Row, Row, Row Your Boat: Students in new course build boats

NautFeat

By: Jessica N.

A unique class has been added to Andrews Academy this year: Nautical Arts. The class is taught by Mr. VanDenburgh and gives students the option of earning both English and Applied arts credit. Brought to life by Mr. VanDenburgh, the class combines the two things he enjoys most: teaching and sailing.

Students in Nautical Arts will be building four 11’2’’ Shellback Dinghy sailboats over the course of the semester. After the boats are completed, the class plans to auction the boats and donate the profits to a local charity.

“I want the class to be fun, as the students to work together, but I also want them to learn how to give back to the community,” says VanDenburgh. He hopes that the students will learn teamwork and time management as well as appreciation for the nautical arts.

Designed by Joel White, the Shellback Dinghy is constructed of plywood and fiberglass.

Designed by Joel White, the Shellback Dinghy is constructed of plywood and fiberglass.

Each group, composed of 4-5 students, has created a blog to document the build process and their experiences. Jacob Mondak, a student in the class, says “I am expecting not only to gain more knowledge about boats but more practical knowledge such as following a plan, using common tools, and problem solving. The thing that interests me most about this class is that I absolutely love making things with my hands, especially woodworking.”

Each boat costs $1,500 to build and even with minimal lab fees VanDenburgh has had to solicit donations. Some challenges facing the class are lack of time, space, and tools available. However, with students working hard and diligently, the class will be a success.

Students are working this week to finish construction of the ladder frames, the backbone on which the boats are built.

Josiah Everett, Katalina Wade, Helen Johnston, and Tony Seok construct the ladder frame - i.e., the backbone of the dinghy.

Josiah Everett, Katalina Wade, Helen Johnston, and Tony Seok construct the ladder frame – i.e., the backbone of the dinghy.

“I’ve been very impressed with their focus and determination,” VanDenburgh said. “Even though we’ve lost a few days due to weather and holidays, I think they have the drive to get these boats done well and on time.”

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