WoodenBoat Publications acquired by magazine publisher

At midnight on New Year’s Eve, WoodenBoat Publications founder Jonathan Wilson completed the sale of the multi-pronged business from Brooklyn to a partnership consisting of Matt Murphy, the longtime editor of WoodenBoat magazine, and d ‘Andrew Breece, the company magazine editor. division.

Courtesy / Wooden boat

matt murphy

Murphy and Breece each acquired 50% of the company’s stock; terms were not disclosed. Breece has assumed the role of chief operating officer and Murphy is now chief content officer, according to a press release.

Courtesy / Wooden boat

Andrew Brece

WoodenBoat’s various business ventures will continue to operate on the Brooklyn campus, which Breece and Murphy will lease to Wilson.

The purchase includes the publishing division (WoodenBoat magazine, Professional BoatBuilder magazine and Small Boats magazine), the WoodenBoat School, the WoodenBoat Store and the WoodenBoat Show.

Off-grid origin

Wilson founded WoodenBoat magazine in 1974 in a small off-grid cabin in Brooksville, focusing on materials, design and construction techniques, and repair solutions related to wooden boats.

Wilson was a boat builder and repairer at the time, when the trade lacked a good professional journal, the statement said.

He started the magazine despite having no publishing experience. It quickly became a newsstand bestseller and developed a loyal subscriber base. He quickly found success not only with publication, but also in developing a synergy with wooden boat builders, customers and fans, leading to a resurgence of a craft that had been marginalized by fiber construction. of glass.

Courtesy / Wooden boat

Jon Wilson

“I could not have imagined the trajectory of this business when we left with a few boxes of magazines at the Newport [Rhode Island] Sailboat Show in September 1974,” Wilson said in the statement.

Readership grew to over 100,000 over the next decade. With the advent of social media and online publishing, the company’s audience has grown and diversified.

61-acre campus

In 1977, a fire at one of Brooksville’s early offices prompted WoodenBoat to relocate to Brooklin, where it eventually set up operations on a 61-acre former seaside estate.

Courtesy / Wooden boat

WoodenBoat, founded in 1974, is one of Maine’s premier magazines. Its success spawned other businesses over the years.

In 1981 Wilson founded the WoodenBoat School on the site. This summer, the school is expected to offer more than 90 courses, including boat building, traditional seamanship and related trades. It attracts students from across the country and beyond. Last August, Eric Stockinger became the school’s new principal.

Courtesy / Wooden boat

In 1981 Wilson founded WoodenBoat School at the Brooklyn site. The school is now attended by hundreds of students.

The business also includes a retail operation for books, tools, clothing and boat-related items; book publishing; the WoodenBoat Show, held each summer on the grounds of the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut; the professional magazine Professional BoatBuilder; and the online publication Small Boats Magazine.

Wooden boat enthusiasts

Breece and Murphy have been separately involved with wooden boats for most of their lives.

Breece grew up in Orono and was drawn to the magazine from the age of 3, “fascinated by the shapes and colors of the photographs inside,” he said. “At 7, I was reading it cover to cover.”

After graduating from Bates College in 2008, Breece worked as an annual fund coordinator for Mystic Seaport, then served as director of development for the Maine Island Trail Association. He joined the WoodenBoat team in 2014, and soon after took on the role of editor.

Murphy grew up in Salem, Mass., graduated from Colby College, then pursued a master’s degree at the University of Rhode Island. He has been sailing and working on wooden boats since he was 10 years old. He worked for Dutch Harbor Boat Yard in Jamestown, RI, repairing and refinishing wooden boats, before joining the WoodenBoat team as associate editor in 1992.

He succeeded Wilson as editor in 1994.

“Jon set an elegant tone and high standard for WoodenBoat magazine nearly five decades ago.” Murphy said. “These elements always guide everything we do.”