Women on the water

Intro to Boatbuilding



Painting and Finishing

Coastal Navigation



Please email if you have any questions or concerns.

Women on the Water

WHEN: 3rd Thursday evenings, 6-9PM; June 18 – September 17

Join us at Lowell’s Boat Shop every 3rd Thursday of the month for a Girl’s Night Out adventure. Depending on our numbers and the tide, we’ll row together in the Surf Dory or in teams in our Banks dories to different destinations along the Merrimack – for a hike, a dip, or simply for the sheer pleasure of rowing on the river. After our rowing outing, we’ll head to The Ale House for libations and a bite!

Members: $15

Nonmembers: $17

Intro to Boatbuilding: Shellback Dinghy

WHEN: This course is held over two consecutive 3-day weekends, September 11-13 & 18-20;

class runs from 8:30am – 5pm each day, with a half day on the final Sunday.


Lowell’s Boat Shop Members: $715

Nonmembers: $795

Payment required by August 24


If you’re curious about the boatbuilding process or ready to jump in and start building your first boat, this class is a great way to get started. No previous experience is required, simply a desire to learn. In this class students will build the hull of a good-looking classic design, the rowing version of Joel White’s venerable Shellback Dingy.

Instructor Bill Thomas will cover the basics of boat design and how to read and understand plans. Students will learn about plywood and solid wood, fasteners, glues and epoxy, and will work with fiberglass cloth. Construction methods will employ a combination of traditional techniques and modified glued-lap plywood construction. We’ll set up a strongback and molds, and make patterns and laminated frames. While building the Shellback’s lapstrake hull, students will use traditional methods of cutting and fitting the planks.

The class will build one boat that will be raffled off for the cost of materials on the last day.

During the class there will also be time to discuss what you’ll need to set up your building space and get started with your own project.

Instructor: For over 40 years Bill Thomas has been a woodworker, designing and building custom projects — from cabinetry and furniture, to sailboats, powerboats, kayaks and canoes — for a wide range of clients. He teaches woodworking and boatbuilding in numerous locations around the country, including Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, the WoodenBoat School in Maine, and Arrowmont in Tennessee, and offers online classes through Craftsy and Off Center Harbor.

Seafaring and Sail Training for Adults

When: Friday, September 18th – Sunday, September 201th

Join us for a weekend sail training adventure aboard the wooden 131’ gaff-rigged schooner Harvey Gamage! A collaboration between Lowell’s Boat Shop and Sailing Ships Maine, this voyage offers the opportunity to cruise the Maine Coast as a member of the Gamage crew, helping to put the Schooner through her paces. Sail handling, navigation, watchstanding, and using the schooner’s safety and anchoring equipment will all be a part of your daily life at sea. Our itinerary will be dictated by the weather, but may include a visit to historic Jewell Island, occasions to observe marine mammals and sea birds up close, a talk about the Maine fisheries and aquaculture, and an evening of stargazing with an astronomy buff. Enjoy delicious meals and restful nights at anchor — interrupted only by your night watch, a memorable experience.

Space is limited. Please email if you have questions.

Program Dates & Rates

  • Board Friday, September 18, 2020 at 4pm in Portland, ME (dinner will be served on board)

  • Disembark Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 4pm in Portland, ME

  • Fee of $595 per person ($1090 per couple) includes 3 meals per (full) day (dinner on Friday and breakfast and lunch on Sunday). While adult beverages will be allowed at dinner (BYOB), the hands-on nature of this distinctive program requires that participants be mindful and aware at all times while on watch.

  • Due to the uncertainties presented by the Covid-19 epidemic, we are not requiring deposits at this time. You are welcome to register to hold your spot without any financial obligation; once we are able to confirm, we will connect with you and request payment. Click on the FREE ticket to hold your spot.

Please note: If you are looking for an experience with no sail training involved, we will be offering opportunities to sail and stay onboard the Harvey Gamage during the Gloucester Schooner Festival (September 4-6); details coming soon.

