That fall, Rebecca and Kimberly, now 14 and 12, began work on a Prospector Ranger 15 canoe kit from Bear Mountain Boats. Their father, Winston, helped with the project and their mother, Jennifer, gave the three free time for the by doing everyone’s household chores and feeding the troops. Canoecraft, the how-to book by Bear Mountain designer Ted Moores, was their guide through the build. “Every year,” says Winston, “we do big Lego sets and they just love going through the instruction books and following the guidelines, so they both liked that there was a book we could follow with really detailed instructions.”
Detlef Arthur grew up in southern Austria and while he did a lot of boating on lakes and rivers, Italy’s coast was not far away and he occasionally traveled with his canoe to Venice, paddling the lagoons and canals the city is known for. The Venetian style of rowing made a lasting impression on him. The gondolas that frequent the canals of the island city are well known and perhaps the most elaborate of the rowed boats, but there is a wide range of simpler boats. To negotiate the narrow canals, the gondolas are rowed with a single oar to take up less room, but in the wide-open lagoons, workboats and racing boats are rowed with oars sticking out on either side, with one person per oar, or with a rower with two oars.
Noah purchased plans from The WoodenBoat Store for Marc Barto’s 16′ adaptation of the 1888 New Jersey melonseed gunning skiff documented in Howard Chapelle’s American Small Sailing Craft. Chapelle notes that the melonseeds built for hunting were carvel-planked, believing that lapstrake hulls were too noisy for approaching skittish waterfowl. Barto’s glued-lap plywood construction suited Noah just fine. He remembered all too well the annual summer chore of having to caulk, soak, and bail the family’s old carvel boats before they were ready for the sailing season. His father ultimately switched to a 20’ leak-free, cold-molded mahogany daysailer. It was in that leak-free boat, THE GOOD TERN, that Noah was infused with an affection for the beauty of varnish and the lapping of waves against a wooden hull, a soothing sound when the water isn’t seeping into it.