Ten students from Searsport District High School with nine community volunteers, and master boat-builder Greg Rossel have been working together since mid-January building two Shellback Dinghies for the class The Geometry of Boat Building. The dinghies, which the students will launch at Searsport Town Dock on Thursday, May 26 at noon, are small sail boats designed by E.B. White’s son Joel White. This is the sixth year for The Geometry of Boat Building, a collaboration between Searsport District High School and Penobscot Marine Museum held at the museum’s Hamilton Learning Center in Searsport.
As they build the boats, the students explore marine physics and engineering concepts, Newton’s laws of motion, traditional and modern wood working, chemical reactions, and navigation. The class is taught by Greg Rossel who has been teaching boat building at WoodenBoat School for over twenty years, but it would not be possible without the additional help of community volunteers at every class: Susan Orsato, Lora Mills and Rick Fitzsimmons of Belfast, Gerry Saunders of Unity, Bruce Brown of Brewer, Rob Giffin of East Orland, Fred Kircheis of Carmel, Dan Merrill of Stockton Springs, and Pete Jenkins from Prospect.
Wayne Hamilton, owner of Hamilton Marine, teaches a navigation class, and the students travel to Camden to work with sailmaker Grant Gambell to make sails for the dinghies. The class would not be possible without local businesses who donate time and materials: Gambell and Hunter Sailmakers, Hamilton Marine, Epifanes, Maine Coast Lumber, WoodenBoat Store, Chesapeake Light Craft, George Kirby Jr Paint Company.