While the sloop Clearwater is currently in drydock for major repairs, the Hudson River Maritime Museum (HRMM) is gearing up to celebrate its 35th anniversary and marking another milestone: the launch in March of the long-promised Riverport Wooden Boat School (RWBS). A little over a year ago, the Museum acquired the building just to its north at 86 Rondout Landing, which used to be Rosita’s Restaurant. While many will miss the ability to sip margaritas on Rosita’s waterfront patio while pretending to be someplace coastal and subtropical, the prospect in store for the structure – which HRMM has spent the past year gutting and renovating – is quite exciting.
Inspired in part by the widely admired Rocking the Boat program in Hunts Point in the Bronx, which teaches boatbuilding, carpentry and sailing skills to inner-city youth, the Riverport Wooden Boat School will be largely focused on providing similar training to teens from BOCES and Kingston High School. Under the supervision of shipwright Jim Kricker, Clearwater’s master carpenter (pictured above), young people will learn hands-on how to build a 27-foot pilot gig.
But sessions for adults are getting underway as well, beginning on March 9 with a six-session Woodcarving course, taught by Andy Willner on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. Classes in Boating Fundamentals, Vessel Safety and Navigation will follow in April and May. Tuition for the Woodcarving class costs $180, plus a $20 materials fee. You can preregister now through the Museum at www.hrmm.org.
Even sooner, local enviro-folkie faves Betty and the Baby Boomers will be performing a benefit concert for the HRMM and RWBS on Saturday, February 20 from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets cost $25 and can also be purchased on the HRMM website. For more info, call the Museum, located at 50 Rondout Landing in Kingston, at (845) 338-0071. For more on RWBS, visit www.riverportwoodenboatschool.org.