A Brief History About WoodenBoat Publications
For more than 40 years, WoodenBoat Publications has provided readers with a dynamic editorial environment that combines emerging technologies with traditional methods of boat design, construction, and repair. Jon Wilson founded the company in September 1974 with the publication of the first issue of WoodenBoat magazine—which he assembled from his off-the-grid cabin in North Brooksville, Maine. He sold 400 individual copies and signed up 200 subscribers at the Newport Sailboat Show that year, and WoodenBoat has been thriving ever since—and diversifying.
The company’s next endeavor was the WoodenBoat Store (www.woodenboatstore.com), which initially sold back issues and tee shirts, and now sells fine tools, books, models, and clothing—among a host of other wooden-boat related items. In 1980, Jon established WoodenBoat School (www.thewoodenboatschool.com) as a continuing-education venue for established boatbuilders—and as a place for prospective builders to learn first-hand how to bend and shape wood to craft beautiful boats. In the 2015 season, 795 students attended one or more of the school’s one- or two-week courses in boatbuilding, seamanship, and related crafts. The WoodenBoat Show (www.thewoodenboatshow.com), an annual gathering of fine wooden watercraft at Mystic Seaport, was founded in the early 1990s. More recently, the magazine has spun off a digital publication, Small Boats Monthly (www.smallboatsmonthly.com), a web-only magazine with an annual print anthology.
Professional BoatBuilder (www.proboat.com), WoodenBoat’s other sister publication, came along in 1989. As its title implies, it serves active professionals working the design, construction, or repair of boats—boats made of all materials. This magazine also owns a trade show: REFIT International Exhibition and Conference (www.refitshow.com) to educate owners, captains, boatyards, and surveyors in the latest advances in vessel renovation.