Faculty Feature: Bill Kenyon & Jen McNally, Boatbuilding and Restoration Bill Kenyon (IYRS Alumnus)Boatbuilding & Restoration Instructor
After 25 years in the restaurant management business, which included many years of sailing and working on his own boats, Bill Kenyon decided it was time to pursue his passion, and enrolled at
IYRS School of Boatbuilding & Restoration in 2004. After graduating in 2006, Bill worked in the carpentry shop at Hinckley Yacht Services in Portsmouth, RI for three years. Bill also worked on East Passage Boatwrights in Bristol, RI on a complete restoration of the 1952 5.5 meter Complex II and Skylark the Sparkman & Stephens sister ship to Dorade, as well as a near total restoration of the Herreshoff NY 30 Banzai at Wooden Boatworks in Greenport, NY. Bill returned to IYRS in 2010 as an instructor of the first year Boatbuilding program. Jennifer McNally Boatbuilding & Restoration Instructor
Jen McNally is an instructor in the
Boatbuilding and Restoration Program at IYRS. She has been involved in different facets of the program for over 10 years. She has been able to take part in many restorations, such as a Buzzard’s Bay 15; Lawley Knockabout; a Herreshoff S boat; a Herreshoff Motor Launch named Corsair; a 38’ deep keel double planked sailboat named Ruweida; a Hodgdon built down Lobster Yacht; a WatchHill 15; and a Herreshoff Fish Class, among others. She has been fascinated with boats and how things are made since she was a child growing up on the Coast of Lake Erie. Jen received a B.S. in Chemistry from Syracuse University in 1995 but made her move to a boatbuilding career after attending The Landing School of Boatbuilding and Design in 1999 where she built a glued lap Peapod and a Joel White designed Haven 12 ½. Jen worked on several yacht repairs and restoration in Hawaii and completed several projects on Halsey Herreshoff’s New York 40, Rugosa. She joined IYRS in 2003 after several years working on small boats, custom cabinet pieces, and yacht interiors. 07/30/15 Will Aurigemma: Part 6, Reality Sandwich
I missed an update again, but I don’t want you all worrying and thinking I got some other strange tropical disease. I started to write at a hostel last Saturday, but then I ran into a group of Peace Corps volunteers. And that was the end of that.
Out here in rural Samar, and probably every other rural tropical place in the world, the machete is the ubiquitous tool of choice for just about everything. Here, they are called bolos. Unlike the machetes of Latin America, which tend to be long, flexible bushwhackers, the bolos of Leyte and Samar have handles carved of hardwood or buffalo horn and thick, curved blades that are well suited for woodworking.
I bought a bolo in Tacloban a few weeks ago. It’s a good blade, made of metal from the leaf spring of a truck by blacksmiths in the town of Carigara, about an hour and a half west of Tacloban. We use bolos in the boatyard for general purpose chopping and cutting. We also hew up two-inch thick by four-inch wide pieces of wood for our boat stems if the power is out, or if we are just feeling sporty. They are useful tools, and I wouldn’t work without one nearby.
Since I have been spending almost all of my time in Samar rather than Leyte, I decided I wanted to find a Samar-made bolo. The trouble is, most folks here need them for work and won’t part with them easily. So I asked a few of the locals working with us where I could find a bolo nearby. Leo, our master builder, said there was a fellow over in the valley who made them, but he was at home only one or two days a week, as he was out in the woods collecting palm wine the rest of the time. After hearing the exchange, Prospero, a regular at the boatyard, said he had a couple extras at home. I wanted a cool Samar bolo and he wouldn’t mind a new one from Leyte. We shook hands and agreed to the trade.
Prospero is one of the locals that works in the boatyard with us every day. He’s short and solid and carries himself with the jovial demeanor of someone who has a roasted pig and a horn of mead within arms reach at all times. His boat was destroyed by Typhoon Ruby, and we finished his replacement about a month ago. He stays and works anyway. There are a handful of guys that work with us every day. Besides Prospero, there is Luis, Manuel, Dioscoro, Daniel, who speaks enough English to be hilarious, and the wonderfully named MacJimber Brazil. The other recipients come in for a few days to work on their boats and then leave.
All of our local workers are part of a surprisingly high amount of community involvement in our project. They like they way we have done repairs and approve of our new hull replacement design. And they really need the boats.
I don’t like weepy tales about the plight of people in some country on the other side of the world. Sad stories overshadow all of the great things about a community by making people seem like pathetic victims. I don’t want to do that, but the reality of the situation here needs mentioning to put this project into context.
Typhoon Ruby, the category-5 storm that hit Samar seven months ago, destroyed a good number of boats in this town. Possibly most of them. Given the power of the storm, I’m surprised it didn’t take out all of them. That put the fishermen of this town in a jam.
