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Mark Paxton (Class of 2014) hired at Ballenger Spar Systems in Watsonville, CA

Mark Paxton-001From Mark, “I just started Tuesday at Ballenger Spar Systems.  I’m very excited to continue the journey that I began at Boat School — learning new things and acquiring some new skills.  Buzz Ballenger has been at it for nearly 40 years. Ballenger has built rigs for Bill Lee (Santa Cruz Yachts), Olsen, Farrier, Corsair trimarans, Moore Sailboats, and custom work for racing and cruising yachts in tandem with marine architects.

Not much of the work is in wood, but rather aluminum, stainless steel and carbon fiber.  Ballenger machines the bits and pieces that go on masts and booms, so I’ll be picking up experience running CAD programs on CNC machinery, and eventually working on a water cutter that slices through plates of steel and aluminum like a knife through butter.  I’ll be able to hone welding skills as well.  You might check the Web site ( 215 Walker St, Watsonville, CA 95076; (831) 763-1196.

Lest you worry that I’ve stopped making sawdust, you should see and smell my garage!  I’m turning out bits and pieces, and I have a personal boat project on deck as well.

I hope you’re all doing well.  I think of you often, and always with the deepest gratitude.  I left a large piece of my heart at Boat School.  Mary and I know that some day, some how, we’ll be back on the Quimper Peninsula.  Until then, the adventure continues.”


The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding is everyone’s wooden boat school!