May and June were busy and joyful as Compass Project boat builders celebrated the launches of five student-built boats. Gorham’s Nez Perce, South Portland’s Deblois St. Dory and Bevin’s Skiff, Biddeford’s Gloucester Light Dory and The All Girls After School Crew’s Caravelle Skiff all took to the water.
In early May, the Nez Perce was the first boat of the season to splash down. The thick fog that hovered over Casco Bay cleared up just in time for the Gorham High School BRIDGES crew to arrive and take their skiff out for a ride. After each student spoke of what the boat building experience meant to them, teach Jeff Burnap fired up the engine borrowed from our friends at SailMaine, and took the builders buzzing around the bay.
At the inaugural launch for the Biddeford High School/Compass Project collaboration, students spoke with news crews and newspapers about their experience. As the “Jolly Green Giant” splashed down in the Saco River, Biddeford Schools Superintendent stepped up and bought the dory, showing his support for the students’ work. Biddeford School will return to Compass Project next year with middle and high school year-long boat building programs.
Just a day later, South Portland’s One Classroom Project and Alternative Learners crews launched the Clint Chase designed Deblois St. Dory at Bug Light Park in South Portland. The dory, dubbed the “HMS Wendy” in honor of Compass boat building instructor Wendy West, has found a home with John Huard of South Portland, whose grandson Sam Michaud was on the building crew.
The All Girls After School Boat Building Crew launched the Clint Chase designed Caravelle Skiff on a sunny Monday afternoon at East End Boat Launch in Portland. Many of her builders took their first boat ride in the skiff they helped build. Jeff Barrett of Old Orchard Beach commissioned the skiff, dubbed “Cara” and was on hand to celebrate its launch.
The grand finale was at Willard Beach in South Portland as the South Portland High School English Language Learners Crew launched the Bevin’s Skiff “Blue Stars.” It was a gloomy day, but spirits were high as the kids read poems and essays about their experience and took rides in the cove. “Blue Stars” is still looking for a home.
Congratulations to all of our crews! We are so proud of our Compass Project kids!