Geoffrey Ravenhill and kids in the Islesford Boatworks program with the boat they built in 2015, Sea Salad. PHOTO COURTESY OF SHAINA DECIRYAN

Boatworks sees growth



CRANBERRY ISLES — Islesford Boatworks (IB), the youth and community summer boatbuilding program founded in 2006 by members of the Ravenhill family, begins its 11th season Monday.

The group recently received a $6,000 grant from the Emily and William Muir Community Fund II through the Maine Community Foundation. The grant will allow IB to expand their boatbuilding program with school-aged children.

Islesford Boatworks participant Whit Chaplin with his winning boat in last year’s Pinewood Regatta. PHOTO COURTESY OF SHAINA DECIRYAN

Islesford Boatworks participant Whit Chaplin with his winning boat in last year’s Pinewood Regatta. PHOTO COURTESY OF SHAINA DECIRYAN

The grant is helping IB accommodate increased interest in the program, Executive Director Tony Archino said. “Last summer, we had so many kids we had to turn people away. We had as many people coming from off-island as on-island. That’s a big change and pretty fantastic, but our shop can only handle about 16 kids at a time.

“So this summer, we split our program further into three age groups. Hopefully that will help us alleviate that issue, and we can avoid turning anybody away and still keep the low numbers that we want.”

Each age group meets twice per week for half a day. A new intermediate class is aimed at children who already know the basics of shop safety and have some woodworking skills. IB coordinated with Little Cranberry Yacht Club, Archino said, to avoid time conflicts for kids participating in sailing and rowing classes there.

Beginning boatbuilders, the youngest group, is set to meet Wednesday and Friday mornings, 8:30 a.m. to noon. The new intermediate group meets Monday morning and Tuesday afternoon, 1-5 p.m. The most advanced youth will be in the shop Tuesday mornings and Friday afternoons. Shop time for adult volunteers is set for Monday and Wednesday evenings, 7-10 p.m.

The grant also has helped support staff positions and scholarships, Archino said. “This is the first year we’ve hired former students who are older teens as apprentices. It’s the first step towards having the program taught and run by the kids who went through it.”

Participants are welcome for the whole program, which begins June 27 and ends Aug. 5, he said, or just for a day.

A “Row-a-thon” fundraiser is set for July 16, and a launch party for this year’s boat will be Saturday, Aug. 6.

Visit islesfordboatworks.org.

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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