By Carol McCracken
For the sixth year in a row, part of Monument Square became a mini- boatbuilding yard. Under a pristine white tent, nine teams have been learning to build skiffs – under the expertise of professional boat builders. The 2 l/2 day event ends tomorrow afternoon when the skiffs are launched at East End Beach.
Nine teams is down significantly from last year when there were sixteen teams buiding skiffs at Monument Square. “It probably is because of the economy,” said Tris Draper, event coordinator. “Of course, we’d like to have more participate, but we are enjoying this smaller size as well. It’s intimate.” Draper said this year there were five families, three youth groups and one corporation who registered for the fundraising event for Compass Project.
Two Hill residents were among the many who were involved in this year’s event. One was Ben Lambert. He was showing children how to decorate the topsides of a skiff that was built last year at the fundraiser. Lambert who is an artist incorporates fish motiffs into his ceramics, sculptures and paintings. Many of the paintings on the topsides of the skiffs were of bright colored fish swimming in the water. Ben has a studio at the Sawyer Street Studios in South Portland. Margaret Mountcastle, a staff member at Compass Project said, “Ben was kind enough to come share his talent and knowledge helping everyone paint fish.” For more information, please visit www.lambertportfolios.org
His girlfriend is Jodi Carpenter. She’s on the staff of the Compass Project which is located at 170 Anderson Street in the Greater Munjoy Hill area. She’s trained as a sculpturer and is from Ohio originally. There are obvious similarities between sculpting and boat building, Carpenter said. “Boat building is a form of sculpting,” she said. Carpenter was supervising the making of a pair of oars to be used at tomorrow’s launching of the fleet of skiffs at East End Beach in the afternoon. Carpenter sculpts wooden landscapes, but has yet to show her work in the Portland area.
Stephan Dee of Hodgdon Yachts in East Boothbay was one of the professional boat builders present instructing employees of Harborview Investments what piece goes where and why. This is the first year he’s been involved and said he would come back again. “My passion for boat building is what brought me here,” he said.