Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo was the featured speaker as 40 new IYRS School of boatbuilding and restoration graduates launched 11 wooden boats into Newport Harbor.
Hundreds of people gathered May 30 to watch Launch Day, which has become a community celebration. Raimondo, a Democrat, has focused on the manufacturing industry in Rhode Island.
“You don’t need a four-year college degree to contribute hugely to this economy and to this state, absolutely not,” Raimondo said in a statement. “What you need is what you have — skills; passion; know-how; commitment; and a willingness to try, and to fail, and a courage to be willing to try and to succeed.”
Most of the boats the students launched are restorations, including a Nat Herreshoff 12-1/2 and a Sydney Herreshoff Fisher’s Island 23. A handful of Beetle Cats also were launched. Fifteen boatbuilding and restoration students graduated from the two-year program at the 2015 event; in the 2014-15 academic year the IYRS graduated 75 students in its three programs.