The most recent project completed by Atlantic Challenge’s Apprenticeshop internship program in Rockland, Maine, are twin 28-foot open training boats for use in the school’s sail training program. The boats were designed by Nigel Irens and commissioned by Frank Blair, whose Irens-designed fusion schooner Maggie B was tragically lost in a blaze that claimed Covey Island Boatworks in Nova Scotia last year.
The “twins” as they have come to be known are reminiscent of the Cy Hamlin-designed lifeboat that the Outward Bound school launched as a platform for their program in 1965.
Like the Hamlin’s heavy double ender, the Irens boats are something of an amalgam of design philosophies and a fusion of technologies.
Although they are traditionally built plank on frame, the new boats will be rigged with carbon fiber spars and high-tech sails that can be configured in a variety of arrangements. Another departure from tradition are three daggerboard trunks to accommodate different points of sail and wind conditions. When rowing, the two thwart seats make up four sweep stations, two forward and two aft.
At 28 feet, the boats are designed to carry plenty of cruising gear and give students an opportunity to experiment with different types of rigs as they build their sailing and seamanship skills.