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Wednesday
Mar272013

A Unique Collaboration:The Spaulding Wooden Boat School and the Arques School of Traditional Boat Building 

By Steefenie Wicks
Two organizations on the Sausalito waterfront are working together because they have the same mission … keeping the history of Sausalito’s maritime heritage alive.   So you might wonder what these two words have in common:  unique and collaboration.
These words best describe the Spaulding Wooden Boat Center and the Arques School of Traditional Boatbuilding.   The uniqueness is that Don Arques and Myron Spaulding both ended up leaving small fortunes to support boat building on the Sausalito waterfront.   Bob Darr,  program director and head instructor at Arques, says the endowment means that the school will continue without having to alter its programs.   The collaboration between the Spaulding Wooden Boat Center and the Arques School has fostered an educational component that is a perfect match for both organizations.
Both waterfront organizations have collaborated on shared sail programs allowing students to learn how to use small boats built in classes.  This year’s students will help  construct a boat  that Andrea Rey, executive director of Spaulding,  asked Darr to design, a small dory called the  DOREEN.   The vessel is designed to be rowed or sailed and is compactly built for transportation.  Participating apprentices will receive instructions on how to sail the vessel and participate in outdoor maritime activities.
Both organizations have come to the realization that none of this would have been possible if it had not been for Myron Spaulding and Donlon Arques.   The two men went to the same high school, shared the same dream, and decided to leave their money to continuing development of Sausalito’s wooden boat heritage.
Donlon Arques left his endowment to the founding and preservation of traditional wooden boats and the skill to produce them; thus the Arques School of Traditional Boat Building was born in 1995.  Myron Spaulding’s death in 2000 left his dream with his wife Gladys.  She then left the Spaulding Boatworks in a charitable trust, which would be the beginning of the Spaulding Wooden Boat Center.
One of the best collaborations between the two organizations deals with reconstruction. This ongoing project is working because of the volunteers and maritime historians who have committed themselves for the past six years to the restoration of the oldest private sailing yacht on the West Coast,  the FREDA, built in 1885.  Both organizations have worked together to raise funds and inform the public with educational programs that explain the project and the value of salvaging a historic vessel.  Under the guidance of both Rey and Darr the reconstruction process has all been documented. The traditional methods that were used when she was first built are being followed today to maintain the integrity of the 32-foot gaff rigged sloop.
Growing up on the water from Sausalito to the South Seas, Darr spent much of his youth with his father, captain Omar Darr, who sailed with Sterling Hayden on board the WANDERER.  As a young boy he had memories of both Arques and Spaulding as strong, opinionated and determined, although Spaulding, with his musical background, had a softer edge.  To a child these two could be very scary.  Yet if it were not for these men these two organizations would not exist, and that would be even scarier.
Bob remembered that once on a sailing voyage aboard the WANDERER, there were at least 10 children on board and in the evening Sterling would gather them all on deck and tell stories of the ghost that would come out of the sea at night to grab your ankles as you stood near the edge of the deck and then pull you in and you would never be seen or heard from again. Years later he realized that Sterling was saving their lives because not one kid went to the edge of the deck on the boat at night and no one was lost overboard.
“Stories like this one and the experiences you had with these men keep this history here alive.  They add to and enrich the waterfront heritage that we are all so involved with because we want to see it continue on for generations.”
Andrea especially wants to explore the idea of collaborating with other groups in the City and beyond to widen the reach of the Spaulding Wooden Boat Center.   She feels that Spaulding is a center for activity and a meeting place for all groups involved in maintaining Sausalito’s waterfront heritage.  This is why the Spaulding Wooden Boat Center is now having once a month an open houses, opening their doors to the public and inviting them to explore the facilities and the educational opportunities with hands on learning.  They will also offer free tours on the Bay aboard the 22 ft. vessel, DIXIE with a member of the Sausalito Historical Society on board as waterfront tour docents.  The first open house is Saturday,  April 13 from 11 AM to 3 PM.  For information, contact andrea@spauldingcenter.org.
This collaboration between the Spaulding Wooden Boat Center and the Arques School of Traditional Boat Building is in a word, simply awesome.



Bob Darr and Andrea Rey in front of the FREDA        Photo by Steefenie Wicks









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    The Sausalito Historical Society - Marin Scope Columns - A Unique Collaboration:The Spaulding Wooden Boat School and the Arques School of Traditional Boat Building
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    The Sausalito Historical Society - Marin Scope Columns - A Unique Collaboration:The Spaulding Wooden Boat School and the Arques School of Traditional Boat Building
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    The Sausalito Historical Society - Marin Scope Columns - A Unique Collaboration:The Spaulding Wooden Boat School and the Arques School of Traditional Boat Building
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    The Sausalito Historical Society - Marin Scope Columns - A Unique Collaboration:The Spaulding Wooden Boat School and the Arques School of Traditional Boat Building
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    The Sausalito Historical Society - Marin Scope Columns - A Unique Collaboration:The Spaulding Wooden Boat School and the Arques School of Traditional Boat Building
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    The Sausalito Historical Society - Marin Scope Columns - A Unique Collaboration:The Spaulding Wooden Boat School and the Arques School of Traditional Boat Building
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    The Sausalito Historical Society - Marin Scope Columns - A Unique Collaboration:The Spaulding Wooden Boat School and the Arques School of Traditional Boat Building
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    The Sausalito Historical Society - Marin Scope Columns - A Unique Collaboration:The Spaulding Wooden Boat School and the Arques School of Traditional Boat Building
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    The Sausalito Historical Society - Marin Scope Columns - A Unique Collaboration:The Spaulding Wooden Boat School and the Arques School of Traditional Boat Building
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    The Sausalito Historical Society - Marin Scope Columns - A Unique Collaboration:The Spaulding Wooden Boat School and the Arques School of Traditional Boat Building
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    The Sausalito Historical Society - Marin Scope Columns - A Unique Collaboration:The Spaulding Wooden Boat School and the Arques School of Traditional Boat Building
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    The Sausalito Historical Society - Marin Scope Columns - A Unique Collaboration:The Spaulding Wooden Boat School and the Arques School of Traditional Boat Building
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