Ray Belles is a UNH Marine Docent and founder of the Family Boat-Building Workshops held each May at UNH’s Kingman Farm in Madbury. He will be speaking at the Dover Public Library about this popular program on Monday, March 25 at 7pm.
Over the course of the past12 years, participating families have constructed nearly 75 “Oyster River Cats”, 12-foot sailboats that are also excellent rowboats.
Ray will show slides, explain the application process, the dates and costs, the construction timeline, and the tools and supplies needed. The program is affordable because about 20 fellow docents who enjoy wood working volunteer hundreds of hours to build the kits that make the Cats’ assembly quick and sure.
Every family has a docent dedicated to work with them the entire three days of assembly. No special skills or tools are required, only interest and enthusiasm, and at least one child (12- 20 years old) who wants to work and learn. The docents regard the boat and the years of enjoyment it provides as a side benefit to this bonding family experience.
Participating families will experience the joy and pride of watching a pile of lumber grow into a beautiful and useful boat through their own efforts. In the process, they will develop woodworking and teamwork skills, learn about our marine heritage and the natural resources of our coastal and estuarine environment, and learn safe water practices.
This year’s UNH Boat-Building Workshop will be May 18-20 and applications are due by April 15. New this year is one day of sailing instruction in your boat in June at Mendums Pond in Barrington. The UNH Marine Docents number about 200 volunteers whose passion is the preservation of our marine environment, our marine heritage and marine recreation through education. Anyone with an interest in things marine is invited to join.
For more information, see http://www.seagrant.unh.edu/family-boat-building or call the Dover Public Library at 516-6050.