We are now enrolling for our Fall YouthBoat Program. YouthBoat is an after-school program for students ages 11-18 that is designed to empower youth, build character, and foster teamwork through the traditional craft of wooden boatbuilding and on-the-water activities. Students from diverse backgrounds put STEM skills to work as they learn alongside skilled shipwrights and craftspeople throughout the boat building process. Students will start the course by building basic skills as they craft their own kayak paddle. Participants will cut, shape, and finish their piece with varnish. Following this introductory project they begin working collectively to construct a fully functional wooden skiff boat. Class takes place Tuesdays and Thursdays October 4- December 15 from 3:30PM-5:30PM
Thanks to community partnerships, a wonderful event unfolded at the Hudson River Maritime Museum (HRMM) in Kingston, New York and on the Hudson River on Saturday, August 13, 2022.
Fourteen middle school age girls from underserved communities that usually do not have access to waterfront activities and sailing, along with eight adult women mentors, spent a day at the Rondout Creek waterfront and sailing on the Hudson River as part of the National AdventureSail Program, organized by the National Women’s Sailing Association.
Participants experienced the world of sailing for the first time: the beauty of the Hudson River, the tranquility and peace of sailing, the focus and skill required by sailing well, the ability to stay calm despite challenges, the teamwork required and the connections built as part of a crew.
Girls and mentors met their skippers and crew members, everyone suited up with life jackets, boarded their boats, and eight sailboats headed out the Rondout Creek to the Hudson River. The day was spectacularly beautiful with fluffy clouds, sun and blue skies, warm temperatures that were not too hot, and a brisk 12-15 knot breeze over sparkling water.
Many of the boats opted to sail under mainsail alone (in contrast to the usual jib and mainsail configuration) to ensure the new sailors were comfortable. Everyone enjoyed a beautiful sail on the River, South of the Kingston/Rhinecliff Bridge and North of the Esopus Meadows Lighthouse, until 1:00 pm, when they returned to the dock at HRMM.
It took a village to create this memorable event: The National Women’s Sailing Association provided guidance and information as well as donating backpacks for the girls.
MentorMe of Ulster County identified interested girls and mentors, explained to parents (many of whom do not speak English) what the day would entail, got permission from parents and transported the girls to the waterfront.
The Hudson River Maritime Museum provided the venue, and The Sailing School at the HRMM provided three sailboats along with skilled, certified sailing instructors who volunteered as skippers, and Kingston Sailing Club members provided five sailboats with volunteer skilled skippers and crew. Kingston Sailing Club members also donated breakfast foods, water bottles for each girl, and an ice cream cake, the Bruderhof Community donated lunch for everyone, Mother Earth Storehouse donated snacks for the girls, Adams Fairacre Farms donated a beautiful fruit tray for breakfast, and the National Women’s Sailing Association provided string backpacks for all the girls.
We are thrilled to be hosting the 2022 Kingston Boat Building Challenge again this year! As part of the Hudson River Maritime Museum’s semi-annual Celebration of Woodworking Festival, woodworking adult and youth teams will compete to build rowing boats in a single afternoon. This event takes place October 1st, 2022, on the Kingston waterfront. And we want YOU to join us in the competition! In 2017, the Hudson River Maritime Museum hosted its first annual National Boatbuilding Challenge, where teams of two compete to build a boat from scratch in just four hours, and then compete in a rowing race on the Rondout with cash prizes for the team with the best score in all three categories: speed, quality, and rowing race. HRMM's event is a qualifying challenge, one of just a few competitions around the country. Held only on Saturday, October 1, this thrilling competition draws national and local competitors alike and the 4:00 PM rowing race is the highlight of Saturday's events.
Competitors are invited and encourage to watch professional builders build the entire boat from start to finish to observe tips and tricks on our pre-competition demonstration day Saturday, September 3rd. Entry Fee is $250; each team will receive which $500 worth of material from HRMM. Teams must provide their own tools.
