Preview: Fretwater Boatworks — Can’t Beat This Place for Fun

Fretwater Boatworks — a legendary someplace in the middle of nowhere.

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35 Responses So Far to “Fretwater Boatworks — Can’t Beat This Place for Fun

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    Dirk Faegre says:

    That few minutes of delightful time on the river and at the boatworks will pay for the next few years of, for sure! Thanks.

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    Winston Shaw says:

    Awesome film! Never been down the Grand canyon in a drift boat but I’ve been there and this documentary does a good job of displaying its grand beauty. Loved the creative technique used to detail the boat shop…the opening and closing of drawers was the perfect way to detail the many steps required to build one of these drift boats. All told a really great documentary and twas neat to see people whistling while they worked!

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    karenlsullivan says:

    Brilliant filmmaking, but your subjects made it easy. I’ve never been in the Grand Canyon but will be taking my first 16-day trip down the Colorado River next week (alas, by raft) and will carry these wonderful images in memory. Jim has made 12 trips down the River and I’m the nervous newbie who now MUST visit Fretwater Boatworks. Thanks for featuring this film, and good timing!

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    Steven Dews says:

    Heart warming to see such a wonderful TEAM of people getting the most out of life with a beautiful cocktail of humour and hard passionate effort.
    Simply inspiring!

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    Kamin Lambertson says:

    Well done film/soundtrack! Inspiration to continue setting up shop here in upstate S Carolina. So we can have fun too!

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    Robert Ford says:

    Nice to see such a wonderful video featuring some of us inland wooden boatbuilders!

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    Steven Feinstein says:

    Thank you for great video. What do you think of rubber boats for safety?

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    Anthony Aman says:

    Maine has beautiful rivers too. The Penobscot drains about a quarter of the state, from Canada to Castine. Now you can explore the lower 100 miles on the newly established
    Penobscot River Paddling Trail. Campsites are being established, mostly with shore access only. Visit for more information.

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    Harold Wheeler says:

    ” When it becomes a job its time to quit” I’m retiring!

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    ken drewry says:

    Enjoyed very much and different for us sail boaters. Wonder where the the design came from

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    Tim Lawrie says:

    This is a beautiful video crafted with humor, art, and humanity.

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    Larry Cheek says:

    The film is beautifully done and the craftspeople’s love for their work is inspiring. I wonder whether they brought that attitude with them to the Fretwater stop, or whether the nature of the work itself generated it. Could be both, though monitoring my own (usually) positive feelings at work in the boat shop makes me suspect that building wooden boats can change a person for the better.

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    Coleen Mennucci says:

    Well Done! A very fun video…loved the details capturing the labels on the work-drawers…the feel of the love, not just for the trade and nature, but for each other and the thrill of the rapids and the fin with cricket….oh, and the music!

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    Richard Neall says:

    Oh boy! What a ride and what a fabulous snippet into the centre of being human. Thanks.

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    John Couch says:

    Highly recommended, Emerald Mile also Anything Worth Doing and The River of Doubt.

    Absolutely loved this video!

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    William Stanard says:

    Did I see an etching of Newport lighthouse keeper Ida Lewis on the shop wall, or was that Cricket in an earlier incarnation?

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      Mike Anderson says:

      Is’nt nature, the outdoors, water, rivers and the seas, the rawness, the pain and discomfort occasionally, the terror now and then, the sublime thinking and joy of being there, the toil and the rest just marvellous? Why doesn’t everyone get this? We have some rivers to ride here in Oz, and the vast Outback. Same feelings, same joy. Love the video. Thank you from Australia.

  • Doug Hermann

    Doug Hermann says:

    Awesome addition to the OCH library. Gives me an urge to explore more about the Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Dams, etc. Will start with the Emerald Mile as suggested by Steve Brookman above.

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    Steve Brookman says:

    Good timing as I’m reading the Emerald Mile by Kevin Fedarko. An in depth history of the river, building and fights over the dams, the boats, guides and rides through the Grand Canyon. Same characters, boats, a great read to go along with this video.

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    Luca Bacchi says:

    really special story, a way of being fully human

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    Thomas Tamaccio says:

    Brings me back to my Bucket List time hiking into and out of that wonderful Grand Canyon. The boat builders and river runners are awesome! Thanks for this.

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    Edward Titus says:

    In 2019 I helped build a Colorado River Dory with Brad at the Wooden Boat School. Ten of us built the dory in 10 days, launched it off the waterfront, and Brad had us flip the boat over just to show us how to flip it back again. All part of the craziness and joy that Brad brings to the world.

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    Spencer Day says:

    Another wonderful contribution to all of OCH’s alternatives to losing oneself in online film-watching. It’s refreshing to see and hear boatbuilders “just doing it” and having fun!

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    Paul Corneliussen says:

    Sunday morning coffee and this short film; amazing!
    Thanks for posting this beautiful story….

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    Jake Frankhouser says:

    Inspiring, I needed this today. Thanks Crew for for posting this.

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    Richard Slingerland says:

    Wonderful video! It’s a glimpse into three lives and their talents as crafts people. Their philosophy on work, life and their art needs to be in our own lives no matter what we do. Have fun.