Rockland’s Apprenticeshop appoints new board directors

Posted March 01, 2011, at 9:30 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 6:37 a.m.

ROCKLAND — The Apprenticeshop, a school for traditional boatbuilding and seamanship, recently welcomed six new directors to its board.

Craftsman and sailor Alec Brainerd, one of the last graduates of the Rockport Artisans College (a previous form of The Apprenticeshop), is the owner and founder of Artisan Boatworks in Rockport, where he operates a state-of-the-art boatbuilding shop to build and restore wooden boats. There, he employs a team of carpenters, finishers and riggers and maintains a growing storage fleet.

The Honorable James O’Leary adds his legal perspective to the board. His early career included time as a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, a stint as assistant attorney general in Massachusetts and more than 30 years of service as justice of the trial court of Massachusetts. He and his wife, Deborah, retired to Cushing last summer.

Journalist and yachtsman Aaron Porter of Brooklin is the editor of Professional Boatbuilder, a magazine of WoodenBoat Publications. Originally from Canada, Porter has much seamanship experience from time spent as mate on the Pride of Baltimore II, American Eagle, Mary Day and other traditional schooners. He also serves as chairman of the Hancock County Committee of the Maine Community Foundation, a board member of Windward Passage and an adviser for the Landing School in Arundel.

Green building advocate, writer and television host Steve Thomas of Port Clyde joins the board as well. Thomas studied with Micronesian navigation master Mau Piailug on the island of Satawal, and his memoir, “The Last Navigator,” was published in 1986. A documentary on Piailug for PBS followed. Thomas then went on to host the PBS series “This Old House” and since has hosted programs for the History and Discovery channels. Thomas’s commitment to environmentally conscious building calls him around the country as a consultant and keynote speaker.

Apprentice Hobbs White joined the board to serve as a student representative. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, White enrolled as an apprentice because, he said, “I wanted to continue learning and specifically to learn a concrete, physical skill — to learn to create something that is both functionally and aesthetically satisfying. But rather than just a practical education or trade, I wanted an experience that provided a more thoughtful approach to life.” White is at the midway point of his apprenticeship and is part of the team at work on the Apprentice 15, a double-ended, lapstrake day sailor designed by instructor Kevin Carney.

Sailor and businessman Bill Zierden of St. George returns to The Apprenticeshop board after a four-year hiatus in which he served the library of St. George. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Zierden’s career included time in the Navy, a stint on the faculty at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, a position with Circuit Stores as senior vice president of human resources and later as a consultant to venture capital-backed startup companies.

For more information, visit www.apprenticeshop.org.

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