You can see example of past boat builders challenges here: https://youtu.be/uDqQWWeSizU
Judge's Meeting - 9:30 AM
Builder's Meeting - 10:00 AM
Challenge Begins - 11:00 AM
Challenge Ends - 3:00 PM
Judging of Boats for Quality - 3:15 PM
Rowing Relay Race - 4:00 PM
Awards Ceremony - 5:00 PM
The Sailing School at the Hudson River Maritime Museum has been blessed with a generous number of boat donations which have allowed us to run our programs for children and adults.
We have many classes for beginners to more experienced sailors on a variety of types of sailboats. Take a look at the photos below - perhaps you will inspired to take a sailing class and try out some of our boats.
Local sailors from the Sailing School at the Hudson River Maritime Museum and the Kingston Sailing Club (www.kingstonsailingclub.org) hope to see you on the water soon!
We are more than excited to host local artist Anna Landewe to teach students how to do scrimshaw and create their own beautifully customized pocket knife!
Date: Saturday, August 13, 10AM-3PM
Tuition: General Public: $128, Individual Member: $115, Household Member: $109
Material Fee: $40
The art of scrimshaw is considered to be the only truly American Folk Art. The term “scrimshaw” came into usage in the early American whalers’ logbooks in the later 1700s and early 1800s. It was coined to describe the art of carving on ivory or bone that the whalemen practiced to pass the time between whale sightings.
These whaling expeditions sometimes lasted 3 or 4 years, with the largest downtime being in between whale hunts. These hunts’ primary goal was the oil produced by rendering down the whale’s blubber and the ambergris (a black tarry substance used in the production of perfume).
A by-product of the hunt was the whale’s bones and teeth, which were given to the sailors to carve. This served the dual purpose of keeping them out of trouble on the voyage and providing them with a saleable product to increase their earnings at the end of the voyage.
The men would take the raw sperm whale teeth, smooth down the rough outer ridges with knives and use shark skin as natural sandpaper to smooth it further. The final stop before starting to scrim was to polish the tooth with chamois.
The earliest scrimshanders sometimes used a crude version of the stipple method, which pricks small holes into the ivory and fills them with pigment. A more common method was using their sailors’ needles to carve lines into the teeth, which they then filled with pigment. Different pigments were used according to what was available. For black, they used lamp black, a combination of carbon and whale oil. Tea, vinegar, berries, and octopus dye were also used to provide a change of color.
Subject matter varies from tales of a whale hunt gone wrong to portraits of their wives and sweethearts. The bone and ivory were made into various practical frivolous objects, including corset stays, hat boxes, rolling pins, swifts, cooking utensils, cribbage boards, and many other things their imaginations could come up with.
While the first scrimshaw was mostly done on whalebone and teeth, other ivories were substituted as available. Elephant, hippo, and walrus ivories were not uncommon Pacific dreamscapes. Today we use a variety of ivories, woolly mammoth, fossil walrus, hippo, antique piano keys and ivory cue balls, pre-embargo elephant ivory, antler bone, buffalo horn, and other ivory substitutes. These are used to create intricate pieces of jewelry, pocket knives, and display pieces.
Image: young sailors learning on board a Capri 14.5 centerboard sailboat with friends,
as part of The Sailing School at the Hudson River Maritime Museum.
So you've gone sailing with a friend a couple of times, and you've decided, "I love this!" Now, you're wondering what you can do to learn more about sailing.
The first step is to take a class - or better yet, several classes, to really get the wind in your sails and be as safe as possible. And what better place to learn than on the beautiful Hudson River? The Sailing School at the Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston, NY, is certified by US Sailing, and offers on-the-water classes for both youth and adults. Signing up for classes is easy on our website.
In addition to taking on-the-water classes, you might consider reading a few books and online articles, even take additional online classes. Check out resources such as US Sailing, Practical Sailor, and Scuttlebutt.
