News of the Day


by Craig Altschul

It took Douglas Brooks’ travels to Japan to shine a spotlight on the ancient art of making wooden tub boats. Brooks, dubbed the crazy American by Master Fuji, the elder man who taught him how to build these boats, became fascinated by Japanese boat builders, according to the Brattleboro Reformer. His fascination evolved into surveying and documenting traditional boat builders from ages 65 to 93, the last generation of boat builders, most of whom had not passed on their trade to the younger generation. Their techniques, said Brooks, "are a craft on the brink of extinction." His book, The Tub Boats of Sado Island: A Japanese Craftsman’s Methods, documents their methods and his experiences. Brooks now lives in Vergennes where he builds wooden boats for museums and private clients, having begun his apprenticeship at Mystic Seaport Maritime Museum. Crazy American maybe, but a savior to the tub boats.

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About Craig Altschul

Craig Altschul is Editorial Director of He is a veteran snow journalist, having covered the sport for more than 40 years. His syndicated snow sports humor column, Ski Tips, ran in newspapers across the country for 20 years. He was Global Editor-in-Chief for OnTheSnow for 12 years and has written for a variety of magazines and newspapers. Altschul is past president of both the Eastern Ski Writers Association and the North American Snow Journalists Association.

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