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Magazine offers boating skills program to students

WoodenBoat Magazine is organizing a program to stimulate interest in boatbuilding and rowing skills among Down East Maine high school students.

"This is our pilot program: to involve students from three area high schools to build and then row their very own boats," publisher Carl Cramer said in a statement. "We are honored to announce that shop and marine program students from Deer Isle-Stonington High School (Deer Isle), George Stevens Academy (Blue Hill), and Sumner High School (East Sullivan) will be joining in this first effort.

"I fully expect the parameters of this program to be adopted on a nationwide basis by high schools and communities alike," he added. "We are calling the program WoodenBoat BARC (Boatbuilding & Rowing Challenge)."

The boat chosen for the program is the 22-foot St. Ayles Skiff. Designed by Iain Oughtred and engineered by Jordan Boats, the boat has gained acceptance throughout Scotland, where people have begun to build them to bring communities together in the building and rowing process.

Each boat has a crew of five.

"The Deer Isle-Stonington High School marine program students will begin building their boat next week, once the first kit has been cut," Cramer said. "The goal is to get all three boats launched and competing against each other in early June 2011."

WoodenBoat has donated one boat kit to each of the programs. Hewes & Co., which produces the kits, is donating one to the program at George Stevens Academy.

Kits from Hewes are available to anyone in North America.

Arundel, Maine-based The Landing School is offering support for the program as well. A representative will visit each group of Maine high school students to offer guidance to the aspiring boatbuilders.

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