Master boatbuilder John Brooks works on the hull of a skiff with students at George Stevens Academy last spring. A second grant from the Charles Wentz Carter Memorial Foundation will fund an additional year of the boatbuilding course. PHOTO COURTESY OF GEORGE STEVENS ACADEMY

Grant buoys GSA boatbuilding course



By Mark Messer

BLUE HILL — A boatbuilding class at George Stevens Academy will run for a second year thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Charles Wentz Carter Memorial Foundation.

In the class taught by master boatbuilder John Brooks of Brooks Boat Design, students will build a 14-foot Sundog Skiff with oars. Construction and fitting of the boat will take two semesters, and students can enroll in either or both terms.

In the first year of the program, also supported by a Carter grant and taught by Brooks, 12 students spent last spring building the boat’s hull. This fall, 10 students are completing the skiff, which will be used by GSA’s Ocean Studies and Marine Research classes. The second boat, to be built next year, will be sold to help pay for materials for future boatbuilding courses.

Not only is the course valuable to students considering a career in Maine’s boatbuilding and maintenance industry, but the math, engineering, drafting and materials knowledge that students learn in the class can be applied in other fields, such as aviation, the arts, wind energy, theater production and building construction.

Students also learn to focus on client needs and to negotiate; students in the current boatbuilding course and GSA’s Ocean Studies course have been meeting to discuss custom options and design decisions.