Building the Nez Perce 13

By Wendy West

In mid-December 2012, Compass Project received a phone call from wooden boat enthusiast John Rosselle of Orlando, Florida. To our delight, that first contact was the beginning of a fantastic collaboration. He writes,

“We’ve always wanted a fine wooden skiff. Our search led us to Maine where the best wood boats are made. The Compass Project was an intriguing prospect. Once we spoke to the staff and learned about the new girl’s group, we knew commissioning a boat from Compass was the right thing to do. We ordered the Nez Pierce 13’ with mahogany and teak bright work. Not every new boat comes with a story, but ours will.”

I have to thank John for commissioning this boat. His investment in this organization and its mission has created the opportunity for me to work alongside girls from all over Africa who have either sought refuge or immigrated here, as well as with girls who have spent their whole lives in Maine. The group is called “Cultural Immersion through Boat Building and Oar Making;” what it’s really about is bringing together 12 girls and five women from a variety of backgrounds and seeing them learn about each other, themselves, wood working, boat building, cooperation and teamwork. We are discovering commonalities and differences, developing strengths and finding room for growth, and practicing Math and English skills in ways that are not usually found in a conventional classroom.
John’s excitement about the project has been a source of inspiration. He has shared some of his own story and some of the things in his life that are important to him; he has sent the boat builders a personal note of thanks and vote of confidence; he has given a generous monetary donation to fund a launch celebration; he has shared his excitement about Compass Project with his local Antique and Classic Boat Society Club; he has specifically requested that we include a “Compass Project” brass plate installed on the hull in a visible location; he has corresponded with the local high school mentoring alliance director who helped crystallize the group; he looks forward to regular updates and photos; he has expressed an interest in purchasing a booklet of photos documenting the entire build; and, finally, he has also commissioned a pair of custom wooden oars.

As I said, I have to thank John for commissioning this boat.


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