Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wooden Boat School

At the eastern end of Eggemoggin Reach, tucked into a little cove, is the site of the Wooden Boat School, run by the folks who publish Wooden Boat magazine.  We stopped to visit, picking up one of the guest moorings that the school maintains just off of their dock.  The facilities are beautiful, encompassing several buildings on a sixty-acre site that originally was a private estate.  The main house overlooks the bay, and houses the publishing offices and a library.  The library is open to the public, and has books on all aspects of boat building, fisheries, seafood cookbooks, cruising (including the Pardey cruising books, Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series, and world-wide cruising guides), boat handling, navigation, racing, and more; if it’s related to boats, it’s probably here.  We browsed for nearly an hour, but could have spent all day here.  We wandered through the apple orchard to the red-brick stable, where the hands-on classes are held.  We watched people sanding half-boat models, screwing planks onto a dory, shaping wooden oars, and lofting (building scale models of boat frames from blue prints to ensure that the full-size measurements will be accurate; see picture).  The school offers dozens of courses on seamanship (learning to sail and navigate on boats from daysailers to windjammers, kayaking, and yacht routine), boat building (you name it, they offer it), and related crafts (painting, photography, boat inspection, rigging, and diesel mechanics).  Students are housed in the beautiful old farmhouse adjacent to the stable.  We also visited the shop (for selling, not building), which had hundreds of titles on all things nautical, model-boat plans and completed model boats, knot crafts, boat-building tools, and, of course, hats and t-shirts with the Wooden Boat logo.  This place is well worth a visit by land or sea.

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