Swift student-built bateaus take to Westport River

Posted 6/9/19

WESTPORT — WS Creamsicle and Liberty, a pair of sleek, speedy rowing bateaus, slipped into the water at the Head of Westport on Saturday, June 1, as spectators offered a round of applause to the …

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Swift student-built bateaus take to Westport River

Posted

WESTPORT — WS Creamsicle and Liberty, a pair of sleek, speedy rowing bateaus, slipped into the water at the Head of Westport on Saturday, June 1, as spectators offered a round of applause to the boats’ student builders.

The boats are the latest to be produced by the Boat Building in Westport crew, a partnership between Westport High School and rowing organization Dharma Voyage.

Students in the full semester course and their building instructor, Jon Aborn, began work in donated space at Titcomb Brothers Manufacturing on Forge Road in Westport in January on the two boats based on a modern version of a Pete Culler rowing bateau. This design is his high performance interpretation of a type of colonial boat once used on North America’s rivers.

“Weighing less than 70 pounds with a beam (width) of only three feet, these boats will row like a dream. They will slip through the water with minimal wake or disturbance and will be some of the quickest boats in the Dharma Voyage fleet,” said Marilyn Packard-Luther, Dharma Voyage Youth Boat Building coordinator.

Each boat measures 18 feet and is designed for a single rower. Construction, using Okoume marine plywood, began by building each hull upside down on station molds. The hulls were then strengthened by applying a layer of fiberglass cloth and two skim coats of epoxy.  

Bulkheads, decks, and gunwales were added to each craft after which — and much sanding — finishing coats of paint and varnish were applied.

Last year, high school students successfully built a rowing dory, now used by both students and adult community rowers on the Westport River. 

This boat building program is funded in part by grants from the Westport Education Foundation Fund, of the Community Foundation of SE MA, and the Rathmann Family Foundation, as well as by contributions from many local individuals and businesses.

Dharma Voyage, a non-profit organization located in Westport, offers education programs to increase physical health and skills, stimulate the mind, and connect to nature. The focus is on presenting programs that give our participants lifelong practices that offer increasing rewards as skills develop. On land it offers youth boatbuilding and adult Tai Chi. On the water are adult community rowing and racing, and youth coastal rowing.

Student builders were (Mondays) Alyssia Britto, Jordan Folcik, Logan Minnehan, Cody Richardson; (Tuesdays) Colin Bagley, Cameron Davignon, Willem LeBelle, Greighlin Vasconcellos; and (Wednesdays) Dylan Amorin, Zachary Lavoie, Henrique Melo and Cody Smeaton.

 

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