Our Crew

doug_hylanDOUG HYLAN

Doug Hylan built his first boat at age 14, a disappointing catamaran with a propensity to bury her lee hull before realizing any adolescent-appropriate speeds. After a decade or so of dabbling in more or less respectable professions, in the 80s he slipped back into boat building, first working with Jim Steele and Joel White. In 1987 he partnered with John Dunbar at Benjamin River Marine, heading up such projects as the Rozinante canoe yawl RED HEAD, and the restoration of the sardine carrier GRAYLING. In 1999 he founded D. N. Hylan & Associates in Brooklin, Maine specializing in the design, building, and restoration of wooden boats.  (Photo courtesy Maynard Bray)


Ellery Brown was forced to use fiberglass boats as a boy. He began his recovery at the age of 14 when he first stepped aboard a 1926 Alden Triangle. After several years spent crewing on schooners, working the yard at various boat yards and earning a B.A from Bates College, he enrolled in a 2-year program in traditional boat construction at The Apprenticeshop in Rockland ME. From there it was a short sail to Brooklin (on an Alden Triangle of course) to begin work for Doug Hylan in 2008. Since then Ellery’s been involved with every boat launched from Hylan & Brown- Boatbuilders, either from the shop floor, the yard, the office or all three. When he’s not at the shop you can find him gallivanting with his two boys and one girl on land, at sea and in the intertidal zone.


Matt Elwell has been with Hylan & Brown – Boatbuilders since Doug struck out on his own in 1998. Doug recognized Matt’s talent and far ranging capability right away, and he has been the lead carpenter or foreman on nearly every boat project, new or old, to pass through these doors. He sets the bar in the shop for craftsmanship, efficiency, and critical thinking and he is integral to the culture of excellence that is the foundation of our business. Matt has long since mastered most aspects of custom wooden boat construction. But his natural desire to learn and expand his abilities never fizzles.


Kit Macchi has been a boatbuilder at Hylan & Brown since 2013. A graduate of Reed College and The Apprenticeshop, Kit showed us early on that she was capable, and game for any challenge on the shop floor. In her time here she has grown into an accomplished carpenter, having participated in all phases of wooden boat construction from planking to interior joinery and spar construction. Her willingness to jump into work in the yard, and on the water in the spring and fall is a also a huge asset to our operation. In the summer she enjoys sailing and cruising her Bud MacIntosh cutter SCOTER out of Benjamin River Harbor.


Drew Scott, another graduate of the The Apprenticeshop in Rockland, Maine, was hired in 2014 as a boatbuilder, but now applies his broad-ranging skills across all aspects of our storage and maintenance operation, including: refits and repairs, Winter/Fall maintenance, Spring fitting out, launching, hauling, and delivery of boats along the coast by both sail and power.


Naomi Bishko came to work for Hylan and Brown in 2015. We only wish we’d met her sooner. She began finishing boats in 1994 and never looked back. When asked about her start in this industry she’ll tell you, “After my first day of sanding I knew that this is what I wanted to do when I grew up.” She preps, paints and varnishes nearly every boat we launch. Her natural ability, combined with attention to detail and a deep understanding of what causes finishes to fail and how to prevent it, have quickly made her a key member of our crew. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her 3 grandchildren.


Ben Parson came on board at Hylan & Brown to winterize outboards in the fall of 2020, but he quickly proved he had a much bigger kit of skills.  Ben’s a man of few words, so it wasn’t till we asked him, on a hunch, if he had any experience with CAD that we heard … “A little.”  And so he began working in the design department with Doug.  For the past two years Ben has spent time learning (on the job and on his own) the rudiments of yacht design and 3D drafting.  As Doug steps back from full time work, Ben has already proven his ability to take the helm in providing the kind of thoughtful design and careful drawings that everyone in the shop expects from our design office…. And he still winterizes outboards!


Alina Johns recently moved to Brooklin from Montana. She popped into the shop one morning in 2022 looking for work, telling us that she knew nothing about boats, was good with her hands and loved making things.  Boats seemed like a good challenge. A Maine boatyard crew can be slow to trust someone new.  But by being quick to pitch in, listening carefully, learning fast, and sharing her humor all along the way, she has quickly become a valued member of the team.  Alina has been producing excellent results in the finish department, and now she’s expanding her carpentry skills daily and helping out in the yard spring and fall.


Angela Bonacasa is an actor and fight choreographer. (pretty cool right?) But when she’s not training actors to sword fight safely and realistically she’s running the office at Hylan & Brown. Since she started in 2021 she has improved our record keeping dramatically, resulting in better estimates, tighter scheduling and less lag time. She is behind the scenes making sure our crew and vendors are paid, materials ordered, launch dates made and budgets met. She has recently taken over updating our website and social media pages. I’m certain we have yet to see all the ways she can make this business run at it’s best.