WoodenBoat Publications Acquired by Magazine Editor-in-Chief, Publisher


At the stroke of midnight on New Years Eve, WoodenBoat Publications founder Jonathan Wilson finalized the sale of Brooklin’s multi-pronged business to a partnership of Matt Murphy, longtime editor of WoodenBoat magazine, and Andrew Breece, publisher of the company’s magazine. division.

Courtesy / Wooden boat

Matt murphy

Murphy and Breece each acquired 50% of the shares of the company; terms were not disclosed. Breece took on the role of director of operations and Murphy is now director of content, according to a press release.

Courtesy / Wooden boat

Andrew panties

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

The purchase includes the publishing division (WoodBoat 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, with a focus 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 no publishing experience. It quickly became a newsstand bestseller and developed a loyal subscriber base. It quickly found success not only with the publication, but also in developing a synergy with wooden boat builders, customers and fans, causing the resurgence of a profession marginalized by fiberglass construction. .

Courtesy / Wooden boat

Jon wilson

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

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 first offices prompted WoodenBoat to move to Brooklin, where it eventually settled its business on a 61-acre former seaside estate.

Courtesy / Wooden boat

WoodenBoat, founded in 1974, is one of Maine’s foremost magazines. Its success has spun 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 all over the country and beyond. Last August, Eric Stockinger became the new principal of the school.

Courtesy / Wooden boat

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

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

Wooden boat lovers

Breece and Murphy have been involved in wooden boats separately 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. “When I was 7, I read it cover to cover.”

After graduating from Bates College in 2008, Breece worked as the annual fund coordinator for Mystic Seaport and then as the 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, Massachusetts, graduated from Colby College, and went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of Rhode Island. He has been sailing and working on wooden boats since the age of 10. He worked for Dutch Harbor Boat Yard in Jamestown, RI, repairing and refurbishing wooden boats, before joining the WoodenBoat team as an associate editor in 1992.

He succeeded Wilson as editor in 1994.

“Jon set a stylish tone and a high standard for WoodenBoat magazine almost five decades ago. Murphy said. “These elements always guide everything we do. “


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