Learn how to build a wooden boat and more at Rocky Mountain Boat School | SkyHiNews.com

Learn how to build a wooden boat and more at Rocky Mountain Boat School

Imagine owning a Chris Craft and sailing out onto one of Grand County's bodies of water.
Courtesy photo |

Probably most of us who have seen a Chris Craft out on Grand Lake during the summer have had a desire to own such a classic beauty. Then the reality sets in and we think about all the work and expense it is to maintain such boats. However, as someone once said, “If God had meant us to have fiberglass boats, he would have given us fiberglass trees.”

It is true that most potential owners of a wooden boat fear they do not have the skills or expertise a wooden boat requires. That is where the Rocky Mountain Wooden Boat School (RMWBS) finds its purpose. The RMWBS was recently incorporated in Grand Lake and has received its 501(c)(3) non-profit designation from the IRS.

Modeled after wooden boat schools on the east and west coasts, the RMWBS is intended to serve three main user groups. Summer classes will be offered to a younger population and families who are interested in building a wooden canoe, kayak, stand-up paddleboard or a small dinghy or sailboat for their own recreation.

Professionals in the industry have pointed out that it is now difficult to find skilled craftsmen who can serve the wooden boat industry. In spite of the predominance of fiberglass and other composite hulls, wood is still a key component of high-end yachts and specialty boat markets. It has been said that someone who has built or restored a boat such as a Chris Craft will learn all the skills necessary to have a profession as a craftsman woodworker. There exist specific foundations that are promoting courses that encourage high schoolers and young adults in careers that specialize in the preservation, restoration and maintenance of wooden boats. The RMWBS will be approaching these grant funders to support such courses to high school students as an adjunct to their industrial arts programs.

Finally, the RMWBS is expected to appeal to that older person who wants to build his own boat or has the desire to restore one of these classics. The school will offer classroom and hands on shop classes in all of the tasks and areas necessary to get to a finished product. Experts in boat building and restoration from Colorado and across the country will be brought in to provide the needed instruction.

To date, four boats have been donated to the RMWBS. These include two Century Resorters (one a 17-foot runabout and a 19-foot utility), a small Sabot sailboat, and an old metal hulled rowboat that was a popular style on Grand Lake dating back to the 1910s. All of these boats will be part of the school’s teaching programs and once restored will be sold to provide funds to support the school.

Ken Fucik, a board director for the school, said that “Right now, our biggest need is to find shop space where we can begin the restoration work on our boats. We are looking at any kind of donation whether it is in services, money or materials to the school”. Funding to support the school will come from grants, sale of restored boats, private donations, and course registration fees.

Those interested in more information about the RMWBS can contact Ken Fucik at 970 305 7132.

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