Across sparkling Newport Harbor from the Museum of Yachting is its partner institution, the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS). One preserves yachts and the lore of sailing, and the other preserves the skills of the shipwright.
The IYRS has campuses in both Newport and Bristol, Rhode Island, and has three accredited schools: the School of Boatbuilding & Restoration, the School of Marine Systems, and the School of Composites Technology. The Marine Systems and Composite Technology programs are located at the Bristol location, while the Boatbuilding and Restoration program is situated on Thames Street on Newport’s waterfront.
Restoration Hall, a four-story brick building, is home to the Boatbuilding & Restoration program’s offices and the shop floor—the heart of the school’s activities where the students learn the practical, hands-on skills of the shipwright. The boat restoration program is a 20-month curriculum, and the school welcomes visitors to watch apprentice boatbuilders as they give new life to old boats. On the day I visited, 12 boats were in various stages of restoration.