Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - Paul Waelder is confident the boat he built in his backyard will float. He just isn't sure it will float properly.
For three years, Waelder has toiled over a labor of love that was inspired after a family outing years ago. He'd rented a boat in Skaneateles with a thumbs up from his wife and kids. Two years later, Paul shelled out more cash for a rental.
Before paying for another getaway on the water, Waelder decided to build his own barge canal boat replica...in his backyard on South Salina Street in Syracuse.
Waelder runs a sheet metal shop, which helped with designing the replica, but just welding and grinding the steel hull took two years. He spent an additional year finishing off the boat and calcuting the proper weight and balance.
The creation, dubbed "Eriecuse", runs with the diesel engine of a 1982 Volkswagon Rabbit, salvaged from a used car he bought for $250.
Paul will admit he is fascinated by everything about the Erie Canal system and its rich history. He took on a new nickname as the project progressed.
"They were referring to me as Noah for a little while because I was building what appeared to be an arc. There's no degrees to crazy so I just, you know, decided I was going to do it. But call me crazy, you might as well go all the way."
A crane and trailer are scheduled to arrive at Waelder's home on Monday morning to transport the barge boat replica to Cold Springs Marina for the next phase of the experiment...floating.
If it is too light or too heavy, he'll need to make some adjustments. Once the kinks are worked out, Waelder plans to take his brother to Manhatten next year for the maiden voyage.
After three years of watching her husband's personal project develop, Waelder's wife will stand beside his mother to break a bottle of Champagne Monday, as the replica is finally taken from her backyard and placed in the water.