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2021 Creative Living Award: Captain Bob Douglas

Sep. 22, 2021

Photo: Ray Ewing

On a spectacular September evening, at the Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway on Vineyard Haven harbor, Captain Robert S. Douglas was awarded the 38th annual Creative Living Award.

Designed to honor the spirit of our initial donor Ruth Bogan, and to recognize and celebrate “fine craftsmanship, creativity and ingenuity,” the award recognizes Islanders for their efforts to “enhance and preserve the quality of life on the Vineyard forever.”

There is no doubt that Captain Robert Douglas has “enhanced and preserved the quality of life on the Vineyard.”   Over many decades of dedication, passion and hard work, Bob has embodied the very best of what this Island represents, sharing so generously his vision and life’s work with the Island community, which in turn, has embraced it as its own.

The Vineyard Haven harbor that we know today, known worldwide as a wooden boat mecca, had its roots with the arrival in 1964, of Captain Douglas’s Shenandoah.  Her arrival ushered in an era of sailing and wooden boat building and appreciation that continues to this day.

Ollie Becker / MVFF Ptoductions

2020-2021 Creative Living Award: Captain Bob Douglas from MV Community Foundation on Vimeo.

The Creative Living Award has long been a celebration of the fabric of our community and Bob Douglas is a strong and unique thread in that fabric.

Captain Douglas represents the very essence of this award – and beyond that – the essence of this community.  He is hardworking, dedicated, independent, has great attention to authenticity and detail, is modest about his achievements and generous with his accomplishments.  We have all benefited from his vision, be it as observers of the glorious collection of wooden schooners in our midst, or as participants as crew members on his vessels.

And it must be noted that his wife Charlene has been a steadfast presence at his side, sharing in and passionately supporting his dedication to his vision.  Just last week she and I were watching Shenandoah and Lynx rounding West Chop in a stiff southwest breeze and she exclaimed with pride and affection about the beauty of the schooner, as if this were the first time she was seeing it.  It was such a lovely example of the connection they share.

So – how fitting to be here tonight, in this beautiful setting, at the edge of the harbor Bob has called home for over 60 years, amongst the boats and craftsmanship that he ushered in and the community he has inspired.