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Sunday, September 8 • 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Relevance of Wooden Boats: Community Education at the Jungle Shipyard

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We are beginning to operate our ''jungle shipyard'' as a venue for community outreach and education, offering both free and tuitioned courses. I would like to speak about how educational / training centres like this (such as yours in Port Townsend!) can have a positive impact on lives, especially in developing or at-risk places. A replicable model that can be established around the world, wooden boat-building skills training offers a viable career opportunity where there may have not been any before. Preserving traditional boat building techniques is a historic goal, however recognizing that this talent is as vital as ever (for developing or at-risk areas), and encouraging these training facilities to be established, is a way to create a sustainable future, both socially and environmentally. 

This March we will welcome a top boat building instructor from HMC College in Amsterdam to teach our small-boat building course. This course is designed for local fishermen in our area of Costa Rica to begin to shift away from building fibreglass boats, which, when built with minimal safety and / or health precautions, can be harmful to health and the environment. We are excited to welcome the Assistant Editor of WoodenBoat magazine to our shipyard for two weeks to participate and document this premier wooden boat building workshop. 

I would be happy to share about our experiences and outcomes of this wooden boat building course, and also touch upon the idea of how small to medium sized wooden boat building is as relevant as ever to developing countries, also referencing a thesis paper done by a naval architecture graduate who designed a 65ft sailing cargo schooner for our route in Central America (Pacific & Caribbean coasts). My experience sailing with the Carriacou Sloop fleet (from the film Vanaishing Sail), and working in the Caribbean and Central America would support this. Personal research on-the-ground in Ometepe, Nicaragua, would also be referenced: myself and my partner Lynx Guimond searched the large island for traditional wooden boats, which used to dot the coastline. After days of interviewing islanders and traveling around by motorbike, we found two of these 40ft’ sloops, but the old boat builders were now long gone. Could reviving the traditional craftsmanship of Ometepe be a way to provide jobs, and preserve history, before the last existing vessels disappear? 

A way to further enrich wooden boat building centres is through international exchanges and internships: to date, our young project thanks over 100 people from 25 different nations for their contributions. Our shipyard is an accredited educational workplace facility (as recognized by the government of the Netherlands), and we have welcomed official interns from Holland and the United States (Maine Maritime Academy and Worcester Polytechnic Institute), and look forward to having shipbuilding apprentices from the Canoa Foundation in Colombia.

avatar for Danielle Doggett

Danielle Doggett

Director of SAILCARGO INC. and founder of Topsail Rigging Ltd, Danielle began sailing onboard brigantine St. Lawrence II on Canada’s Great Lakes at age thirteen.  She worked onboard many vessels, including the impressionable Tres Hombres.  Danielle has a 200 Ton sail-endorsed... Read More →

Sunday September 8, 2019 12:00pm - 1:00pm PDT
Discovery Stage