Metal Working for the Boatbuilder

WHEN: Friday, October 2 – Sunday, October 4

Fri 10-4, Sat 10-4, Sun 10-1

Member: $375 Nonmember: $410

($100 nonrefundable deposit when registering; balance and $30 materials fee due before first class)

A hands-on workshop reviewing basic metal working skills while each student makes their own brass pocket bevel, a handy tool to aid in building and restoring boats. The general goal is to teach skills for fabricating structurally strong, useful, and beautiful small metal objects, such as tools and hardware, without having full metal shop access. Techniques reviewed include:

  • Layouts/marking

  • cutting

  • drilling

  • filing

  • sanding

  • silver brazing

Students will also be instructed how to make and heat treat a steel-tipped marking tool, a step that may not be able to be completed within class time, but material will be provided.

Instructor: Erica Moody teaches metal working classes and workshops at Woodenboat School, Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, The Apprenticeshop, & The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship. She also has been an adjunct for various semesters at Wentworth Institute of Technology and Massachusetts College of Art & Design. She has been working professionally as a metal craftsman in and around Boston for 22 years with the last 15 years running her business Magma Metalworks, Inc., and the last year adding a line of personal work in small metal housewares and woodworking tools. She moved her business and home to Midcoast Maine a couple of years ago, and continues work there as well as in Boston/New England area.

Coastal Navigation Workshop

WHEN: Saturday, October 31 The workshop starts at 9AM and runs until noon; after a lunch break, the class will resume from 1-4PM. LBS Members: $195 Nonmembers: $215 Want to learn to make sense of the colors, symbols and numbers on nautical charts? This one-day introduction to Coastal Navigation will give you hands-on experience in understanding the symbols on the charts, learning about aids to navigation, plotting courses with a variety of plotting tools, using lines of position to find a fix, and taking and finding your latitude and longitude to give or find a position. You will measure distances and use speed, time and distance calculations for a good dead reckoning. There will be navigation exercises for practice. Although there will be some navigational tools provided you are welcome to bring your own. If you have charts of your area, bring them along.


Instructor: Jane Ahlfeld is a 30 year veteran teacher of sailing, seamanship and navigation at the WoodenBoat School in Maine. She teaches navigation on small boats and on the Schooner Mary Day out of Camden, Maine. Jane has done a series of navigational videos for Off Center Harbor. With a background in elementary education she has the patience and understanding in how to introduce concepts in manageable bits.

Build Your Own Fox Double Paddle Canoe with Bill Thomas

This class, offered over two consecutive three-day weekends (November 6-8 and 13-15), will be taught by the boat’s designer Bill Thomas. Students will each have an assembled boat, ready for final sanding and finishing, at the end of the class.


Tuition: $750 (LBS Members get a 10% discount)

The cost for the kit is $1,485 for both members and non-members (no member discount).

Total registration cost:   LBS Members: $2,160    Nonmembers: $2,235


Class begins Friday morning at 8:30am with a brief orientation and overview of what we will accomplish during class time. We’ll work until about 6:00 each evening, and should finish early in the afternoon on Sunday, November 15. Family-built boats or builders with partners are welcome.

Fox is a decked double paddle canoe, a boat intended for protected waters along the coast and for mountain lakes. With an 80” long cockpit, Fox is a grand boat for hunting, fishing and tripping with a dog or young child seated forward of the paddler. Two accessible watertight compartments add flotation and dry gear storage. There’s ample room for a camping kit. A rotating seat back and caned seat insure all day paddling comfort. Fox is 14’7” long with a beam of 30″; the finished weight is just over 40 pounds. For more information please follow this link:

Building the Fox to a high standard takes about 80 hours, including paint and varnish. In a six-day building class the boats are assembled and ready to transport, but students usually finish the epoxy coating, sanding and painting at home. (Once they have the boats home, students will need to provide their own sandpaper, paint, varnish and finishing supplies.) At the end of class all students will have Bill Thomas’s contact information and access to the 21-part building video on the Fox design.

In a review featured in Wooden Boats annual Small Boats issue Mike O’Brien commented on Fox’s handling. “Fox appears to have just the right amount of directional stability. It likes to keep going where we point it, yet it turns easily and predictably.” I’m not sure what more to ask for in a small boat.