Fisherman's Academy Launch

It's bittersweet to see our current class of Fisherman's Academy students launch their Susan Skiffs. It's been a pleasure to have them here as a part of our Shop community, and while it is exciting to see them complete their boats and put them in the water, we are also sad to see them go.

They've been coming to the Shop since 2016 from Oceanside East. They come two to three days a week to participate in hands-on skill development and problem-solving challenges rooted in traditional maritime culture. The Fisherman’s Academy program was initiated to provide engaging and practical experiences for high school students interested in fisheries and other marine-related trades as part of their high school curriculum and credit towards their diploma.

The students began the program as Sophomores and built mast hoops as well as traditional bent bow lobster traps with help from a longtime lobsterman from Port Clyde. Traps were set and hauled in Rockland harbor using Ruth, a Shop-built Crotch Island Pinky, which was traditionally used to lobster in this region. The next phase of the program focused on skills with hand tools, enabling students to build a mallet that was then used in the process of building toolboxes. The students were introduced to seamanship and sail theory by constructing foam buoy boats that could be configured with different rigs, as well as going out on full-day expeditions in Penobscot Bay. Their senior year has been dedicated to building the two Susan Skiffs, which will be inherited by two students who plan to continue fishing full-time. 

Building the skiffs served as an excellent vehicle for teaching basic navigation skills, math, and physics. The ability to observe abstract ideas in practice has helped students grasp concepts that they had struggled to learn in a traditional classroom setting. As the Fisherman’s Academy had a dedicated space carved out for it on the shop floor, students were provided an opportunity to observe, interact with, and learn from the full-time apprentices. By participating in launches, joining in on Walk-Around, and sharing in Friday lunches, students became part of the larger Shop community.  

The 2018-2019 program will continue with a new cohort of students and be partially funded through a National Park Service’s National Maritime Heritage grant. 

The video below was produced by Scott Sell and shows some highlights from the past year and a half of the program. 

Terry Moore Lecture

Viking Ship 2.png

Don't forget to make room in your schedule this Wednesday at 6pm for Terry Moore's lecture at the Apprenticeshop!

Terry will talk about his experience as the captain of a replica Viking ship that retraced Leif Erikson's voyage of discovery to the New World. 

It's free and open to everyone with a suggested donation of $10. We hope to see you all there!

Have You Met Our Three New Apprentices?

Rachel and Matthew


Where are you from?

Shapleigh, ME

What brought you to the Apprenticeshop?

I wanted a change of pace and I wasn't happy with what I was doing. It seemed like a fun adventure working with my hands.

What were you doing before you came here?

I was a Mortgage Loan Officer for a mortgage company.

What do you like best about the Shop so far?

I love the fact that there's so much to learn. At this point, I'm still learning how to use the tools and how to put the boat together. I love learning the small details and why they matter.

What has been most difficult for you in your first few weeks here?

Learning the lingo.

If you could have any shop superpower, what would it be?

Cutting in without having to take forever and a day.

Where are you from?

Bozeman, MT

What brought you to the Apprenticeshop?

I wanted to do something more useful in a community.

What were you doing before you came here?

I was a Barista and I worked on a goat farm; I was literally a kidder. Goat vaginas and dead baby cans - that's my previous life. 

What do you like best about the Shop so far?

The people here aren't judgmental. I've asked a thousand stupid questions and everyone has been so patient with me. 

What has been most difficult for you in your first few weeks here?

Math, definitely the math.

If you could have any shop superpower, what would it be?

I would be a geometer so I could be better at the math part of things.




Where are you from?

Lake Tahoe, NV

What brought you to the Apprenticeshop?

I like boats a lot and I wanted to build wooden boats.

What were you doing before you came here?

I was finishing up school. 

What do you like best about the Shop so far?

I like that I've already had a chance to get out on the water and I've already started to build a boat.

What has been most difficult for you in your first few weeks here?

I'm a pretty novice woodworker so there's a lot to learn there. It's the most difficult, but it's also fun and one of the reasons why I'm here. 

If you could have any shop superpower, what would it be?

I would love to instantly know what bevel angle I was looking at.

