The name of Nat Wilson comes to mind if you are a fan of honorable and skilled sailmakers throughout the world.
Right in our own back yard do we have the pleasure of meeting a humble, ethical, and talented star in the world of prestigious and historic sailmakers.
Nat’s high standards and dedication to mentoring others who will follow him has been utmost in his mind and business model throughout his life. As Dan Houston put it “ Nat Wilson decided he did not want to compete with the modern world of sail making and set up shop doing it the old way. Turns out lots of clients wanted that too”.(Classic Boat Dec., 1991).
In 1975 Nat’s shop was set up next door to his home in East Boothbay.
The Pride of Baltimore, he U.S. Coast Guard’s Eagle and the U.S.S. Constitution all bear sails made by Nat and his apprentices. The list of famous sailing yachts which bear his work is endless.
Magazines throughout the sailing world feature his talents but what is most important to Nat are his ethical standards and his pride in establishing a business that endures time, working with replicas of Viking ships to modern vessels.
Wilson has been building sails since his twenties. After getting his degree in fine arts from Miami University of Ohio, he joined the Coast Guard. He says the turning point in his life was the day he walked into the Coast Guard Academy’s sail loft in New London, Connecticut, where he was stationed, and discovered the work he wanted to do.
“I look at sails as a type of kinetic sculpture. It’s a pure form of functional design. There’s a big aesthetic element to sails that I try to apply to everything we build.”
This tall, soft-spoken and humble sailmaker, whose eyes mirror the sharp blue water and the denim he wears, prefers to talk about what makes a successful sustainable business than talk about his talent.
Across the globe Nat is known as “the guy you come to and hope that he’ll have time for you.”
Nat Wilson is honored for his investment in and promotion of classic sailing yachts from around the world. He led the 2022 Parade of Sail aboard Bernadette, the 70-foot classic Trumpy owned by John Kent and Rita Cooke.