NEWPORT, R.I. -- While other graduates may fill the air this time of year with mortarboards , students at the International Yacht Restoration School cast their boats upon the water.
The public is invited to the school's Launch Day on Saturday, a waterfront spectacle during which the students demonstrate the effectiveness of their education in true sink-or-swim fashion.
Located on the Newport waterfront, the school operates a hands-on program in classic boat restoration, construction, and maintenance. This year, students will launch a small fleet of restored wooden boats, including eight Beetle Cats (a classic 12-foot sailboat design that originated in New Bedford in 1921), a Herreshoff S-Boat from the famous Bristol yacht builder, and two 21-foot sailboats from Manhasset Bay One -Designs.
Visitors should gather at the docks behind the school by 11:15 a.m. for an 11:30 launch. Also on the property is a translucent hangar-like structure housing the yacht Coronet. The restoration of this 133-foot schooner yacht, a National Historic Landmark built in 1885, is the school's most ambitious on going project.
International Yacht Restoration School, 449 Thames St. 401-848-5777. www.iyrs.org. From Boston, take Interstate 93 south to Route 24 south into Rhode Island, where it becomes Route 114 south , following signs to Newport. Take West Main Road exit, and continue for 7.4 miles. Bear right at Broadway, then left at Thames Street in 1.4 miles. PATRICIA HARRIS