Boatbuilding And The Restorative Coast

Two Six-Hour Canoes under construction by CABBS Workshop participants. 

Sitting on the Solstice Steps in Lakewood Park one can feel the restorative power of the Lakewood shoreline. It recharges one for dealing with the pressures of everyday life. The charge is even stronger if one can get out on the water in a small boat on a calm day.

In a small boat, once you push off from a sandy beach or a wooden pier your attention immediately goes to the matters of balance, trim, and propulsion. It fully absorbs you. The payoff is immediate entrance to a parallel world populated with birds, animals, fish, plants, rocks and trees discovered only from the water. 

The amazing thing is that you can build one of these restorative machines yourself. Of course you can buy one but building one yourself gives you many more options from which to choose and a sense of personal satisfaction that is off the charts.

But let’s be realistic. Few have the time it takes, nor the resources, nor the space for boatbuilding. But that doesn’t have to stop you. You can start small.  You only need a small boat to get on the water to enjoy its restorative benefits.  The idea is to start.

That’s where the Boatbuilding Basics Workshop offered by the Cleveland Amateur Boatbuilding and Boating Society (CABBS) can help you. The workshop is all about hands-on learning as you build a 15 foot boat called a Six-Hour Canoe. You will work on a team of three or four people with each team building a boat. Once each boat is completed, it is raffled off among the three or four people who built it. One lucky person on each team will take home a boat, but everyone will take home new skills and increased self confidence.

The Workshop starts February 9 and runs for five consecutive Saturdays at the CABBS workspace on Columbus Road in the heart of the Cleveland rowing community neighborhood in the Flats. No prior experience is required other than an open attitude and a minimum age of fourteen.

You can learn more at the CABBS website: With water in the very name of Lakewood, the city’s soul lies along its shoreline. Pick a calm day, wear your PFD and explore it from the water in a small boat, a boat you may have built.

Ed Neal

Ed Neal is a life-long Cleveland area resident with a strong interest in boating, the Great Lakes, and boatbuilding. He is the current President of the Cleveland Amateur Boatbuilding and Boating Society. When the weather is good he tries to find time to use his fleet of nine small boats, four of which he built.  

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 5:06 PM, 01.08.2019