After you have taken some lessons, you will discover that there is so much more to know, and we sailors learn every time we get out on the water. So the next step is definitely the best one: get out on the water as often as possible!
If you are fortunate, you may be able to sail with friends. But if you haven't made any boat-owning friends yet (we could all use more of those!), why not check out a local sailing club or yacht club? The Kingston Sailing Club welcomes new members to join, and you don't even have to own a boat! The club offers community sailing opportunities at an affordable price for associate members, so until you make friends or acquire your own boat, see what the Kingston Sailing Club has to offer new sailors!
(You might even want to try out racing! The Kingston Sailing Club offers a Spring Racing Series and a Fall Racing Series every season, and it sponsors two regattas as well.)
Image: two sailboats racing in May, 2022, as part of Kingston Sailing Club's Spring Racing Series
However you decide to build your sailing skills, just get out on the water and do it! You will be glad you did!
For sailors, knowing your knots is a must!
Take the bowline, for example. It's most often used to fasten a mooring line to the buoy, or to tie a boat to a post or ring. It can also be used to attach one boat to another boat for the purposes of towing.
The bowline is a very secure knot - if there is a load on the line. If there is no consistent load, then another knot should be selected because the bowline can open up. The bowline can be easily undone if there is no load pulling on it, which is can be a good thing, To undo the knot, we simply release the load on the knot and bend back the loop of the bowline. And sometimes when sailing, you've got to be quick! All the more reason to know your knots!
Many of us sailors learned to tie a bowline by leading the "rabbit" through the hole, around the "tree" and back down the "hole"! But if you have not yet mastered tying this helpful knot, you can go to Animated Knots (https://www.animatedknots.com/bowline-knot) and watch a super easy-to-follow animated video which demonstrates how to tie a bowline.
According to Animated Knots, "The name Bowline derives from “bow line“. The Bow Line Knot secured the line holding the weather leech of a square sail forward to prevent it being taken aback." You can learn to tie dozens of useful knots at Animated Knots (https://www.animatedknots.com/)
Photo of 420 Centerboard Boat with HRMM Sailing School Sailing Instructors wearing various styles of life jackets during their Shakedown Sail, May 2022
Sailing is so much fun! But sometimes dangerous events can unfold out on the water, so if we're smart, we'll educate ourselves and learn the basics of safety to prevent most accidents, and we'll be prepared for any problems that do arise. Here are some safety tips to keep your sailing experiences fun.
Learn as much as you can before going out boating or sailing. Boat US offers a free online boaters' safety course. You can learn the basics here for free: www.boatus.org/newyork.
Take sailing classes through the Sailing School at the Hudson River Maritime Museum or through other schools.. A variety of classes are available for youth and adults. https://www.hrmm.org/sailing-school.html.
Learn to Swim
If a boat unexpectedly capsizes, the crew should always stay with the boat. Boats are designed to float, even if overturned, and the crew is always safer if they stay connected to the boat.
However, sailors should be able to tread water comfortably and be able to comfortably swim 50 yards because in the event of an unexpected capsize, the crew needs to tread water and swim around the boat, tending to sails and righting the boat. Sailors need to be good basic swimmers to be comfortable with these tasks.
Also, if a crew member falls overboard while their boat is sailing away from them, they will need to stay afloat as well! Their boat will turn around and come back to retrieve them, but the crew overboard must not panic, and they must keep their head above water while waiting to be retrieved. Having good, basic swimming skills is a really good idea.
Wear a Lifejacket
We can't predict when an unexpected puff of wind will hit us or a big wave will catch us off guard. Why not be prepared for the unexpected? If we wear a life jacket, we are much more likely to survive an unexpected capsize or crew overboard experience. People often ask, "What is the best life jacket?" My answer is any Coast Guard approved life jacket that is comfortable and that you will wear is best! Remember: a life jacket doesn't help much if it is not worn.
