WoodenBoat Publications founder honored by Mystic Seaport

Mystic Seaport named Jon Wilson and WoodenBoat Publications the recipient of its 2012 America and the Sea Award.

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.

Wilson founded WoodenBoat Publications in September 1974 with the first issue of WoodenBoat magazine. He assembled the magazine in his cabin in North Brooksville, Maine, 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, R.I., boat show, he sold 400 copies and signed up 200 subscribers.

“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 in a statement. “Those who know Jon Wilson best speak to his passion for humanity and his desire to foster a meaningful connection to the greater community.”

WoodenBoat has become a touchstone for enthusiasts and professional practitioners around the world. It is published six times each year and has a circulation of approximately 100,000.

Wilson will accept the award Oct. 27 at Mystic (Conn.) Seaport Museum.

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

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