Frequently Asked Questions

95% of CLC boat kits are built at home by folks like you. However, a class will get you through construction with a professional boatbuilder hanging over your shoulder. You enjoy the fun---and extra hands---of a group setting. You get the convenience of starting and completing major assembly in just one week. You'll have lavishly equipped shops at your disposal. Not only will you walk away with a boat, you'll have gained skills that will allow you to tackle a more ambitious boat building project. Trust us---once you've built one boat, you'll need to build another!

Why should I take a class?


Classes last 5 1/2 to 6 days, beginning at 8am on Monday and ending before 5p on Saturday.

How long are the boatbuilding classes?


CLC classes are normally Monday through Saturday, starting at 8a.

Andover, MN classes start at 8a. We have been considering starting Sunday evening and going into Saturday in order to be able to allow 1 coat of varnish to dry before you leave (not yet approved).

Classes start at 8 in the morning and end between 5 and 6 in the evening, with an hour off for lunch. Some days might run longer, particularly the Tuesday in stitch-and-glue classes. (Deck to Hull assembly day!)

What are the hours?


Whether you're building a kayak or a bigger boat, results are about the same: you will get major assembly done in the course of the week, including fiberglass work. Sailboats will require assembly of components like rudders and spars at home. In all cases, final finishing work---sanding, varnishing, painting, and final fit-out, will take place at home. We go as fast as we can during the week, consistent with professional-quality boat building work. Some of the kayaks (Wood Ducks, for example) are finished enough for a quick paddle at the end of the class, but you'll still need to apply varnish and other bits.

How much do you get done in a week?


Where are the classes held?

Our classes are held in Andover, MN. 22 minutes north of Minneapolis. Drift North Paddle Co is currently located inside Boardwalk DIY Studio, 1574 154th Ave NW #107B, Andover, MN 55304

Where does the kit ship after I order?

When registering for a class - all boat kits and supplies will be shipped to our Andover, MN location. This allows us to check the inventory, make sure everything arrived safe and allow us to prep each kit before you arrive for your first day of class.

How skilled do I need to be to take a class?

All classes are adapted to first-time boatbuilders with little or no woodworking experience. It will be challenging, but we won't let you falter or do crummy work. Even pros will be challenged - every class we teach has a variety of backgrounds and skill sets.

Who can take a class?

All are welcome - you just need to be willing to learn. Most students are adults. Children accompanied by a parent or guardian should be 10 or 12 or older and possess a good attention span. Unaccompanied kids should be 16 or older with good focus and work ethics. All students should be ready for a very busy week of between 45 and 60 hours of physical labor.

How physically fit do I need to be?

Building a boat in a week requires persistent physical labor, averaging 8-9 hours per day Monday-Friday and 4 - 8 hours on Saturday. We host students of every age and background, but everyone should expect to be standing and working with their hands for a full week. Because of the light weight of our designs there is little, if any, heavy lifting.

Please note: Floors are concrete and ceilings are 9 ft high (14 feet high without the ceiling tiles). You must be able to stand and move around on concrete for the majority of class. Feel free to bring a camp chair - but you may not complete your project if you find yourself sitting too much during the week.

Can more than one person work on one boat?

Absolutely. We encourage assistants, pairs, and teams. Assistants will pay a reduced tuition for the week, typically $400-$450 each.

How much does a class cost?

All prices are established by Chesapeake Light Craft.

You'll cover the boat kit---prices available in our catalog---and pay tuition. Tuition runs from $800 to $900 per week, depending on the class. You DO NOT have to order the boat kit separately. It's a package deal, and your specially-prepared boat kit will be waiting for you when you show up for the first day of your class. Please note that because of the particular nature of the kits, special discount pricing and other promotions don't apply to boats built in classes.

Why don't promotions and kit sale prices apply to class-built boats?

Unfortunately, the CLC kit promotions are never applicable to our build-your-own boat (or camper) classes. This is simply because of the extra value we build into each kit prepared for a build-your-own class. The extra value usually entails two days of boat kit prep work for the instructor and another one of our staff builders. Instructors execute a long list of "preshow" tasks in order to make our tightly choreographed week-long building schedule possible and have the students up and running early Monday morning.

