METC Classes Are Tailored to Busy Boaters

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (10/25/97)
By Ray Pendleton

If you read last week's Water Ways column, you know that Brian "BJ" Caldwell, Hawaii's sailing-solo circumnavigator, is presently preparing his boat - a North Atlantic 29, aptly named CapeSeeker, and loaned to him by Waikiki Yacht Club's Robert Asakura - for another record-making voyage around the world.

As someone who will be depending upon his boat and its preparation for his very life, it is fitting that BJ is outfitting it at the most state-of-the-art boat maintenance facility in the U.S., the Community College's Marine Education and Training Center on Sand Island.

Since its opening in the fall of 1995, the METC has offered its students a comprehensive education in the art of boat building and repair. Classes cover such diversified subjects as engine maintenance, fiberglass lay-up, woodworking, rigging, plumbing, electrical systems, and spray painting.

For BJ, who is under severe budget constraints, the METC is just the place to haul out in preparation for his upcoming non-stop, unassisted circumnavigation of the world. The workmanship is first-rate - as ensured by director David Flagler and instructor Gary Brookins - the tools and equipment are the best in Hawai`i, and yet the cost is about a third of what he would pay elsewhere.

Students working on BJ's boat have the rare opportunity to have a hands-on relationship with a vessel that will soon be on an historic voyage.

Because Hawai`i has many people who are interested in boating, but who do not have the time or inclination to become full-time students, Flagler has created an assortment of somewhat bite-sized marine education courses. Most are one meeting, non-credit classes, and cover a wide spectrum of recreational boating interests.

If you have just bought a boat and want to know how to operate it in a safe manner, you can spend a day with U.H. Head Sailing Coach Andy Johnson and Waikiki Yacht Club Sailing Director Guy Fleming to learn all the basics.

Perhaps your old outboard is starting to give you problems. You can bring it and a few basic hand tools to a class given by Mark Kimura on how to keep your Johnson/Evinrude running.

Battery maintenance is a basic, yet often ignored operation on a boat, and yet it can save you considerable time and money. Let Dan of ElectroMarine Servicesteach you how to get the most out of your boat's battery in just three hours one evening this fall.

A class on boat trailer maintenance and construction, given by Spectrum Trailers manager Peter Ells, is bound to be a hit with the many trailer-boat owners on O`ahu.

And, naturally, all boaters should brush up on their knot-tying skills by taking the classes given by the METC's Gary Brookins.

The METC is offering paddlers five different classes ranging from basic kayaking, buying a kayak and kayak touring, to a day kayak tour of Kaneohe Bay and how to use a kayak on snorkeling or SCUBA diving trips. There will even be a class on how to select and purchase an outrigger canoe paddle.

For the experienced sailor looking to obtain a Coast Guard license, merchant captain Steven Jackson will be presenting a couple of three-hour classes designed to ease the pain of filling out the required paperwork.

If the course you're looking for is missing, Flagler says he expects to add more courses of this nature in the Spring semester.

"We are also open to suggestions from the community," Flagler added.

You can contact him at 832-3682 regarding class times, tuition expenses, or to recommend courses you would like to see in the future.

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