— By Capt. Patrick Sciacca
— December 2003
|Defying convention, this boatbuilder followed The Voice in his head to create a one-of-a-kind vessel.|
Wooden boatbuilding is considered a lost art today; we live in a world of molds, plugs, fiberglass, and composites. But newer isn’t always better, as I learned when I met Noah, who has built a 300-cubit-long (450-foot) vessel dubbed Noah’s Ark (modest, isn’t he?). He told me Hull No. 1 was ready to test after the boat had one heck of a shakedown cruise. Although a slight grounding problem on Mount Ararat in the northeast corner of Turkey delayed the test until we could get Ark shipped to Miami’s Government Cut, Noah assured me she would prove seakindly and roomy.
Arriving at the Miami Beach Marina, I immediately noticed Ark standing out in a sea of lookalike white fiberglass hulls. Her profile was at once striking and disturbing—I’d never seen a vessel that resembled a clog. When I asked about her appearance later that day, Noah explained that the design “just kind of came to me.” Realizing that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I reserved judgment. I would concentrate my efforts on Ark’s performance, build, and highly touted layout.
I walked along the fingerslip next to her, and Noah called down to me from the helm. He noted that the hull was constructed of triple-planked gopher wood with cotton, Slickseam, and some really old clay pushed in between the planks to ensure the ocean would stay where it belongs, at least for 40 days. Cautiously optimistic about her seaworthiness, I inquired as to what he’d installed in the way of bilge pumps. Noah pointed to the standard beaver tail passerelle and motioned that I should step onboard for a closer look.
Once on the top deck (there are three decks to Ark, each measuring 10 cubits high, or about 15 feet), Noah directed me toward the pilothouse. From there we took a wicker spiral staircase (you don’t see that every day) to the bilge. On the way down, I observed what appeared to be numerous stalls. Curious as a cat, I inquired as to what Noah’s intentions were for them. He simply explained, “That’s where we keep the pets.”
“The pets?” I inquired. “How many do you have?”
Laughing, he replied, “All of them.”
“What do you mean all of them?” I countered.
Next page > Part 2: With the cats at full sprint, she made 4 mph at wide-open drift. > Page 1, 2, 3, 4
This article originally appeared in the November 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.