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Ship Modelers Guild moves to Riverside Community Center

By Staff | Jan 21, 2015

After nearly 30 years of existence in southernmost Lee County, the Southwest Florida Ship Modelers Guild has moved further north in hopes of finding younger enthusiasts who live north of the river.

The guild has moved to Riverside Community Center at 3061 E. Riverside Drive in downtown Fort Myers, where it will hold meetings and classes on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month starting at 9:30 a.m.

Russell McCathron, purser of the guild (they do not call themselves a club), said they exist to help mentor and teach wooden ship modelers.

The guild is the oldest wooden ship modeling guild in Southwest Florida. It started in the mid 1980s building historic wooden ships from the 18th and 19th centuries, and was once located at the south end of Old 41 near Naples.

Four years ago, the guild split when half of the members wanted it to be more as a social club. The remainder of the guild moved to the Bonita Springs Community Center before coming the Riverside in November.

“The further north we get the more people we’ll be able to draw from. We’re about 50/50 locals and snowbirds and we’d like to get more locals,” McCathron said. “Fort Myers is more centralized and Riverside has worked out well. It has a classroom and a workshop.”

The guild specializes in wood model ships, but will support anything except plastic, McCathron said.

The guild covers all areas such as what type to wood to use, selecting plans, hull construction, sail making, rigging and even ship ornamentation carving. This is to create a scale replica of classic ships from the sail age and other boats of interest.

The guild has 17 members and is looking to recruit younger people. Many in the club are 60 and over, with two original members still around.

“In today’s society, they aren’t interested in putting things together. We’d like to get some younger people to learn how to do it,” McCathron said. “We have a member who has models on display in museums all over the country. He’s that good.”

For more information, contact McCathron at 458-9383.