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Welcome to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum's Boatyard Blog, where all things related to Chesapeake Bay Boats are discussed. Follow the Museum's progress on historic Chesapeake boat restoration projects, watch wooden boats being built from scratch in our Apprentice For a Day program, and meet the dedicated staff and volunteers working hard to give you the experience of Chesapeake Bay history while preserving traditional Chesapeake Bay boat building techniques. Make sure to join us as a follower of this blog so you will be notified of new posts, and make comments on anything you see on the blog.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Professional Shipwright Apprentices: Where are they now? Part 5

Chris Sanders – (2008 – 2009)
Chris Sanders of Newport, Rhode Island, has carried his love of sailing vessels from a very young age. Living along the east coast his entire life, Sanders comes from a family of craftsmen. His grandfather was an accomplished carpenter, and many of his tools are used by Sanders today.

Back in 2008, however, Sanders had very little experience in woodworking and boatbuilding. So when he applied for the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS) in Newport, Rhode Island, Sanders was encouraged by the school’s program director to gain some hands-on experience before entering the program.

Following this advice, Sanders traveled down the coast to the Chesapeake Bay, where he worked as an apprentice alongside the Museum’s Boat Yard Program Manager Dan Sutherland in building Vita, the 9-1/2’ tender for the 1888 racing yacht Elf.

Sanders valued the experience so much so that when he was accepted into IYRS two and a half weeks later, he decided to defer his school experience for one year, allowing him to stay on at the Museum until August 2009.

As a shipwright apprentice, Sanders worked on several projects, including removing and replacing the patent stern of the Museum’s bugeye, the Edna E. Lockwood. He also assisted Vessel Maintenance Manager Marc Barto with the day-to-day preservation of the Museum’s historic fleet of Chesapeake Bay boats.

“The greatest advantage I have is being taught by the best,” recalls Sanders, referring to the Museum’s four-member boat yard staff, who are all highly regarded in boatbuilding circles around the country. “I really value the proficiency with tools and the confidence I gained in working in the boatbuilding process.”

After his one-year apprenticeship, Sanders enrolled at IYRS in September 2009, where he continues today in his second year. He is pursuing a degree in proficiency and yacht restoration construction. Sanders expects to graduate from the school in June, 2011.

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