Use a VHF Radio
Sailors should carry and use a VHF Radio. They should monitor channel 16, the emergency channel. All mariners are required to help other boats in trouble, if they know how to safely do so. At the very least, they can call for help and stand by to render assistance as directed by more experienced mariners. Also, boaters can tune to channel 13 if they need to speak with the captain of a commercial vessel to communicate which way they intend to pass that vessel or some other important information. Finally, if boats are out with others, they can communicate on a pre-determined channel. Channel 16 is reserved for essential announcements and emergency information.
Sail with Others
It's so much fun to sail with other crew members on your boat and to sail with other boats. In this way, you are building a community, and you are available to help one another in case of equipment failure or breakdowns.
Tracy Edwards, MBE, was captain of Maiden, the first all women's crew to race the Whitbread Around the World Regatta in 1989-1990. Her amazing story is told in the 2019 documentary film of the same name Maiden. Tracy has gone on to a distinguished maritime career, and in recent years, rebuilt Maiden and created a charitable foundation called the Maiden Factor Foundation, which is bringing the vessel and her inspiring story to people around the world. The organization raises funds for and works toward access to education for all girls and others who do not have access around the world. We encourage you to learn more and support the foundation here: www.themaidenfactor.org
The famous vessel is now on a world tour, visiting well-known sailing locations around the world. She is currently touring famous US ports such as Annapolis, Maryland; New York Harbor; Newport, Rhode Island, and YES! Kingston, New York.
Don't miss out on the fun! If you are a boat owner, you can join the flotilla to welcome Maiden to Kingston on June 8 or see her off on June 11. You can join Tracy Edwards and the crew for dinner June 8, and you can tour the vessel and meet the crew on June 9 or 10. Information and signups here: https://www.hrmm.org/maiden.html
Don't miss out on your chance to build a skin-on-frame canoe. The last day to register is Wednesday, June 1, 2022.
Dates: June 17-19 & June 24-26, 2022, 9:00AM to 5:00PM
Instructor: Rich Cerruto
Class Size: 4
Instructor Rich Cerruto will lead this unique course on building skin-on-frame double paddle canoes. The canoe will be constructed with a wooden frame and a stretched with a nylon "skin". Each student will leave with a completed canoe ready for the water. These 28-pound canoes are strong and can hold up to 320 pounds. Easily car-topped, they are perfect for casual paddlers and beginning boatbuilders alike. Don't miss out on the opportunity to build your own beautiful functional canoe! The canoe is 30" wide, 10" deep, weights about 32 lbs. and carries 320 lbs. Rig it as a solo, a tandem with a carrying yoke, or as a solo/tandem. All materials required are provided, including pre-cut lumber, polyester cloth, stem bands and seats.
Solo/Tandem 13½’ Canoe Materials Kit - This class will use kits and plans designed by Hilary Russell, founder of the Berkshire Boat Building School and author of the book "Building Skin-on-Frame Double Paddle Canoes."
Joint Instruction - For an additional fee, students are welcomed to bring a second builder to the class. This is a great opportunity to learn and have fun together. Joint instruction must be accompanied with someone taking the full instruction and purchasing a kit.
General Public: $700
Material Fee: $800 (will be included at check out)
Joint Instruction Tuition: $500
Rich Cerruto is a retired engineer and IT executive who teaches skin-on-frame boat building and paddle carving. An other area of focus is oval Shaker Boxes. He served as president of the Northeastern Woodworkers Association and currently serves as vice-president of its Mid-Hudson chapter.
Staff and volunteers of the Hudson River Maritime Museum's Wooden Boat School and Sailing & Rowing School.
Hudson River Maritime Museum
50 Rondout Landing
Kingston, NY 12401
The Hudson River Maritime Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the maritime history of the Hudson River, its tributaries, and related industries.
Become a member and receive benefits like unlimited free museum admission, discounts on classes, programs, and in the museum store, plus invitations to members-only events.
The Hudson River Maritime Museum receives no federal, state, or municipal funding except through competitive, project-based grants. Your donation helps support our mission of education and preservation.