Monday, October 23, 2017

Five Days!

In five days a bunch of gondoliers will convene for 
the 6th Annual US Gondola Nationals in Huntington Harbour.

Everyone is planning on racing,
but we are also looking forward to the social aspects of the event.
There's nothing quite like being surrounded by people who share your passion and enthusiasm for voga-alla-Veneta.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Six Days!

In six days a bunch of gondoliers from different parts of the US 
will all wake up, put on their stripes, and take to the water 
on Venice-built boats to see who can row the fastest.

Gondolier "Boston Charlie" deftly navigating the slalom course 
at a previous competition in Providence, Rhode Island. 

Learn more about this year's Nationals at:

Saturday, October 21, 2017

One Week to Go!

Marcello and Alessandro of La Gondola in Providence, RI power their way towards the finish line at the 2014 US Gondola Nationals

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Racing Time is Near!

The US Gondola Nationals is a little over a week away.
Tim at Sunset Gondola has been working diligently to get things lined up.
He recently posted a map showing the routes of the various races.
Click it to enlarge.
Four years ago the waters of Huntington Harbour saw
the West Coast's very first gondola races. 
This year many of the routes are virtually the same.
photo by Richard Sonnen
Gondoliers from the East Coast and the Midwest will join many from
California for solo, tandem, and four-oar events.  Some will be time trials,
while others will be multi-boat head to head regatas.

Countless hours have been spent rowing in preparation for this.
Some gondoliers are preparing for specific races,
while others plan to row every event they can.
All of the gondoliers coming to Nationals this year share one thing:
We all can't wait to see each other,
row together,
and take part in such a terrific thing.

The US Gondola Nationals takes place on October 28th and 29th.
For more information, go to:

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Gondoliers Become Ganzers

photo by Mark Hunt

I received this from Joe Gibbons at Boston Gondolas today:

Retired gondoliers: "Ganzers"
Has anyone out there heard this term?
Maybe I have misspelled it but I once witnessed an older man hanging out at the basin behind Saint Marks Square, assisting tourist onto gondolas using this unusual stick that looked like a fancy cane. When I asked about him I was told he had rowed gondolas for many years and he was now retired. His entire life was spent on and around the boats that we all love. He opted in retirement to stay close to what he knew so well, by assisting people onto the departing gondolas, he was often rewarded with small tips but more important to him was his association and the camaraderie that he had with fellow gondoliers and probably a few good glasses of wine . They referred to him as the Ganzer!

Over 22 years ago, after visiting Venice with my wife, we became infatuated with everything GONDOLA. Its amazing how much history and information is out there. With a stroke of luck we found out that Tom Price, sent by The Watson Foundation, was in Venice striving to work with the remaining Squeros to protect, preserve and help educate the public about the values in preserving the traditions of gondolas with a rich history going back nearly 1000 years. Tom is a real special guy and we sincerely want to say a big thank you to him for exposing his knowledge, his contacts and his Venetian friendships to us.  Boston Gondolas would not exist without the help and Support we got from Tom.

With nearly 10,000 miles of rowing behind us and countless memories, Steve and I are about to become Ganzers. Our very last tours are now behind us. Sure it is bittersweet, the mind says keep rowing but the body tells us otherwise. No doubt this is a young man's game! It's time for me to spend some time with the grandchildren, maybe fish a little, and indulge into other aspects of my life.

A very special thank you goes out to our staff. Charlie and Tony have been loyal and dependable gondoliers, we could not have continued the past few years without them. Our Musicians are awesome, Pete Bufano, Tara, Justin, Tony, Abbey, Yaeko - you guys helped make Boston Gondolas the first class operation that it is. Thank You!!

There have been countless friends along the way, but there is only one guy that has never missed a beat from the very first day we opened. Steve Bruno, my business partner and good friend . YOU ARE THE BEST. Steve's wife Sue and my wife Camille have put up with our absence now for 17 years during gondola season, now those are good women!!  Thank you girls!

Goodbye to all that have been part of this incredible journey.

We will no doubt miss the daily adventures of rowing gondolas but we are now GANZERS.

Joe Gibbons and Steve Bruno

PS:  We are looking for someone with the passion and desire to own and operate Boston Gondolas here in Boston on The Charles River. If you have interest please email or Call Joe: or 617-460-1239

My friend Joe, his wife, and their friends and family built something beautiful - something great for the community, and they had a great run.
The gondola business in the US is better because of it.
I wish Joe and Steve the very best in their future as ganzers.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Hat Makes the Man


Sometimes you've got to take that hat off, 
turn it around, and get down to business!

