For the last six years I have been going to WoodenBoat School in Brooklin, Maine to learn all sorts of techniques for my obsessive boatbuilding habit.
Last year I completed my slippery slide down the slope from student to assistant to teacher, and taught a course in building the classic McKenzie River drift boat–or dory. We built two boats in six days, and it was really an amazing experience. We’re all set to do it again in July, and you really should think about coming on Down East.
If you’ve never been to WoodenBoat School, you’ve missed a lot. It is situated on an arm of the delta of the Penobscot River near the tiny town of Brooklin (where Major Powell died in 1902). The school is on an old estate, is surrounded by beautiful grounds and a boathouse–with a fleet of amazing classic rowboats and sailboats that we get to play with after-hours.
Food there is incredible. But the staff and faculty are really what makes the place–friendly, helpful, inclusive, and incredibly knowledgable. I could go on and on, and probably will come back and add more. I am totally addicted to the place.
Anyhow, we’ll be building Woodie Hindman’s classic design with cedar framing and plywood skin. It is the same process you would use to build a Grand Canyon dory, so if you’re thinking of building either one–or something similar–but are intimidated by the process, this is the course for you. We will begin on day one by lofting the boat from lines in Roger Fletcher’s Drift Boats and River Dories.
By day six she should be ready to float. In between you’ll have been a part of every step of building one of these. On the final day, anyone interested in owning the boat will throw their names in a hat–the winner gets the boat for the cost of materials. Last year we built two, but that may have been a bit too maniacal–probably just one this year.
Here are a couple shots of the blue boat’s winner, Jonathan, putting her through her steps. Amazing. This could be you!
Here is the link to the course on the WoodenBoat School page. Registration is now open, so ponder it and give a call if you’re interested. Most courses fill well before summer begins.
Helpful hint: It is a long way to go for a one-week course. It’s way more fun to do a couple in a row. I did three one year. What a blast.