So with 60 days left to go, besides little time, there were other problems. Like how do you launch it? Is it going to float? What about all that glass, will it work?
”Out of all the unknowns the glass was the biggest concern for us” says Roger Emery. He recalls ” Early on Dick used the codename “project Cinderella” to refer to the barge, as in Cinderellas Castle. I remember he would come to me and say , I’ve got good news and bad news. That was a the way all our conversations started out. In this particular case though he said, good news is we can get the glass, bad news is we don’t have anyone who can install it.”
The problem was that this type of glass and structure had only been installed on land based buildings. No one knew how it would work on a structure that moves. And to make matters worse there was a special technique to install it that only a few people knew how to do.
So for a couple days we went back and forth on what we could do. It was starting to look like Cinderellas castle wouldn’t get glass. But if there is one thing the guys at Lazzara are its talented and determined. You cant have Cinderellas castle without glass. So what did they do “we held an on the job training seminar as we installed the glass. The bottom line is this thing got done because of the super human efforts of many people. All of them doing tasks that they don’t normally do. ” Over the course of 60 days it went from an ordinary barge to extraordinary floating Showcase.
While the barge is made of fiberglass, the upper level is made of steel and glass. The roof is fiberglass as are the four large burgundy uprights and the two large white boomerang pieces on the front and back. The combination of materials, design, technology and craftsmanship create a symphony of art.
“When Dick came to me the idea I thought he was crazy. With 48 hours left to go before it sailed away I thought I was going crazy. Many of the guys including myself had gotten little to no sleep and we were working tirelessly through the night to get it done for the journey from Tampa to Ft. Lauderdale. ” says Roger.
In the end the best sight of all was seeing that thing leave the yard on its maiden voyage and the feeling that the hard part was over. Little did we know the hard part had a sequel.
We hired a tug boat to push the barge down the west coast of FL and through Lake Okeechobee. Our guess was it would take between 35 – 40 hours. However not 5 hours into the trip we had run aground. (to be continued)