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WoodenBoat founder receives award

Mystic Seaport named Jon Wilson and WoodenBoat as the recipient of the America and the Sea Award for 2012. The award honors and celebrates those who “embrace the scholarship, exploration, adventure, aesthetics, competition, and freedom the sea inspires.”

Wilson, the founder of WoodenBoat, will accept the award Oct. 27 at Mystic Seaport. The America and the Sea Award recognizes an individual or organization whose contributions to the history, arts, business, or sciences of the sea best exemplify the American character.

Past recipients include former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman; oceanographer and explorer Sylvia Earle; historian David McCullough; legendary yacht designer Olin Stephens; Crowley Maritime Corporation president and CEO Thomas Crowley; and noted maritime collector and yachtsman William Koch.

“By recognizing and unifying a passion for the allure of the design and beauty of wooden boats, Wilson helped transform a nascent renaissance in the early 1970s into a 21st century industry, in the process ushering in a new golden age for wooden boats in America,” Mystic Seaport president Stephen C. White said. “Those who know Jon Wilson best speak to his passion for humanity and his desire to foster a meaningful connection to the greater community.”

Wilson founded WoodenBoat Publications in September 1974 with the first issue of WoodenBoat magazine. Jon assembled the magazine in his cabin in North Brooksville, Maine. This was accomplished without electricity or plumbing, and with his telephone nailed to a tree — half a mile down the road. Taking the inaugural issue to the Newport Boat Show, he sold 400 individual copies and signed up 200 subscribers.