IYRS graduation takes place Saturday

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Instead of collecting diplomas that prove hours of learning, students at the International Yacht Restoration School in Rhode Island on Saturday will launch and showcase the boats they spent the last year building and restoring.

This year, a fleet of classic wooden boats will stand side by side with examples of modern composite construction, reflecting the breadth of programming now established at the school’s campuses in Newport and Bristol, R.I.

The public is welcome to join Launch Day festivities and see the fine craftsmanship produced by students in the school’s programs in boatbuilding and restoration, marine systems and composites technology.

Graduation ceremonies begin at the IYRS Newport campus (449 Thames St.) at 10 a.m. inside Restoration Hall. After the inside portion of the ceremony, the crowd will migrate to the school docks to inspect the students’ work and witness the launching of the fleet.

Boatbuilding and restoration program students will launch a fleet of Beetle Cats, a small 12-foot catboat whose design dates from 1921; a 26-foot Maine-style open lobster boat originally built in 1941 by the Hodgdon Brothers of Maine; a Herreshoff Watch Hill 15; and a replica of the 11-foot lapstrake tender originally designed for the legendary S&S yawl Dorade.

Marine systems students will showcase the refit work they did this year on the 23-foot classic motor launch Renegade. This year’s composites technology class worked on the construction of two Moths, a diminutive single-handed hydrofoil that is one of the fastest sailboats on the planet.

Students will hear from featured graduation speaker Richard Downs-Honey of SP-High Modulus, the marine division of Gurit. SP-High Modulus is a leading manufacturer and supplier of composite materials to the global boatbuilding market.

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