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Originally published August 19, 2010 at 4:17 PM | Page modified August 19, 2010 at 4:59 PM

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Center for Wooden Boats cuts hours, regattas after hitting funding snag

The Center for Wooden Boats, which operates on Lake Union, is cutting back its hours and canceling two regattas this year because of funding problems.

Seattle Times staff reporter

The Center for Wooden Boats, which operates on Lake Union, is cutting back its hours and canceling two regattas this year because of funding problems.

"Like all nonprofits, our income is down," said Heron Scott, deputy director. "We had a pretty conservative projection, but not conservative enough. Our grant dollars are down and our corporate sponsorship is down as well."

In a letter sent to members and volunteers, executive director of the center Betsy Davis said it will cut three staff positions, reduce hours of the boat-rental shack and cancel two regattas.

In addition, she said, the center will have to move out of the nearby Armory when the Museum of History & Industry moves in. It now has classrooms and offices there.

Scott said visitors will not notice much difference at the center, although the boat-rental at the center's livery will be open weekends only October through March. Scott said winter months are generally slow.

The Norm Blanchard and Frostbite regattas have been canceled. They're two of the three regattas the center sponsors each year, said Scott.

What won't change are the free boat rides on Sundays.

"More disappointing is the need to scale back our operations over the next six to eight months to further adjust to the economic realities impacting businesses and nonprofits across the country," wrote Davis.

Scott said the average boat rentals at the center this year are about 120 a week. That number is down 15 percent from last year, which the center attributes to the cold spring and Lake Union Park construction limiting access to the center.

Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or sgilmore@seattletimes.com

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