December 18, 2017
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Wooden Boatbuilder Richard Stanley and Apprentice Ryan Snow to Receive $4,000 Grant from Maine Arts Commission

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SOUTHWEST HARBOR—Great Harbor Boatworks owner Richard Stanley and MDI High School sophomore Ryan Snow have been approved for a $4,000 Traditional Art Apprenticeship Grant from the Maine Arts Commission.

Stanley and his apprentice have been building a traditional 19’ gaff-rigged daysailer. They began with a keel built by the crew at Ralph Stanley’s old shop that had been gathering dust along the back wall of the boathouse.

They have progressed to the point of fitting floor timbers.

“The 19’ daysailer design was a good-sized project to take an apprentice through – big enough to get a true sense of the scope of this kind of undertaking, but small enough to be able to build and finish on our own, in a reasonable amount of time,” says Stanley.

“A boat this size is fun to build … and even more fun to use, when it’s done. I have found over many years of working with different boats and their owners: the simpler the boat, the more the owner ultimately enjoys using it,” Stanley adds.

Stanley, who was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship in the Traditional Art category by the Maine Arts Commission last year, says the award will help with materials for the project as well as tools for Ryan. Stanley says first on the list of tools is a two-inch framing chisel.

After Stanley and his apprentice finish fitting floor timbers, they will begin working on the deck framing. While Stanley has built several 19’ daysailers of this hull type, he plans to change the top on this boat to reflect its true daysailer spirit: Rather than the usual cuddy cabin and rectangular cockpit, the boat will feature an open cockpit, with steam-bent oak coamings and cockpit staving.

According the Maine Arts Commission web site, “the Traditional Art Apprenticeship Program helps communities preserve their own cultural heritage by providing an opportunity for master traditional artists to pass on their skills to a qualified apprentice. Traditional arts reflect a community’s shared way of life. Many of these practices are rooted in a longstanding sense of place, community and cultural identity. More than just lessons, Master traditional artists seek to share this understanding of their culture with their apprentices. Such an exchange is usually learned in an informal, “give and take” way, through example or imitation rather than formal academic training and can take many forms including vocal and instrumental music, folk and ethnic dance, instrument making, dance, storytelling, crafts and occupational traditions like boat building, chainsaw carving and sail making.

The web site notes that two additional awards were available in Hancock County for the 2012-2013 funding cycle. “These extra awards have been made possible through a partnership with the Maine Community Foundation, which is funded by the generous support of the Belvedere Fund.”

This is a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.


For more information or to schedule an interview with Richard Stanley, please email Lorraine Stanley at or call 207.244-3795.