A few years ago I came across an unusual gondola on the internet.
She was Venice-built, had fully carved decks, and was owned by an event planner.
The gondola was fairly old but appeared to be in decent condition.
There was one problem though:
somewhere along the way, the gondola had been cut into three pieces.
Yes, I know most of my readers might see it as a sin to cut a gondola up,
but the owner wanted to be able to carry the boat into places for events - using hallways and freight elevators.
Assuming you don't need to put a boat back in the water,
this is actually a clever way to make the boat more mobile.
When the event planner decided to sell the gondola though,
this three-part-boat wasn't an easy thing to sell.
After the vessel had been on e-bay for a while, I spoke with a number of my friends in the gondola business, and everyone seemed to agree that it wasn't a project they were ready to undertake.
Then along came Matthew Haynes - owner of La Gondola in Providence, Rhode Island. I didn't even know he'd bought the boat until he sent me a link to a news story.
I watched it and was blown away.
Here's the link:
Renovating a gondola, awaiting spring thaw.
Watch and enjoy!
The large 12-24 oar ceremonial boats made for venetian rowing associations usually come in 2 or 3 sections for easier highway transport. They probably require copious amounts of lint to seal the seams, however and don't spend a long time in the water.
Amazing! Joe and I were talking about this gondola, when I visited Boston. Had not heard anything about is, since it was listed on EBay.
Today the bigger gondola is the "disdotona" owned by Canottieri Bucintoro. She's rowed by eighteen oarmen and was built (like GSVVM quatordesona) in three pieces for easy transportation (not only on highways). That kind of boats are used only few times a year usually in parade, ceremonies and, of course, vogalonga.
In 2010 our quatordesona moved to Prague and was used during the Navalis 2010 events.
Never heard of a 24 oars gondola.
(sorry for the two-part comment)
I've known of many boats that were built with disassembly in mind - such as the 14 and 18 oared boats at the GSVVM and Bucintoro club. What makes this gondola unique though, is that she was not built with such a disassembly in mind. In fact if her builder was still alive, he'd probably be angry to learn that she'd been cut to pieces, and thrilled to hear she was back together again.
I've seen some amazing things come out of the Providence operation, so I'm not surprised that they are the ones responsible for this new achievement.
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