Since 1972, The Apprenticeshop has been dedicated to inspiring personal growth through craftsmanship, community and traditions of the sea. Located on the waterfront in Rockland Maine, the Apprenticeshop offers programing for youth and adults that ranges from 2 hours to 2 years. Students of all ages come here from around the world to learn traditional boat building skills, sailing and maritime arts. Inspired by the philosophy of experiential educator Kurt Hahn, and his own experiences in education and Outward Bound, Lance Lee started the original Apprenticeshop in 1972 within the complex of the Maine Maritime Museum, in Bath, Maine. Lee felt, as Hahn did, that education should encourage both thought and action simultaneously, not one or the other. Today, as a non-profit organization, the Apprenticeshop is recognized as one of the finest and oldest traditional boat building schools in the country.
From the beginning, the structure of the Apprenticeshop was built around craftsmanship, seamanship and community. Craftsmanship developed as apprentices worked alongside a master builder and one another to learn the traditional methods of wooden boatbuilding. Seamanship was practiced as apprentices sailed vessels built by the shop in their off time, and the shop itself was built and maintained by the apprentice community. the program became a catalyst for the revival of traditional wooden boatbuilding in a time when the craft and a way of learning essential to individual education and cooperative experiences were deemed to be extinct.
The shop moved from Bath to Rockport in 1982 and, a decade later, moved again to an historic lumber mill in Nobleboro and became part of the newly formed Atlantic Challenge Foundation. The lack of easy access to the water prompted the move to the Rockland waterfront in 1995. In 1999, the shop moved to it’s present location on two and a half acres of waterfront in Rockland’s north end.
In the spirit of the first shop, apprentices and staff spent four months renovating what was once a livery stable for the lime kilns, the industry that gave Rockland her name, into the present Apprenticeshop.
Back on the waterfront, the shop maintains its original focus of craftsmanship, seamanship and community. Students are still called apprentices in reference to the master-apprentice educational model the shop upholds. Apprentices still sail in shop-built boats, learn traditional methods from instructors and each other, help maintain the facilities, and foster a continuing spirit of community.
In 1999, the shop launched Rockland Community Sailing to introduce local youth to sailing and the sea. Over the years, RCS has grown into a program that serves over 150 youth and over 50 adults each year. Multiple youth programs allow students to start sailing at 8 yrs old and continue on through high school, sailing on our community high school team. Adults can experience a modern sailing course on fiberglass day sailors, or opt for something a little different in our traditioanal sailing workshops.
In 2010 the shop changed it’s name from Atlantic Challenge back to The Apprenticeshop.