The school owes its existence to an endowment provided by the late Donlon Arques who laid the groundwork for the school prior to his death in 1993. Our program is for those who love traditional wooden boats and wish to help preserve the history, design, and construction methods of this craft.

At the end of his life, Don Arques defined the purpose of the nonprofit corporation he founded as:

“a school and center for the restoration and replication of small wooden boats that have had historical significance in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.”

The school has kept these purposes as the core of its program. The building of the historic gillnet boat and the restoration of the West Coast’s oldest sailing yacht, the Freda, are examples of this. In addition, a number of traditional wooden boats from other parts of the United States and Canada have been built at the school. THE ARQUES SCHOOL DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE ON THE BASIS OF RACE, GENDER, RELIGION, OR SEXUAL ORIENTATION.


Robert Darr, Founder of the Arques School in 1996, is School Director.  He teaches the School’s Traditional Yacht Design Class, Celestial Navigation Class, and the Advanced Class in traditional boatbuilding.

Raymond Cage, a Director on the Arques Board and the main historian at the Arques School.  Raymond started working for Don Arques while still a teenager. He continued working on and off at the Arques shipyard until Don’s passing away in 1993. Raymond has been studying the Arques Maritime Preservation Foundation’s large collection of documents and organizing them for future reference.