Christopher Cunningham

I once saw LA BELLE OIE sailing away from the Puget Sound launch ramp as I was on my way back, and as always, I altered course to intercept her.

The first time I saw this lovely melonseed skiff was while I was kayaking on Seattle’s Lake Union. It was a couple of hundred yards away, and at that distance, there’s not often much to distinguish one small boat from another, but I was struck by its plucky low profile, understated sheer, and classic gaff rig. I paddled well out of my way to get a closer look and met her builder, Noah Seixas.Since that first meeting, I’ve seen Noah sailing his melonseed many times—convinced now that there is no boat on the lake that’s prettier—and I always chase him down.

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