Photo from US Gondola Nationals 2016 in Stillwater, Minnesota
Gondolier: Parker Harrison 

This is a reposting of

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Gary Under the Arch

Gondolier Gary Serbiniuk rowed masterfully today
for a music video shoot in Newport Harbor.
Here's a snap I took under the Lido Island bridge.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Great Seats!

photos by Nereo Zane
My friends at the GSVVM - a rowing club I'm a member of in Mestre - launched several of the club boats to row into the city for Regata Storica.
Some years back I was fortunate enough to make it to Venezia for this annual event, and I will truly never forget it.  The GSVVM has a large fleet of rowing craft, ranging from tiny mascarete to a huge quattordesona. 
If you can get aboard one, and get into the city early enough, you can tie up along the Grand Canal and enjoy the parade and races from the very best location.
Nereo Zane was aboard a caorlina, with a group of club members on several boats.
These are photos he sent me from the day.
Some of the club members watching the activity on the water.

Club spirit!

The best seats in the house.

Our neighboring club in Mestre wears green and white.

This is one of those "everyone's gonna be out there" days.
All the rowing clubs dress up and row their finest boats.
Of course, you can expect to see some of the biggest multi-oared vessels gliding by.
I like to call these boats the "big desonas".

The Associazione Settemari out of Cannaregio proudly showing off their ten-oared "Diesona"

One the most impressive club boats is the 18 oar disdotona - the pride of the club Canottieri Francesco Querini in Castello.

My personal favorite is "Mestrina" - a quattordesona (14 rowers),
representing the GSVVM in Mestre.

These boats are so long that you can't always capture one from tip to tip with your camera.

Along with rowing club boats, there are period vessels,

with folks in period costume.

It's always fun to see someone you know on one of these boats.

After all of the processions, the canalazzo is cleared, and the races begin.
I could fill up an entire blog with all of the photos of all of the boats in all of the races, but in the interest of brevity, here are just a few.

In the six-man caorlina race, there are 54 rowers spread out over the nine individual boats.  Just about everyone knows someone on a boat - so there's always lots of shouting from the spectators.

The GSVVM crowd were all cheering for the white boat.

The women's race takes place on light, fast mascarete.
I believe there were club members on both the green and the orange boat.

Actually I know the woman in front on the orange mascareta.

Heading towards the finish line.

As fast as possible.

Big thanks to Nereo Zane for these great images, and for making us feel like we were right there with the GSVVM club members, sitting on the rails of those club boats.

Maybe next year some of us will be.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Breakdown of Suppliers

photo by Oliver Johnson
Hat by Giuliana Longo
Stripes and white marinera by Emilio Ceccato
Oar by Saverio Pastor
Gondola by Thom Price and Daniele Bonaldo
Sunset by God (who loves us and wants us
to be happy - see photo above for proof)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

GCON 4 - Dialing It In

As the US Gondola Nationals approaches, new teams are formed and established teams regroup - all in the interest of bringing their very best to the competition.
Last year the four-man team from The Gondola Company of Newport made a big statement with a silver-medal finish, and a time only thirty seconds behind the fastest team.
This year they plan to upset things for the first-place team
(and I must admit that I'm a little nervous...because the first-place team is MY team!)
This evening, as the sun set over Newport, they had another scheduled workout row, complete with strategy discussions and aggressive training.
It's all in the name of working out the kinks, dialing things in, and clocking the very best time possible in the event - an event that's now about forty days away.
Talking strategy.
Ever the surfer, Parker prefers the barefoot approach.
Is it just me, or would this make a great album cover for a band?

Trademark backwards baseball cap.
Shoving off...
...and rowing off into the sunset.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Nolite Oblivisci

do not forget.

For some it may have softened,
but for us, the memory of September 11th will never fade.

We will never forget.

photo by Nereo Zane

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Saturday Night on the Docks

Saturday night on the docks.
It was a beautiful September evening.
The winds were just strong enough to keep guys on their toes,
just refreshing enough for passengers to enjoy them.

I caught guys as they came and went,
snapping the occasional image when I could.

Gary takes off.

Mike O. approaches the dock.

What a sunset!
And then there was Simon's departure:

There are times when things are less-than-perfect,
and we think of times that were better.
This was one of those times.