Sean has packed several lifetimes of experience in boatbuilding and craftsmanship since he graduated from the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in 2004. While still attending college studying cello performance at St. Olaf College in Minnesota , Sean launched his own small boat shop. Subsequently, he worked at some of the most prestigious boat yards in the country, concentrating on historically significant vessel restorations, including the 138-food Steam Yacht Cangarda and the 1929 Schooner Viveka, at Rutherford’s Boat Shop in Richmond, CA. Sean led the restoration of Wanda, a 90-foot Ted Geary design. He also worked as a shipwright for the San Francisco Maritime Museum before heading to Maine to expand his skills in new construction and cold molding at Brooklin Boatyard. For more about Sean, click here.
Bruce has been at the school longer than any other member of the faculty. After attending what was then a six-month course of study in 1997, he began work, first in Bellingham, where he hung out his own shingle. Two years later, “we decided we liked it better here” and ended up back in Port Townsend at the Baird Boat Co. (now Haven Boatworks.) “That was great.” He had met yard owner Ernie Baird while still a student, and when he dropped by the shop, “he handed me a scraper and sanding block.”
As wood composite construction continues to adopt new technologies, so does the contemporary building program. For more about Bruce, click here.
Jody cut his shipwright’s teeth in his native state of Massachusetts. He worked at the Martha’s Vineyard Shipyard and at a nearby cabinet and furniture-maker’s shop. He also received a great deal of inspiration from the nearby prestigious Gannon & Benjamin yard in Vineyard Haven, MA, one of the most renowned yards on the Eastern Seaboard. “They’re really doing some amazing stuff there,” Jody recalled. He moved west to the hub of California’s wooden boat culture, Sausalito, specifically to study at a small institution, the Arques School, and set out on his own nearby. For more about Jody, click here.
Leland’s introduction to boats came early in life, when his father embarked upon a construction project that would span five years of on-and-off work on the family’s northern Michigan farm. The Pete Culler skiff that emerged over those years was built entirely with hand tools.
His own boatbuilding began much later, when an online search led him to the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding. “I called the school and talked to a woman in the office for hours,” he said. “I came out here specifically for school. It took me forever to learn the difference between a schooner and a staysail schooner. But learn he did, and school led to a position at Haven Boatworks in Port Townsend, where he survived the Great Recession by doing whatever jobs came to the yard. After more than a decade meeting every challenge Haven could offer, he returned to the boat school. For more about Leland, click here.
Lead Instructor, Marine Systems
Kevin leads instruction for the school’s newest program, Marine Systems, a six-month intensive that combines diesel mechanics, marine electronics, hydraulics, corrosion protection and anything else that makes a boat go. A nationally recognized authority in investigation of electrocution on the water, Kevin is the first person the U.S. Coast Guard calls in as an investigator. He has worked as an instructor for the American Boat and Yacht Council.
What led him to become one of the nation’s leading experts in marine systems is another story, one rooted in personal tragedy. For more about Kevin, click here.
Instructor, Marine Systems
John Hill joins the marine systems program at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding steeped in marine systems through a 20-year career with the U.S. Coast Guard.
Born in California, John moved with his family as a boy to the Salish Sea, when they settled in Port Orchard. The Coast Guard only sharpened his interest in the maritime industry. His wife, Kristin, mentioned the boat school, and John enrolled in the traditional construction course strand soon after. Upon completion of the year-long program, he re-enrolled in the first marine systems course. For more about John, click here.