Our Team


Board of Directors


John mcdonald - Chairman

Chartered financial analyst; cofounder & partner of Beacon Hill Capital (BHC); business development & portfolio management for BHC, registered representative of Compass Securities

“I thought the idea had enough merit and had been germinating long enough that it was worthy of getting involved and making their dream happen and Bob Douglas' design happen.”



stever aubrey - Vice Chairman

Cofounder & c.e.o., Dovetail Health (past); president & c.o.o. of Pri-Med (past); executive v.p. & g.m. of Holiday Hill Advertising (past); chairman of the board of directors, Martha's Vineyard Museum; board member, The Partnership & Trinity Boston Foundation (past)

“We have the ship designed, we have a boatyard that is ready to build it, we have craftsmen here on the island that are going to build the rig. It's not insurmountable. It's something that's very doable. In fact, it's necessary.”

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Dr. Harry Dickerson - director

Associate dean, College of Veterinary Medicine and professor at University of Georgia; Ph.D. medical microbiology; M.S., medical microbiology; B.V.Sc. Onderstepoort Faculty of Veterinary Science. Harry has a long relationship with sailing ships going back to his summers as crew on Shenandoah in 1968-9.

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John Keene - director

Owner & president, Keene Excavation; BA, human ecology. John has 4 kids growing up in the Martha's Vineyard school system and has sailed on Alabama with Chilmark School on several voyages.

“The reason I think that the FUEL Program is so important and success with FUEL is imminent is because Captain Ian is incredible and his passion is infectious, and same with Captain Casey and Captain Bob.”


 board of Advisors


Captain robert douglas - advisor

Owner & president, The Black Dog Tall Ships; Master & designer, Shenandoah; Master & owner Alabama; Captain, U.S. Airforce; Owner of a rare collection of over 50 wooden boats; Holder of 100 ton U.S.C.G. master's license.

“Getting this ship built and program running ought to be highest priority for our island.”

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Dr. Dan Garvey – advisor

President emeritus, Prescott College; former professor & researcher in experiential education, University of New Hampshire; President and executive director of the international Association for Experiential Education; has sailed around the world six times as Dean of Semester at Sea and once as a faculty member; Vice president for the American Youth Foundation; Dean of Entering Students at the University of New Hampshire; has served on the AmeriCorps Executive Committee, and participated in writing the first program grant.  

Recipient of the University of New Hampshire Outstanding Teaching Award, a Kurt Hahn Address presenter, and a Julian Smith Award recipient; Has authored more than 25 books and articles about experiential education; former trustee of National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), and on the Board of Directors of Project Adventure. Currently, he’s a Trustee on the Board of The Institute for Shipboard Education.


Dr. Michael Gass - advisor, academic committee

Ph.D. experiential education; L.m.f.t.; director, outdoor behavioral healthcare research center; M.S.W., social work; M.S., outdoor education; author, Effective Programming in Adventure Programming & Adventure therapy: Theory, research, and practice, recipient of Outstanding Experiential Teacher of the Year Award from Association of Experiential Education (AEE); recipient of Distinguished Researcher Award from AEE, recipient of the UNH School of Health and Human Services's Distinguished Career Research Award; recipient of UNH Excellence in International Engagement Award

“This program will change students' lives and their way of learning.”

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Dr. Anita R. Tucker - advisor, academic committee

Ph.D. social work; M.S.W. social work; associate professor, Department of Social Work at the University of New Hampshire; co-coordinator, UNH's dual masters degree in social work and kinesiology: Outdoor Education which prepares graduate students for careers in adventure and wilderness therapy.

Associate director, Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare (OBH) Center for Research where she is responsible for the promotion of research, accreditation and risk management in OBH and adventure therapy programs. Dr. Tucker's research focuses primarily on the process and outcomes of OBH (also referred to as wilderness therapy) and community based applications of adventure therapy.

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Captain cHris Sinnett (Uscg ret.) - Advisor

During his 30 years in the United States Coast Guard Captain Sinnett served as the captain of the bark Eagle for 3 years. He has been the deputy commander of the Coast Guard Personnel Service Center where he oversaw all personnel services for the Coast Guard's 50,000 person workforce with a $4 billion annual payroll. He was awarded the Legion of Merit, gold star in lieu of third award, and a certificate of appreciation from the president. B.S. marine engineering, M.B.A. Florida University, M.A. national security and strategic studies.  

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captain Dan Moreland - advisor

Having completed 7 circumnavigations, 6 of which were on his sailing ship Picton Castle, Captain Moreland has most likely logged more miles under sail than anyone alive today. He is an expert on traditional sailing ships and deep water sailing, and has been recognized by both Tall Ships America and Sail Training International with the "Sail Trainer of the Year" award. Dan holds the rarest U.S.C.G. license issued which qualifies him to captain any vessel on any ocean.

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captain Nat Benjamin - advisor

Owner & cofounder, Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway; designer of over 80 wooden vessels built under his guidance; master, designer & builder schooner Charlotte, holder of 100 ton U.S.C.G. master's license.

“I've reviewed the plans several times...to me it looks like a great vessel to do this kind of work with young adults and get them off-shore.”

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cynthia woolbright - fundraising consultant

President, The Woolbright Group; university advancement officer, The University of Rochester (past), The University of Vermont (past), Smith College (past), Hollins University (past); M.A., public administration, Long Island University

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the Vision


FUEL is an acronym. It stands for Foundation for Underway Experiential Learning. But, it also means a source of power, something that drives us every day to welcome challenges and continue to better ourselves so we may better the world.

We are a group of people who see high value in learning the ways of a sailing ship. To us, sailing is not simply a method of transportation across water, it is a discipline, an unending series of challenges, failures and successes, it is problem solving by learning how something works and creating solutions.

Your experience sailing with us will become the backbone of who you are, how you carry yourself, and how you speak to others. It will reveal your weaknesses and your strengths so you can manage and improve them. We are a group of people who have benefitted tremendously from sailing, and we want to share that with you.