Two Shellback dinghies built by Searsport High School students in the new Hamilton Learning Center at Penobscot Marine Museum will be launched on Wednesday, May 28, at noon at the Searsport Town Dock. The eight students began building the boats on January 28, working with master boat builder Greg Rossel and a crew of volunteers from the community. Wayne Hamilton, owner of Hamilton Marine, gave the students their last class on navigation, and now they are ready to launch the boats they have been building for the past four months.
This boatbuilding class would not have been possible without the devoted help of community volunteers, who either brought their expertise to the classroom to help the students or donated materials, or both. The Penobscot Marine Museum gratefully thanks Jerry Marancik, Dave Lawrence, Bruce Brown, Rob Griffin, Rich Fitzsimmons, Fred Kircheis, Fred Schmidt, Mary Ann McCrea, Pam Steele, Grant Gambell sailmaker, and Wayne and Loraine Hamilton who generously donated the Hamilton Learning Center to Penobscot Marine Museum.
In building this particular boat, which was deigned by E.B. White’s son Joel, the students learn traditional woodworking skills but also work with modern composites, learning plywood lamination methods. The eight high school students use mathematical equations to make stability tests, ratios for proper mixing of epoxy, applied statistics in making patterns for planks, physics and geometry in their navigation training. They study chemical reactions, galvanic action, exothermic reaction, and air foils when they make the sails. The students also learn the importance of team work and deadlines. Their teacher, master boatbuilder Greg Rossel, is an author and has been teaching boat building at WoodenBoat School for over twenty years.