Nearly half of the breadwinners of Poblacion and the neighboring community of Calampong, the starting point of this project, make their money by fishing. On average, they earn about 90 dollars in a month. With that money, they maintain their boats and houses and feed their families. A set of epoxy cans (strong marine adhesive) costs 44 dollars, a four-foot by eight-foot sheet of quarter inch plywood costs 17 dollars, and a two-inch by four-inch by 16-foot piece of mahogany lumber costs 11 dollars. Combine that with the cost of nails and paint and other pieces of wood necessary to rebuild a boat, and that adds up to a tall order for someone earning 90 dollars per month.
The dugout keels that come into our yard are old. They show signs of repair after repair. Owners hang onto them for many years because new boats are not easy to come by. When faced with a re-build of everything above the keel or finding a new replacement, the fishing families here would have to make considerable sacrifices to get back on the water. They would tighten their belts for months or more to save up for their boats. They might pull kids out of school to help with work, and the men of the family would likely look for employment in Tacloban or another city. The wake of the storm is strong and is lasts years.
When Prospero agreed to trade machetes with me, I went home to put a keen edge on mine and brought it with me the next day. When he arrived, I was delighted to see that he hadn’t forgotten our deal. It is a rougher blade, but good. It has a hardwood scabbard that is carefully wrapped with strong plastic packaging ties and a nylon carrying cord that has a coconut button at the end to tie it around the waist and hang it from the hip. Prospero himself carved the handle. I thought that was a nice touch. It is a fine token to remember the folks I’m working with over here. When we made the exchange, we shook hands again, and Prospero said that since we had traded blades, we were friends.
Until next time!
Will 07/29/15 Where Are They Now? IYRS Alumni Update Alex Crerand Composites Technology Class of 2014 After successfully constructing a carbon fiber bicycle frame while a student, Alex Crerand secured a job with Exelis, global aerospace, defense and information solutions company in Rochester, NY. Joe Sayre Boatbuilding & Restoration Class of 2006
After graduation, Joseph worked for Donn Costanzo of Wooden Boatworks in Greenport, NY, building and restoring fine American Yachts. He is a commissioned Designer & Project Manager, for The Rail Life Co., that uses ”rare and historic timber to create heirloom quality furniture.” Joseph operates in Singapore for Venture Timberwork, as a Technical Director, developing and executing engineered timber projects for commercial and residential markets in South East Asia.
Jens Lange Boatbuilding & Restoration Class of 2010 Jens Lange grew up on the Baltic Coast of his native Germany and prior to attending IYRS he completed an Economics MBA and spent years working in the global automotive industry. Shortly after graduating from IYRS, Jens founded Baltic Boat Works, LLC where he and his team specialize in the restoration and maintenance of classic wooden yachts. Tom King Composites Technology Class of 2013 After graduation, Tom King worked at Goetz Composites and is presently a Master’s Degree candidate in Product Architecture & Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology. In addition to pursuing his degree, Tom serves as the Composite Fabrication Specialist on the SURE House, a project that is building a sustainable and resilient home for areas at greatest risk of damage due to rising sea-levels and storms. Andy Lamothe Marine Systems Class of 2011 Andy Lamothe is employed at Rybovich, a premier marina in West Palm Beach, Florida, that specializes in the refit and repair of superyachts. Jessie Bordner Marine Systems Class of 2015 Jessie Bordner and her husband Josh (Boatbuilding & Restoration Class of 2015) moved their family to Rhode Island to attend IYRS. Formerly a helicopter mechanic, Jessie completed her externship at The Hinckley Company, a luxury yacht & boat manufacturer in Portsmouth, RI, and was immediately offered a job after graduation. Andrew Vine Composites Technology Class of 2014 Since graduating, Andrew Vine has been working with Clear Carbon & Components, Inc., a high-end composites company that fabricates items for use in industries such as automotive, green-technology, music, marine and architecture. Andrew Yberg Marine Systems Class of 2013 Andrew Yberg completed an externship with a Caterpillar Marine dealer as part of the Marine Systems Program. After graduating, he secured a full-time job with Vane Brothers Company, a tugboat company with fleets working in most of the major ports on the eastern seaboard. Casey Brown Composites Technology Class of 2012 After graduation, Casey Brown continued on to Webb Institute where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in naval architecture and marine engineering. In his spare time, Casey manufactures skateboards for his company, Island Longboards. IYRS Class of 2016
Your future has not been written yet. Yes, you, anonymous blog reader! Request some information about IYRS programs today and we’ll take the first steps towards your IYRS alumni profile!