By Jim Barrick, Wine Country Chapter

I have to give some credit to the a couple of ACBS wine country members who started this crazy facebook page called Propeller Fellers some two years ago. It has taken off with 1,400 followers from Italy, Spain, Australia, Canada, Sweden  and Vietnam we just love wood boats, boating and what wood boaters out there are doing around the globe.

My story begins when my wife, Colleen, and I booked a trip to Italy. Venice was on our itinerary so I thought a wood boat ride in the Venice canals would be cool. I reached out to our Italian friends in the group asking if anyone in Venice would be up for giving me a ride in a woodie.  I couldn’t believe it when two days later a gentleman with whom I had enjoyed exchanging photos of wood boats over the years shared a story of a custom built water taxi by Italian boat builder Luigi Giacometti. This work of art is powered by a Toyota engine and has the finest Italian leather surrounded by beautiful mahogney. My contact said he would introduce me to Stefano Furlan, the owner of Luigi’s new creation.


Fast forward, Stefano messaged me and said he would love to take us for a ride! I was to contact him when we arrived in Venice. On our third day we went down to a Grand Canal waterfront cafe in front of the Rialto Hotel for a pizza. I messaged Stefano to tell him that we were in Venice and our location. He responded that we were to walk down four docks where he was parked. My response was “OMG!”

I walked over and met my new Italian friend, who luckily spoke very good English, and we climbed aboard one of the most amazing water taxis on the Grand Canal. I got  a tour on his vessel and was in awe the rest of the evening. Two days later we met again and he took Colleen and me on another private tour of the Grand Canal. It was amazing!

We agreed that if he makes it to the states we will return the favor with a tour of the Finger Lakes and the many wood boats that populate our beautiful waterways and the New York wine country.

Italy has so much to offer, including a beautiful countryside, but a highlight of the trip was the wood boat rides in the Grand Canal, new friendships and the wonderful Italian hospitality. It was a wood boat memory that Colleen and I will never forget!

1 Comment

  1. We had a PNW Chapter member who imported two of those water taxi’s to the US. I think his original plan was to market them here. I haven’t seen them in a very long time now?

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