Announcing the Delay of the Opening of The Cement Boat School™ Posted on July 1st, 2010 by

Image by Phil Guyford at

For immediate release

Brooklin, Maine

July 1, 2010

Photo courtesy Claude Brew

Although we know how disappointing this news will be to the many of you out there who have already said you cannot wait to come to beautiful Brooklin, Maine to take a class at our state-of-the-art classroom facility (see photo at right), we are forced to announce that the opening season of The Cement Boat School™ will be delayed yet another year.  What with the economy and all, we just haven’t been able to line up (okay, pay) the kind of quality teaching staff that this sort of endeavor invites—requires, really, if it’s going to float, you should pardon the pun.

Another thing that has slowed us down a bit is the little problem of what we’ll actually be teaching at The Cement Boat School™—something about which some of you out there (and we won’t name names) have been more than a bit skeptical. “Just where,” these cement boat naysayers ask, “is the fine craftsmanship involved in slapping some cement over a bunch of rebar?* Where are the centuries of technique upon which you are going to call in order to justify charging people hundreds of dollars to teach them how to slap cement on rebar? Where is the joinerwork on a cement boat? What is the equivalent of lofting, or rigging, or lapstraking in the cement boat building business? And what,” (they’ve really got a head of steam on now!), “just what is the aesthetic pleasure in setting to sea in a chunk of concrete?”

To those nattering nabobs of negativism, we have just one thing to say: would you want to set to sea in a cement boat made by someone who didn’t know what the heck they were doing when they built it?

We rest our case.

And while we’re at it, we might as well go ahead right now and clear up one thing right now. Yes, we’re The Cement Boat School™ (well, actually, that italics part is not trademarked), but the truth is, we’re going to train the next generation of concrete boat makers. “Cement; concrete: what’s the difference?” you ask.

We’re glad you asked. For one thing, questions like this one just show the need for this kind of school, where people can get trained in the basics of concrete boat construction and navigation. And for another thing, it gives us the chance to explain one of the things we’ve actually learned about the subject, and we figure this will boost your confidence in our ability to teach you how to be a master (or mistress) cement boat builder.

So, what’s the difference? We always like to explain it this way: think of it like that old square/rectangle thing. You know the one we mean? All squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares? It’s kind of like that, only different. You see, you need cement to make concrete. Cement is just the stuff that cements—get it?—the other stuff in the concrete together. So all concrete has cement, but not all cement is concrete. Sort of. Now things get a little bit complicated, because most of the boats that get called “cement boats” really are concrete boats made of a material that is called ferro-cement, even though it’s really kind of like a concrete, it being a mixture of cement and some other stuff. So even those boats are really concrete boats when all is said and done. And then there are those concrete canoes built and raced by those clever engineering students. Those things really are concrete; it’s like trying to float your basement. You think that’s easy? And of course at The Cement Boat School™, we’ll be teaching the full battery of techniques that a concrete canoe maker and paddler will need to be at the top of their craft and beat those engineering geeks at their own game.**

So why didn’t we register our school under the name The Concrete Boat School™? (Well, I guess strictly speaking we don’t need that little ™ symbol, because we didn’t register our school under that name, and thus it isn’t trademarked, though we did consider doing it, just so that some scoundrel over in South Brooksville couldn’t buy the name and try to horn in on our business. But to be honest, we just didn’t have the cash for that kind of preemptive marketing. Things are tight, what with the prices for good-quality concrete pretty much going through the roof these days.) We didn’t call ourselves The Concrete Boat School (I’ll skip the trademark symbol since, I guess, we aren’t really entitled to use it) for two reasons. One, nobody really knows or cares what the difference is between concrete and cement, and cement is just as good a name as concrete, and two, we have a really good school song for a school called The Cement Boat School™, but not for The Concrete Boat School. And we don’t know about you, but we think there’s nothing that builds school spirit and pride like a school song—which is why it’s surprising that our slightly better known neighbor down the road doesn’t have an official song.

*We’d add: over a bunch of rebar for instance; that is just one of the methods of cement boat construction, and the fact that this naysayer acts like it’s the only one just shows you how ignorant some people are.

**We’re still researching concrete kayaks. It’s a little tougher to make something you can roll…


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