In celebration of the Connecticut River’s rich heritage, the Connecticut River Museum is offering the CRM 12, a slightly adapted Bevin’s Skiff kit that is produced in limited quantity by the Alexandria Seaport Foundation (ASF). The 12’ skiff is reflective of the traditional boats that were built locally in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. With great versatility, these skiffs were used for fishing, rowing and sailing on the River and in the tidal marshes and tributaries. Simple and beautiful, the museum selected the CRM 12 as a good beginner project to build with the help of knowledgeable instructors.
The museum will offer its first three-day Boat Building Workshop August 22 – 24. Participants can either do the workshop as individuals or as a group (up to four people). There is no previous boat building experience required to build one of these kits. However, organizers do expect that participants will have basic woodworking knowledge. By the end of the weekend, each individual or group should have a nearly completed boat that is ready for the water. As Ray Gaulke, museum volunteer and co-organizer stated, “It’s a marvelous way to learn basic boat building and have a product that you can take home.”
The CRM 12kit comes complete with everything needed to build the boat — high-quality marine plywood, fastenings, adhesives, plans and an easy-to-follow manual. Boat builders only need to bring a few basic woodworking tools. The museum commissioned Paul Kessinger, a local wooden boat builder from Guilford CT to build the first CRM 12, now on display at the museum. Kessinger said that “This is a perfect activity for adults or families. Best yet, you will get years of enjoyment out of rowing or sailing your skiff.”
The Alexandria Seaport Foundation operates from facilities based on the Potomac River waterfront in historic Alexandria, Virginia. Since 1993, ASF’s primary focus has been to use traditional boat building to help at-risk and disadvantaged youth improve their lives. By using these kits, the Connecticut River Museum is helping to support this valuable program. As museum director Christopher Dobbs noted, “Serving children and at-risk communities is central to the Connecticut River Museum’s mission.” He noted that, “the Museum already serves over 2,000 at-risk children from across Connecticut each year and boat building offers one more way that the Connecticut River Museum can teach science, technology, and math.”
Space is extremely limited for the boat building workshop. Participants must be at least 10 years old and all children must be accompanied by an adult. The deadline to register is Monday, July 14. The $1,500 program fee includes all the supplies needed to build the CRM12, oars, and instruction. By the end of the weekend, participants will have a completed boat, ready to be painted. The basic kit is designed to be rowed. However, a sailing conversion kit and sail is available for an additional cost. For more information, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.