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Monday, April 15, 2024

CFCC students hone boat-building skills, public can buy the finished product

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Jean-Luc Desreumaux grabbed the tiller of the seafoam-green boat and carefully set the sail for a brief tour of the waters around the Cape Fear Community College dock. He wasn’t going far; the purpose was to show off the handmade wooden craft, one of several creations that soon will be for sale to the public — all products of the college’s boat-building programs.

Desreumaux is a student in the program, which turns out a handful of boats each year. Different tracks focus on either wooden or fiberglass boats, with the latter also including sections on electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems for larger vessels. He was sailing a 13-foot Barto Melonseed design on this day, but his handiwork was more visible on a nearby docked craft.

Measuring 15 feet with one small sail, the red Cortez Melonseed design took him and three other students about nine months to build, Desmreumaux said. The first things one notices about the craftsmanship are the sturdy-looking mast and the intricate deck work of cypress, red grandis and other fine-grained woods.

After spending so many class hours working on each project, getting it ready to sell can be bittersweet.

“Yeah, that’s the sad part,” said Desreumaux, who hopes to go into boat design.

This year, the programs turned out four wooden boats and two fiberglass vessels, said Mark Bayne, lead instructor. He teaches the wooden-boat classes.

Most of them will be available for public sale — the program may hold onto one as a demonstration model, said David Hardin, CFCC spokesman. The boats for sale range from 13 to 17 feet.

“All these boats were built by green students,” Jason Rogers, chairman of the marine technology program, said during a news conference last week.

Some students come in with the goal of going into boat building or repair, but others simply want to learn a new skill, Bayne said. This year’s students ranged in age from 18 to 72, he said, and they have come a long way in a short period of time.

“I’m pretty proud of the students today,” Bayne said.

Money raised through the auction, which is via the state surplus property website, goes back into the boat program.

The fiberglass program only completes one to two boats per year, instructor John Olsen said. But back in the shop, several were in various stages of completion, including a 23-foot model. Many of his students will graduate into jobs at boatyards or boat-manufacturing plants. Some already have jobs lined up, while others may work for a few years honing their skills before specializing.

Kasey Schwartz, a student in the boat service and manufacturing program, said he eventually wants to go into custom building. But for now, he is content to get some experience working on boats to learn even more.

“I love painting boats and laying fiberglass,” he said

For information about purchasing the boats, or to learn more about the boat-building program, contact Bayne at [email protected] or 910-362-1715.

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