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The Launch of Red Jacket

Dreams to plans, plans to reality. Somewhere in the middle of that formula you probably want to throw in a lot of really hard work. And a generous and visionary community. Somewhere at the end of it we have the Red Jacket.

The crew of Station Maine dreamed of the Red Jacket three years ago. A Scilly Isles gig with which we could race Vinalhaven, North Haven, Belfast, and beyond. We made a plan. Talked with some people. Key among those people was Tim Hathorne, director of the Midcoast School of Technolology. He caught the vision instantly, a boat in Rockland Harbor built by the high school students of Region 8. A boat in which members of the community can go to water. And a trailer to take that boat to contests as far away as Boston and Lake Champlain.

More people joined us. The Marine Tech and Welding instructors. A building space was designed. We had to build her of core cell foam. That was Richard's idea. Richard Irving, the Marine Tech instructor at MCST. He is training kids for the 21st century and would settle for no less. Nor would he accept molds of boats that had been built before. He, to his credit, insisted that his students handle the whole process, lofting to launching.

Money had to be raised. Grants, yes, from MBNA and the Maine Community Foundation, but with restrictions. These organizations showed themselves more than willing to help IF we could show that the community was behind this effort. To that end I guess I can report that if there is a business or individual in the mid coast region who hasn't contributed to Red Jacket or Station Maine it's probably because they haven't been asked. Businesses that couldn't make contributions outright lowered their prices significantly, often without being asked, when they heard of the project. Red Jacket began to be born.

Fire laws, environmental laws. Special lighting and air masks. The school faced each obstacle and one by one overcame them. By now we were significantly behind schedule. Letters of apology to funders were met with warmth and understanding, all pointing to a single goal. Just build the boat. Build the trailer. Make this dream a reality.

Red Jacket is a tribute not only to the Mid Coast School of Technology, but to the community that is represented by that school. The boat and trailer both represent a tradition of craftsmanship that defines the coast of Maine, and a tradition of giving that can only inspire. The Red Jacket, in the spirit of the original Red Jacket clipper ship, belongs to all of us. She is the latest chapter in a tradition of boatbuilding, craftsmanship, and maritime skill that is the heritage of the coast of Maine. Thank you all for your help in passing on this heritage.

Red Jacket was launched at Snowe Marine Park on Saturday, May 21, at 10:30 in 2005.


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