Boat school builds Venetian batela for customer in California

Posted 5/5/15

The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding completed building and launched a traditional Venetian boat last week – a batela – the first boat of its kind built at the school.

Owner Mark …

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Boat school builds Venetian batela for customer in California

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The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding completed building and launched a traditional Venetian boat last week – a batela – the first boat of its kind built at the school.

Owner Mark Schooling of Gondola Paradise in Oxnard, California, helped conduct the sea trials along with the boat school students in Port Hadlock. Mark intends to use the boat to provide waterfront tours through Channel Islands Harbor.

The “batela a coa de gambaro” is a unique vessel that was developed in Venice, Italy. It is a flat-bottomed boat with a slight degree of rocker (meaning the bottom is curved from bow to stern) to make it easier to row and control. Rowed standing up, it is essentially a cargo carrier or ferry. This batela has a six-person capacity, but with the seats removed, it converts to a gondola with as many as four rowers.

The traditional small craft class of 2014, under the direction of Jeff Hammond, senior instructor, started the building process. The Class of 2015, under the direction of instructor Peter Bailey, completed the project. This was a unique commission because the boat was developed using design input provided by the owner in the form of sketches and commentary accompanied by video of Venetian batelae. Hammond drafted the boat using that data, and refined it based on additional commentary and guidance to meet the owner's direction. The batela is about 30 feet long and was built primarily of western red cedar over sawn sapele frames.

The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and is one of the premier accredited educational institutions of its kind. The ACCSC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency. The school's mission is to teach and preserve traditional and contemporary wooden boatbuilding skills while developing the individual as a craftsperson.

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