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A Boat for the Making: Students Build a Longboat at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

Youth boatbuilders stand with their newly-built Redwing.
Addison County students and their teachers with Redwing,
the boat they built as part of the Champlain Longboats Program.
Photographer Paul O. Boisvert

Nick Patch had his own boat-building business in Charlotte, but gave it up several years ago to lead the Champlain Longboats Program at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. This is the third year that he and a group of students have spent the winter building a boat. "It's a real stretch for these kids to build these boats," Patch said. The point isn't to try to turn the students into professional boat builders. "The goal with these kids," Patch went on, "is to develop skills to be able to function in the workplace—to develop cooperative skills and to learn the meaning of work." Perfection is out of reach, but a certain level of workmanship was required if the boat, dubbed the Redwing, was going to float.

Read more about the Redwing's launch and the boat-building program in Ferrisburgh that builds confidence in high school students. The story is in the new Spring issue of Vermont Life, now available at bookstores, on newsstands or by calling (800) 284-3243. Or try our Free Issue Offer.

Adapted from an article by Chris Granstrom in the Spring 2002 issue of Vermont Life Magazine. Photograph © Paul O. Boisvert.