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— Boat Building —
Boat Building in Westport: A School - Community Partnership
Westport High School, in partnership with Dharma Voyage is offering Boat Building in Westport 2018 as a full-semester course beginning in late January. Last year, high school students successfully built a rowing dory, a boat which is used by both students and adult community rowers right here on the Westport River. This year we will again build a 25' Chamberlain rowing dory, which was historically used for hunting and fishing.
Dan Harrington, a WCS biology and environmental studies teacher, will take the lead in the classroom. During the winter months, students will begin exploring topics such as whaling, history of boat building in Westport, knot tying, model building, river science, boat design, and fishing. Related literature, such as Moby Dick and Boys in the Boat will enrich our discussions. Local experts from the community will serve as guest teachers throughout the course sharing their knowledge with the class. Guests will include the Harbor Master, a tugboat captain, scientists, boat designers, historians and boat model makers. Additionally, several field trips are planned, including a visit to the New Bedford Whaling Museum and the Herreshoff Museum in Bristol, RI.
In March, students will begin working in small groups at the boat shop at Titcomb Brothers Manufacturing on Forge Road. Dharma Voyage Executive Director Ben Booth and Jon Aborn, both accomplished boat builders, will lead this part of the course. Students will build a rowing dory from plans to a completed boat! Traditional wooden boat building methods will be taught as well as the modern construction methods of applying epoxy resin for joining seams and adding fiberglass cloth for strength. It will be an exciting process of turning a pile of unshaped plywood and lumber into a classic boat capable of being rowed from the river to the coast. A public town launch is being planned for early June. All student participants will be invited aboard this craft of their own making at the end of the course to give it a test row.