Community Boat Shop

The morning smelled of sweat and linseed oil.
In this cool portion of the morning while others slept, took out the garbage to the curb, or commuted to city jobs, we learned the simple but universal law that craftsmen somehow know – that working with you hands is – pleasure. Especially work so mindless that everything you need to forget becomes absorbed by the work to be done.
This law’s implication is that in routing out the bad, in sanding or fixing carefully, in protecting the fragile or historic, in decisions made on each of a dozen or a hundred tasks, something small is set straight that affects the universe.

Vigor in the Worker by D. R. Phillips

Boat Building 

 Each year the Boat Building class builds a Community boat, through which they learn a variety of skills. An instructor from the NW School of Wooden Boatbuilding and an assortment of volunteer retired local craftsmen, shipwrights, and marine tradespeople guide students through various projects during the year.

At the end they get to take the result of their labors out on the bay for a row/sail.


This class engages students to work with their hands, giving them a sense of pride that they can produce something of value.




They learn basic woodworking (hand and power tools, woodshaping and joinery), rigging (ropework), and sailmaking (lofting and sewing), all the steps and pieces to make a functional boat. 100_9102

Interacting with the instructors and volunteers exposes these youths to people who love and are passionate about their craft.


100_5169This passion, combined with seeing and using what they have created by the end of class acquaints them with the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that comes from having a craft and working with their hands.  With that they will always be able to find value in their lives. 



Sail Making

 As part of the Boatbuilding class two students each week take a turn in a local sail loft where, guided by an experienced sailmaker they build a full suit of sails for the Community boat.


The students are acquianted with basic sail design, traditional lofting procedure, assembly of panels and patches, and traditional handwork. 


Each Longdory has a squares’l as part of its sailplan. These are each painted with an individual design developed and drawn by the students. A volunteer professional artist supervises this aspect of the 4



Just as art is a vital part of a healthy life, art is a strong component in our class. IMG_0138

We have volunteer artists form the community who guide those of our students with strong artisitc passion through a variety of artistic undertakings each year. DSCN9412

It may be small embellishments to our vessels and shop, or extensive, intricate sail murals.100_5766

DSCN9490In 2014 we even added instrument making!

See a Slideshow of our class

Puget Sound Voyaging

Ah! The good old times, Youth and the sea. Glamor and the sea. The good strong sea, the salt bitter sea, that could whisper to you and roar at you and knock the breath out of you.
By all that’s wonderful it is the sea I believe, the sea itself – or is it youth alone?
Who can tell? Wasn’t that the best of time when we were young at sea: young and had nothing, on the sea that gives nothing, except hard knocks and sometimes a chance to feel your strength. 

Joesph Conrad

In Class

Once a week the Puget Sound Voyagers meet. In this class High School students are introduced to and steeped in maritime culture.

10 voyaging (6)In fall and spring they go out in the rowing and sailing Longdories built by the Boatbuilding class. Through this experience teamwork and leadership are fostered. 

During the winter months maintenance of the boats is undertaken, students study for their Wa. State Boater’s Card, and fundraise for their spring Journey. 

Through the course of this class students learn maritime skills such as navigation, team rowing and boat manuevering, marine maintenance (sanding, painting, simple woodwork, rig and sail repair), rope and knot-work, ship-board safety and much more. 


During fair weather the Voyaging class takes place on the water in two Longdories. Students row and sail their way around Port Hadlock and Port Townsend Bay, taking turns in the leadership role of coxswain. In the course of these weekly voyages navigation, boat handling, and marlinespike seamanship are learned and practiced. 

a lunch of leftovers Sucia 161In late spring the Journey in embarked upon.

Wed dragonheart 79Our hardy Voyagers take one week to Journey aboard their Longdories or a local Tall Ship and practice their seamanship. Mon journey begins 18

This expedition is a celebration of the team these students have forged during the course of the school year. 

Sailor Scientist

“Let every individual and institution now think and act as a responsible trustee of Earth, seeking choices in ecology, economics and ethics that will provide a sustainable future, eliminate pollution, poverty and violence, awaken the wonder of life and foster peaceful progress in the human adventure.”
John McConnell, founder of International Earth Daydec meter


As Sailor Scientists we study environmental and marine related sciences, immersing our students in the environment they will be testing and learning about.

This program:


Gets public middle and/or high school students out of the classroom and engaged in the environment they are studying.
Introduces students to basic environmental data collection methods.
Places them in a carbon-neutral form of transportation/learning space, that will engender teamwork and make them more aware of the air and water they are moving through.
Inspires discussions on environmental issues, their solutions and what individuals can do daily to make a difference.

Both in the shore classroom and the boat classroom students are introduced to the core branches of science that relate to the marine environment.

Using our own YSI meter they will take water samples, and participate in local Citizen Science  projects.



Simply experiencing the ‘longdories’ is a lesson in co-operation and sustainability: teamwork is required for locomotion – both space and resources are limited; they are minature, short-lived, self-contained ecosystems.

 By inspiring, educating and motivating local youth, we hope their new-found knowledge and passion will spread to friends and family thereby bringing the whole community closer to its environment.