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CFCC Boat-Building Instructor participates in last boat show before retiring

This Saturday marks the 13th Annual Boat Show for Cape Fear Community College – and the final show for one of CFCC’s master craftsmen.

Lead Boat-Building Instructor Ed Verge started teaching at CFCC in 1996 and has, over the last 16 years, expanded the Boat Building School’s curriculum.  But, as WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn reports, Verge is poised to make his final voyage in the CFCC Boat Building Shop.

Ed Verge is standing in front of a 23-foot wooden boat hull that will ultimately become a center-console sport fishing boat.  At this stage, the frame looks less like a boat and more like the remains of some prehistoric creature.  Verge says knowing how to build wooden boats requires such a high level of craft, that the skill can be applied in countless other ways – such as creating fine cabinets.

 “You can also work in an architectural mill workshop.  You can do interior trim on houses.  I’ve built 3 houses myself when times were tough.  I’ve built staircases, furniture, custom cabinets – all that kind of stuff… If you have the skills to make the weird shapes we make on boats, everything else is a piece of cake.”

It may be elementary for Verge, but he admits that many students don’t make it all the way through the program. 

“I think a little less than half actually go into boat-building.  It’s a tough sport.” 

So what is it about the craft that intrigues him? 

“I love the problem-solving.  I really do.  I love the fact that, at the end of the day, you can sit down and say, ‘My God, did I do that?’” 

But for Ed Verge, it’s time for a change. 

“What do you plan to do now?"

"Goin’ sailing!!... Going down to the Antilles – to the Islands!"

"How long will that trip be?"

"Indefinite… indefinite.” 

CFCC’s 13th Annual Boat Show is this Saturday, July 21st from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM at the CFCC Riverfront in downtown Wilmington.

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 4 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.