All prices are established by Chesapeake Light Craft.

How do I sign up for a class?

Not all classes are booked by CLC. Many Chesapeake Light Craft classes are administered by other organizations, including the WoodenBoat School. Depending upon the class, you'll sign up and pay either through CLC, through WoodenBoat, Drift Noth Paddle Co or possibly another party. We recognize that this can be a little confusing. The thing to do is to click on the class that you want to take, and on that page we'll tell you who to contact to sign up for the class. If you have questions about any of our classes, please contact us!

Where do I stay while taking a boat building class?

It is up to you to locate lodging and food. Feel free to check out availability [here]. We are working on finding group rates and searching for the closest hotels to our Studio. Once we have a custom list - we will post here.

Can I build any boat I want in the class?

Teaching several different boat designs at once in the same classroom is more than any instructor can manage. You cannot, for example, build an Oxford Shell in a kayak class. You may, however, build a Chesapeake 18 in a Chesapeake 17LT class, or a Shearwater 14 in a Shearwater 17 class. You'll need to let us know well in advance! Contact us with any questions about this.

Currently, Drift North Paddle Co only offers classes for the Wood Duck and Shearwater models. Many of the other models will not fit out of our doors.

I already have one of your kits. Can I bring the kit to your class?

With difficulty. We prefer brand new kits that we can manage from start to finish.

However, you can contact John and he may be able to help cara a cara (aka one on one). The final decision may be simply a matter of being able to get your project through our doors.

No matter what the scenario - you'll need to talk it over with the instructor. CLC class kits are different than those sold and shipped individually. While you will go home with the same boat at the end, it doesn't start as the same boat kit that consumers receive at home. There are many tweaks in kits destined for classes, not the least of which is that many parts are already assembled to full-length before the class begins. Since it's very important for students to start and finish each step in sync with the class syllabus---or risk falling behind---someone starting from a different pile of parts is going to be out of sync. Again, you'll need to discuss it with the instructor.

How do you choose which boats are offered in classes?

There is variation every year, but we focus on the most popular models. We offer the largest variety we can. We chose boats that we are familiar with as well as what fits inside our facility AND what can fit through the doors when you leave. We focus on boats that we can build in a tightly choreographed week.

  • 2019 will focus on the Wood Duck and Shearwater

  • late 2019 and 2020 will focus on the Sassafras

  • late 2020 and 2021 we will focus on the Kaholo Paddle Board

As we focus on new models - we will not ignore the current boat models. We will continue to offer classes in previous models.

How will I get my boat home?

You'll need to arrange to leave with your boat on the last day of the class. None of our locations have the space to store your boat. All class boats may be cartopped, given sturdy roof racks. Trailers are also an option but should be on hand before class begins. Shipping IS NOT available via our Andover, MN location.

Who teaches the boatbuilding classes?

Classes are taught only by professional boatbuilders - between classes we are building wooden boats one on one, as a merit badge class, as commissioned work - or just because it’s fun. Chesapeake Light Craft requires that instructors have a specialty in the boat that they're teaching, and they must have taught classes before. They are familiar with the one-week syllabus and have worked with every skill level, and they have to be fun to spend a week with.

Drift North Paddle Co currently has one boat instructor experienced with the wooden Teardrop Camper, the Wood Duck 12 and 14 - as well as the Shearwater. John has taught/mentored for over 25 years at every age level on a variety of wood working, crafting and home building projects.

If you need to cancel:

Students who cancel 30 days or less before the class begins will not receive refunds.

If we need to cancel:

In the event of an emergency or a lack of registrations, Drift North Paddle Co reserves the right to cancel classes and refund all tuition and boat kit money. Because of this policy, we strongly urge you to buy refundable airline tickets or flight insurance. Drift North Paddle Co will not be responsible for any loss on nonrefundable airline tickets. Barring a serious emergency (it's never happened), the only reason we'd cancel is a lack of registrations for the class. In this case we will cancel the class 30 days before the class begins.