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Hank Easom Scholarship Fund Announced at Spaulding Marine Center

Spaulding Marine Center recently held an event to formally announce the creation of the Hank Easom Endowment Fund, seeded with a generous donation from the Easom family. The fund has been established to support the long-term sustainability of the Center’s Boatworks 101 Marine Technician Apprenticeship Program.

Jan Easom Kneib and Michael Zolezzi Yucca
Jan Easom Kneib sits aboard Hank’s former 8-Meter Yucca with current owner Michael Zolezzi in advance of the fundraising event.
© 2024 Michael Lewis

Jan Easom Kneib was on hand to announce the fund and recall Easom Boatworks’ founding on the Sausalito waterfront in 1956 when the area included 10 boatyards. She recalled Hank’s deep friendship with legendary Sausalito boatbuilder Myron Spaulding and Hank’s complete enjoyment of and commitment to sailing and being on the water. This long relationship is now continuing with the Easom family’s support of the nonprofit Spaulding Marine Center. This support will help secure the future of young people in the maritime industry as they enroll in the apprenticeship program.

Jan Easom Kneib presents Spaulding Marine Center’s general manager Matt Zarem with one of Hank’s first trophies.
© 2024 Michael Lewis

Harry “Hank” Easom, in whose honor the fund is established, was a sailing legend in the Bay Area. As a teenager, Easom bought a kit for a 20-ft plywood boat designed by Myron Spaulding, founder of Spaulding Marine Center in Sausalito. Racing soon became Easom’s lifelong passion.

As well as being an invaluable mentor to Hank when he started Easom Boatworks, Myron became a lifelong friend. Hank admired Myron’s accomplishments as a boat builder, designer and racer. He was truly Hank’s North Star.

Pete and Lucy McCormick standing with Boatworks 101 graduate Robert Morte, who now works with Pete at Jeff Brown Yachts in Sausalito.
© 2024 Michael Lewis

The marine industry in the Bay Area has a shortage of qualified talent to meet demand, due to a lack of technical education, scholarship availability, and work experience. The fund will provide scholarship recipients with an opportunity to attend an accredited apprenticeship program in order to gain employment in the marine industry. The current class is the fourth to participate in the apprenticehip program, with prior students such as Ocean Mancebo (now working at Helmut’s Marine in San Rafael) gaining employment with local companies.

Spaulding Marine Center president Bill Edinger describes the benefits of the Boatworks 101 Program.
© 2024 Michael Lewis

Of course, everyone is invited to support the fund by donating to the Hank Easom Endowment Fund and volunteering expertise and knowledge to the apprentices. The support is invaluable to the program and the marine technicians who graduate. In addition there is a $50,000 matching grant from the Gladys Spaulding Fund for donations made up until the end of the year.

Jan describes the new Hank Easom Scholarship Fund to the assembled audiience.
© 2024 Michael Lewis

Hank Easom sailed his last race in February 2023, 10 days before his death at age 88, finishing first in class, division, and overall. In commemoration of his accomplishments and contributions, the Hank Easom mark is now set off the Marin Headlands, replacing the former Yellow Bluff mark.

Donations can be made here.

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4 Comments

  1. Peter Le Lievre 1 month ago

    Such a great tribute to such a great sailor. Technical apprenticeship is a perfect way for young people to find their way into a rewarding life on the water. Just as Hank had. Bravo.

  2. Bonnie + Gil Schwartz 4 weeks ago

    What a wonderful way to preserve Hank’s legacy! Glad to support this terrific endeavor.

  3. Memo Gidley 4 weeks ago

    Hank was a great man and so glad his family is carrying on the tradition of boat works and the memory of Hank!

  4. Roger Eeds 4 weeks ago

    My first job in a boatyard was at Easom Boat Works in 1967 as a summer job for 75 cents/hour, sweeping and cleaning up a warehouse and eventually learning a little more. Hank was always happy, the ambiance was friendly, my eyes were wide as it was all new to me. He asked me to help him tow a boat back to the yard using Yucca; he sang “I wish I was an Oscar Meyer Wiener” while he did it all as I was somewhat useless. Never a harsh word did I hear. A peach of a guy. I worked in other yards in Sausalito and sailed and raced on the Bay, eventually seeking better weather in Newport Beach. I finished 40 years in the business, 20 as an employee and 20 as an entrepreneur, retiring in 2008. I now live in the French countryside, having “swallowed the hook”. Fond memories of it all, a very special field of work.

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