— By Capt. Patrick Sciacca
— December 2003
|Part 2: With the cats at full sprint, she made 4 mph at wide-open drift.|
“Well, the same Guy who commissioned the boat also asked if I could watch His pets for a while. It turns out He has two of every animal on the planet. After having them onboard for a while, the missus and me liked them so much the Guy told us we could keep ’em. They make ideal cruising companions, especially when we get hungry,” he adds jokingly, noting that the standard icebox can hold enough grain for “about a month and a half.”
Finally getting down to the bilge, I saw several inches of water. Noah said, “This is nothing; the ducks actually love it. It’s like a private pond.” There were ducks all right—mallards, Peking, teals, plus swans and geese, all swimming together. He added that in an emergency he could bring his pair of pachyderms here and they’d inhale the water right up their snouts and shoot it out the Euro-style elliptical portholes to port and starboard. “It works fine,” Noah assured me. “A bit Fred Flintstone,” I thought. But you can’t knock success, either.
Convinced she’d float, I wanted to see how this craft would do underway, so we wound our way back up through the decks. Noah had to stop briefly on the main deck so I could see the master stateroom, which features a king-size berth with hay mattress and an en suite head with wooden tub and matching bucket for filling it or to use as an MSD. For hot water, you need only leave the bucket in the sun for a while.
Once at the helm, Noah deftly maneuvered Noah’s Ark out of the slip, with considerable help from the wind and current. Power is via twin cats—literally—on treadmills turning two four-bladed hand-carved props. Unfortunately, the ferocious-looking felines don’t produce great low-end torque. All I can say is, thank you outgoing tide. Making a leisurely 1 knot, Ark worked her way through Government Cut as other boaters looked on. “They’re jealous,” Noah told me. “She’s just such the looker.” I held my tongue.
Once off the coast, I put Ark through her paces. With the cats at full sprint, she made 4 mph at wide-open drift, according to a wet finger I held into the wind. Not really the numbers we were hoping for, but it was the summer doldrums. Noticing the disappointment in Noah’s face, I said, “Let’s try it again.” Bam! It was like magic. With a stiff breeze that apparently came out of nowhere (after Noah mumbled something while looking skyward), Ark made a wake-making 4.2 mph, a newly wetted finger confirmed (we always use a freshly wetted finger to measure speed). The smile on Noah’s face was one of pure satisfaction. He handed me the gopher-wood wheel, and I found the mechanical steering (a system of intertwined vines and bamboo linkage) a bit slow to respond. Noah said, “Just roll with it, baby.” So I did. Riding with the Gulf Stream for a while, Ark handled like a champ. Now, 450 feet of boat is a little big for my taste, but just leave a few hundred pets at home, and you can order your Ark a bit smaller.
As the tide turned, Noah took the wheel, and we drifted back to the marina. Leaving the dock as it began to rain really hard, I had to admit I was impressed. Yet Ark is not for everyone. At a base price of 60,000 shekels plus one goat and a squirrel monkey (add a platypus for the optional teak decks), she’s a bit pricey. But if foul-weather cruising at slow speeds and 40 days-and-nights range is your bag, then pack up the pets and come onboard, ’cause there’s always room on Noah’s Ark.
Genesis B.C. Boatworks Phone: (800) OK Yahweh. www.genesisbcboatworks.com.
This article originally appeared in the November 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.