My name is Howard Rice and as a new face at SEAS I am pleased to report our team has embraced change and evolution with the aim of reaching more students and the public with a variety of innovative new programs. Our Executive Director Geoff Rudolph set this tone of innovation and new thinking before the grand opening and dedication of the new SEAS facility last spring. His aim was to fully utilize our human and physical resources to this end. I came on board with a mandate to accomplish three distinct tasks in helping to fulfill the new direction. Promoting the good works of SEAS to the public, developing student wooden boat building and hands on skills programs throughout the three-county area and developing an adaptive solo sailing boat.
First and fore most in my role I have taken on the task of helping to build positive public awareness of SEAS as a world class Great Lakes center for boating education. As a public speaker and presenter on small craft use I have represented SEAS on several occasions from Milwaukee to Ann Arbor, Michigan. On December 6th I will again be presenting on behalf of SEAS at the Wisconsin Club in Milwaukee.
In January I will be a featured presenter at the Chicago Boat Show held in the McCormick Place. I will be making a presentation each day of the show and my boat Southern Cross will be on display. My role at the show will be to help promote SEAS and a sister organization being developed in Chicago known as the Chicago Maritime Arts Center. This important relationship will benefit both organizations over time through many different collaborations centered on teaching young people boat building and sailing. In addition, I will be representing the Voyage of Southern Cross project and all of the SEAS educational and adaptive offerings.
The SEAS Boat Building Program
The SEAS boat building program is in full swing with the construction of two new boats and other projects. All of our boat builds are being done for educational purposes with the aim of utilizing boat building to teach creativity, critical thinking and problem solving. These are skills students can use in any endeavor throughout their lives. Everyone is welcome to stop in and join in the fun of creating something beautiful. The new builds are a perfect fit for public and private school students, our many friends throughout the three counties the Great Lakes region and of course the Sea Scouts.
At the same time as all this is going on we are in process of modifying our shop space to make it more efficient teaching classroom and capable of a wider variety of tasks. This requires taking out a wall and some re-wiring. The new shop space will help not only our staff do a better job with students but will also help the Sea Scouts with a more productive shared space.
The Adaptive SCAMP
Our new boat build is an 11’ 11” adaptive SCAMP. It is being constructed to become part of the SEAS fleet and a boat a solo sailor can set sail in with its innovative powered self-tacking chair. The self-tacking chair is a new concept and this component of the boat is under development and will be the first of its kind. Self-tacking means that as the boat tacks the sailor in the chair can also automatically tack the chair thus switching sides of the boat via electric power. The R&D for the chair is unique and a steep climb for our staff. We look for both engineering assistance and financial support so that we can fulfill the promise the adaptive SCAMP can offer sailors seeking autonomy. Let us know if you would like to participate in some manner. Plans are for the adaptive chair to be in the prototype stage this month and is being constructed in our facility.
The Tinkerbelle Project
We are making good progress on the build of the sister ship to Robert Manry’s Atlantic crossing pocket yacht circa 1965. Manry was a Great Lakes sailor who in a most unassuming way rebuilt and modified an old 1930’s Old Town White Cap open dinghy for a secret song of his soul adventure. He towed his little 13’ 6” sloop to Falmouth, Massachusetts and 78 days later stepped ashore in Falmouth, England. We have the only other authentic Tinkerbelle (Manry donated his little sloop to the Crawford Museum in Cleveland in 1965) on the planet and are working to finish it this winter as a SEAS interpretative sailing version. This project will put a pin on the map for SEAS and our Tinkerbelle will serve as a roving ambassador at boat shows and events flying the SEAS flag. This is a fascinating research and development project of the highest order in that we have been granted first access to the actual Tinkerbelle and as a team we traveled to Cleveland and were able to board and fully measure the boat so that we can reproduce her accurately. Stop by our shop and take a look or lend a hand.
Student Boat Building
Our student boat building initiative has taken off with the first group in for hands on building and did we have fun! Students and their teacher from Central High School came in for an orientation and the hanging of a plank on the adaptive SCAMP. Discussions are ongoing with the hope of setting up a formal Central High/SEAS boat building education program.
Shop Tools 101
Last month we conducted a first “Shop Tools 101” class and it was both well attended and lots of fun. Those who attended now have the ability to come into the SEAS shop with supervision and utilize our tools. Stay tuned for follow-up on classes centered on wood shop use, hand tool skills and boat building.
Christmas Ornament Party
We hosted a successful family Christmas ornament making party. Kids and their parents were able to cut our wood ornaments and decorate them for display in the home or on the Christmas tree.
Our newest acquisition a beautiful Tartan 4000 is in the shop this winter for a bit of upgrading including some new varnish and self-tailing winches.