Breakwater Blast Regatta

By Tori Willauer


Last Sunday, 5 Maine High School Sailing teams gathered at the Apprenticeshop for a day of fleet racing. Teams included: Rockland Community Sailing, Islesboro Central School, Mount Desert High School, George Steven Academy, and Boothbay High School.

The day started out with zero wind but we did get two races off, drifting around the course. This was a JV regatta with A and B fleets that sailed as one large fleet of 15 boats. By the end of the afternoon, the wind filled in and we had 7 races. Rockland Community Sailing placed third overall, with 52 points. Boothbay High School came in second with 26 points. And Islesboro Central School was first overall, with 14 points.



Rockland Community Sailing (RCS) - Skippers: Alton Coolidge, Ella Ryan, William Eggena. Crew: Claudia Fox, Lizzie Larson and Spenser Dorr.

Mount Sesert High School (MDI) -Skippers: Nate Ingebritson, Nate Philbrooke, Jacob Peobody, Naomi Welch. Crew: Alec Fisichella, Sofie Dowling, Alex Burnett, Sarah Knox, and Kylie Higgins.

George Steven’s Academy (GSA): Skippers: Katie Forrest, Crew: Susanna Jakub, Hope Bowden and Ryan Mitchell.

Islesboro Central School (ICS): Skippers :Sophie LAu, Lake Lindelof, Jasper Louden. Crew: Pia Gibson, Anika Rogers, Rylee Sienkiewics and Jett Lindelof.

BoothBay High School (BBHS): Skippers:  Ella Beauregard, Nate Greaves, Toby Clarkson and Bobby Clarkson. Crew: Hamilton Barclay, Nate Rideout and Della Hahn.

Welcome Ray!


Ray Hurley is new to the Shop. He started as a 12-week student two weeks ago. We wanted to check in and see how his first two weeks here have been...

Where are you from?

Tampa Florida

What brought you to the Apprenticeshop?

I heard about it through a boat show. I've wanted to build a boat for a while but I was gainfully employed. I'm retired now.

What were you doing before you retired?

I was a professor at the University of South Florida in three departments: the Communications, Sciences and Disorders Department, the Psychology Department, and the Ear, Nose, and Throat Department. I taught grad students, medical students, residents, and also did research on hearing and balance.

What do you like best about the Shop?

The togetherness of the people here; it's a very nice community. People are accommodating, willing to share information - it's a very nice educational environment.

What has been most difficult for you in your first two weeks here?

I've been a little too aggressive with a chisel or a plane. I'm learning to control that urgency of mine.

John England Lecture


Our lecture series continues... 

On Wednesday April 25th at 6pm, John England, who has worked in the boatbuilding industry for over 40 years, will share his experiences restoring the Elizabeth II, a replica of the barque used for Walter Raleigh's expedition to North Carolina in 1584. 

There is a suggested donation of $10 to attend the lecture.  Payment will be accepted at the door.

Alex and Nick's Launch

By Thomas Turansky

This past Thursday, apprentices Alex Krills and Nick Putnam launched their Susan Skiff. Alex and Nick started their apprenticeships last May and were both excited to finally launch after finishing their boat in February. Their skiff was actually sold before it was even completed, so the new owners got to be a part of the launch too. 


Neither Alex nor Nick had woodworking or boatbuilding experience prior to starting their apprenticeships. They've made a lot of progress over the last year they've been here. Both of them have moved on to their next projects; Alex is building a Joel White Nutshell Pram and Nick is working with several others to finish the Mackinaw down on the 1st floor.


Susan Skiff launches are always an inspiring event because they usually represent the very first
boat built and launched by an apprentice, many of who have never built anything before. 


The process of building your first boat is difficult. There are a lot of unknowns, and sometimes it feels like you are stumbling half blind through the process. It can be frustrating; you have to struggle with self doubt, with your own personal strengths and limitations. While you are building a boat, it is difficult to stand back and see the object you've created as something separate from the process you've gone through. But when you put the boat in the water, there is a shift in perspective. It becomes possible to see the boat as something separate from yourself and feel satisfaction in the completion. 

Whether it’s a Susan Skiff or a large commission, launch days are special moments. We hope that you can join is for one soon!