In the summer of 2008, on a whim, I dusted off a hand me down book—Wooden Boats by Michael Ruhlman. As I sat down to read, the story immediately captured my imagination, transporting me to the island of Martha’s Vineyard and into the lives of the legendary master boatbuilders Nat Benjamin and Ross Gannon. The story peaked my interest in boatbuilding. Every time I picked up the book I could smell the salt air, fresh cut cedar planks, and imagine myself working along-side Nat and Ross on their 65’ wooden schooner, Rebecca. I was hooked!
From that point forward, I could not turn back, I needed to find a way to scratch the itch for wooden boatbuilding. With a bit of luck, the Landing School of Boatbuilding and Yacht Design came across my radar. A well-recognized boatbuilding program, along the heart of Maine’s Kennebec River, with a focus on traditional wooden boat design and construction.
After a tour of the Landing School my now wife, Kate, and I cruised along the Maine coastline and discussed the potential life altering decision. Now that the dream was in reach, I began second guessing the opportunity as it would mean a tectonic career change and moving from the city comforts of Boston to the Maine woods. However, Kate proved to be my guiding force and with enough confidence for the both of us she looked me in the eyes and with a big smile said “you have to do this, you’ll regret if you don’t … Besides it will be an adventure!” And like that, as we drove along route 1, the start of a new journey began and the inspiration behind Jack Iron had set sail.