WOLFEBORO — The Wolfeboro Sailboat Sharing Program (a partnership between Wolfeboro Parks and Recreation, New Hampshire Boat Museum and Brewster Academy) has been selected by the editors of New Hampshire Magazine as "Best of NH 2014".
The innovative program was started 3 years ago when a boat was donated to the New Hampshire Boat Museum by Tuftonboro resident Bill Stockman. While the staff and volunteers of the Museum were considering what to do with the boat, Wolfeboro resident Bob Lemaire came forward with the idea of a sailboat sharing program, which he pitched to the Wolfeboro Parks and Recreation Department and the New Hampshire Boat Museum. The basic concept of the program is that community members and visitors can buy a "membership" or "share" of the boat for a season (which was set as a low flat fee of $400), and then use the boat throughout the season without the hassle of ownership, registration, maintenance and repairs, moorings, trailering, insurance, etc.
The program effectively lowered the cost of boating so that a diverse array of community members can get out and enjoy sailing on Lake Winnipesaukee without having to cover the full expense of ownership on their own.
Both the Wolfeboro Parks and Recreation Department and the New Hampshire Boat Museum enthusiastically endorsed the innovative idea from Lemaire. Ethan Hipple, Wolfeboro's Director of Parks and Recreation, said, "Think about the typical boat on the lake—it sits vacant for probably 95% of the time and gets used only occasionally after work or on the weekends. And then think of all of the people who sit on shore wishing they could afford to get out on the water. Well, this innovative concept solved both of these problems simultaneously."
While New Hampshire Boat Museum volunteers set about restoring the boat for use by the public, the Wolfeboro Parks and Recreation Department developed a scheduling system, guidelines for members of the program and set up an partnership with Brewster Academy to be able to moor the boat on one of the school moorings in Wolfeboro Bay, creating a convenient public access point for members of the program.
Wolfeboro Parks and Recreation Staff run skill tests for each member of the program, after which they are permitted to take the boat out on their own throughout the operating season from mid-June to the end of September. 2014 is the third year of operation of the program and enrollment is high, with plans in place to grow the fleet of boats that are available to members in the future. Space is limited in the program and only a few memberships remain; those interested should contact the Wolfeboro Parks and Recreation Department at 603-569-5639 or register online at http://www.wolfeboronh.us/Pages/WolfeboroNH_Recreation/index.
"We're thrilled to have our cooperative partnership honored by the editors of New Hampshire Magazine. The sailboat sharing program is one of the many programs of the New Hampshire Boat Museum which actively get people out enjoying our pristine lakes," said Lisa Simpson Lutts, Executive Director of the museum.
New Hampshire Magazine is the state's premier lifestyle magazine. It is published by McLean Communications, a media company based in Manchester, New Hampshire. Its other publications include New Hampshire Business Review, New Hampshire Home, Parenting New Hampshire and BRIDE. McLean, which also specializes in event and custom publishing projects, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yankee Publishing, Inc., publishers of Yankee Magazine and The Old Farmer's Almanac.