch.