Yacht Restoration School Launch

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yachtThe International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS) up in Newport, RI, is planning a very special day May 31.

This is when the students from IYRS’s three accredited programs will graduate from their respective schools of technology and trade, and the students from the boat building and restoration program will launch their boats. For both Newport and the school, graduation has become a community celebration, attracting hundreds of supporters, admirers, community leaders, and industry partners. Readers may be familiar with IYRS since local wooden sailboats, called Manhasset Bay One Designs, have been restored there in previous years.

International yachtsman Dr. Robert McNeil, who owns and is funding the restoration of Coronet on the IYRS campus, will speak at the ceremonies. McNeil is a biotech venture capitalist from San Mateo, CA, and a managing director of Sanderling Ventures.

He has a long history in yachting, including funding the Zephyrus maxi racing campaign. Prior to taking on the $15M Coronet restoration, he funded the restoration of Cangarda, the 126’ steel hull steam yacht at the Rutherford Boatyard in Richmond, CA. Cangarda has been a regular visitor to Newport and the IYRS marina.

Through both restorations, McNeil has taken special action to document these projects, including with major cable network partners and film-makers. He will share some aspirational stories and his own thoughts about IYRS and the school’s graduates, as well as the importance of saving America’s on-water treasures for future generations.

The public is welcome to join the ceremony and launching festivities and see the fine craftsmanship produced by students. Graduation ceremonies begin at the IYRS Newport campus (449 Thames Street) at 10 a.m. inside Restoration Hall. After the speaking and certificate award program, the crowd is invited to the school docks to watch the launching of the newly restored boats.

Graduates from IYRS’ composites technology and marine systems programs who matriculated from their six-month programs in September 2013 and March 2014, will also be honored on May 31.

Eighty-five percent of the graduates from these programs are now working.

So with spring finally here, families may be looking for a nice overnight trip toward the end of May—and what could be better than a drive north to historic Newport?

Yachting Museum Exhibit Opens

In addition to the graduation, the annual Museum of Yachting summer exhibit will also open that Saturday. The combined museum and school libraries are located on the fourth floor of the Aquidneck Mill building on the IYRS Newport campus. The exhibit will feature artifacts and relics of the great schooner yacht Coronet. The library is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; the exhibit is open through September 2014.

IYRS is an experiential learning school; training highly technical and deeply craft-oriented people who want to pursue careers that focus on thinking and working through their hands.
The school trains craftsmen and skilled technicians in three full-time programs—in boat building and restoration, marine systems, and composites technology.

IYRS maintains two campuses in Rhode Island: a waterfront campus on Newport’s historic Thames Street, and a Bristol facility located in an active hub of composites and marine industry businesses. The school’s composites technology program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

For more information, visit www.iyrs.edu.

And this from Scuttlebutt, the online daily sailing newsletter: The 2014 Frostbite Nationals were held at Manhasset Bay YC on April 5-6. A front greeted the 30 entrants on Saturday morning with wind gusts pushing into the mid to upper 20 knot range so the Race Committee postponed until 1:30 p.m. At that time the RC found a small window of time to get in two races in before the return of the “20 plus” wind conditions.

Sunday’s conditions were quite different as the competitors sailed out to the race course in a light 5mph NW breeze only to see it die. A few waves of 2-4mph west/ northwest breeze allowed the Race Committee to squeeze in two more races over the course of the day.

Jim Bowers/Alexa Schuler, from the Winthrop Frostbite Sailing Club, were crowned the 2014 Interclub Nationals Champs. Dave Nelson /Julia Marsh, who are also from Winthrop Frostbite Sailing Club, were second, and Paul-Jon Patin/Felicity Ryan, from Larchmont YC, were third. Rounding out the top five were Steve Benjamin/Mac Christopher (LarchmontYC) in fourth and Pedro Lorson /Mimi Berry (Manhasset Bay YC) in fifth.

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Andrea Watson is a Port Washington-based maritime photographer and journalist. She writes Port Washington News' column On The Bay and is currently the Executive Secretary of the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound (YRALIS).

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