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Boatbuilder Teaches Tools of the Trade

Thursday, January 31st 2019

Boatbuilder Teaches Tools of the Trade

By Kelli Park

Boat-builder Ann Flannery hopes to inspire the next generation to take an interest in traditional maritime craftsmanship. In 2017, in collaboration with the Holbrook Community Foundation, she started Harpswell Boatbuilders, an educational program designed to teach the art of wooden boatbuilding to local children, in her Cundy’s Harbor workshop. Flannery, who is also a yoga teacher, expanded the program this year, with classes beginning in January.  

She has over forty years of experience as a professional woodworker, starting with custom cabinetry in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She moved to Maine in 1980 and completed The Apprenticeshop’s the two year wooden boat program. Afterwards, Flannery and Lynette Breton ran Breton Flannery Woodworks for many years.

In addition to building them, Flannery loves wooden boats. She is the fourth owner of Sense, an 83-year old Herreshoff-designed sailboat. There were only two built, one of which sank, making Sense one of a kind, she said.

The goal of the program is to teach children a variety of hands-on skills, including how to measure; how to use a combination square, a hand saw and battery powered drills; how to drill holes and drive fastenings; how to use hand planes to plane bevels on the edges of boards; and, most importantly, how to work together while building a flat-bottomed skiff . The skiff will be auctioned off and proceeds donated to the Holbrook Community Foundation, which is dedicated to the preservation of the local working waterfront. 

For more information about Harpswell Boatbuilders, please email Ann Flannery at

Photo of Ann Flannery in her workshop by Kelli Park


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