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Canandaigua kids sail to new lengths

The Blue Heron, a small sailboat built this spring by eighth-graders at the Canandaigua Academic & Career Center, is in storage now.

But she will be ready to catch some Canandaigua winds again in September when the kids return to school.

Seven students in D.J. Kitzel’s woodcraft class retrofitted a skiff kit donated by Bill Wheeler into the small sailboat they call the Blue Heron, sharing its name with the park next to the center.

Kitzel said Wheeler owned the building when it was a daycare center and is very supportive of the woodcraft program.

The kit contained basic wood panels, but no instructions or a company name. Kitzel said he has built canoes and kayaks before, but nothing like this.

“We did research and we wrote our own set of directions, based on watching videos,” Kitzel said. “We learned together, and I was learning side by side right along with them because I’ve never built a sailboat stem to stern before.”

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