Who would be silly enough to try a project like this, anyway?
Heath, Tom, Kay, and Brian Ellis at the Wheel. (Tom's mother, Lib Lannon Ellis
made their wool sweaters, fondly known as "Nana sweaters").
Capt. Tom Ellis
Born in 1950 in Gloucester, MA, Tom Ellis graduated from St. Peter’s
Boys High School in 1969 and Wentworth Institute of Technology with an
associate degree in production engineering technology. From 1971 to
1985, he worked for the family construction business, Fred Ellis & Sons,
Inc. The scope of the work included repairs and maintenance of existing
homes, the construction of new and solar homes, as well as finish work
on commercial office space. The company also bought, improved, and sold
single and multi-family homes during this period.
The White Elephant Shop
In 1985, Tom bought the White Elephant Shop in Essex, MA with his friend and
neighbor, Rick Grobe and worked hard to develop this retail antique business. A
major fire gutted the building in 1991 and forced Tom back into the general
contracting business. In less than three months, Tom had managed the
reconstruction of the building from the ground up and The White Elephant Shop
was back in operation. The business now includes shops in two locations in Essex
and is consistently voted one of the best antique shops on the North Shore. Tom
sold his interest in the White Elephant in January of 1997 to his partner so
that he could focus his energies on the Schooner Thomas E. Lannon.
ERBA Sea Kayaking
In 1994, Tom and two friends started Essex River Basin Adventures (ERBA), a
sea kayak outfitting company, which is also located in Essex. After three
successful seasons of guided tours, lessons and sales, ERBA was said to be the
largest sea kayak outfitter on the East Coast. Tom sold his interest in ERBA to
his partner in
1997, though he still loves to go kayaking. Give Ozzie and Sandy at ERBA a call
if you are thinking of going sea kayaking.
Tom is a member of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, and serves on the
Gloucester Schooner Festival Committee. In 1998, he passed the Coast Guard test
for his Captain's license. After serving for three years as a member of the
Board of Directors at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum, he recently served in the
position of President of the Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding
Museum for three years. He is passionate about the history of Essex shipbuilding and loves
everything about it. (Ask him about the next vessel he wants to build). Capt. Tom has been married for
over thirty years to Kay
Ellis and is the father of two sons, Brian, 33, and Capt. Heath, 31. Tom and Kay
live in West Gloucester and are lucky to spend winters skiing in Teton Valley, Idaho.
President Kay Ellis
Kay (Bonaventura) Ellis grew up in Beverly and graduated from Beverly High
School and the University of Massachusetts with a B.A. in Sociology. After
spending ten years in the real estate industry and having two kids, Kay took a
job as a housing inspector, then came on to manage Essex River Basin Adventures,
the sea kayak outfitting company Tom and two friends started in 1994. Dealing
with the nuts and bolts of running a kayak tour company prepared her for putting
together the behind the scenes segment of starting a schooner sailing business.
Kay focuses her attention on marketing, scheduling, and organizing the
day-to-day operations of running the Lannon office, but you can also often see Kay
working as crew onboard the Lannon.
Kay currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Seaport Gloucester,
Destination Marketing Organization. She served for several years as a member of the City of Gloucester Tourism
Commission. She was on the Board of Trustees of the Essex National Heritage
Commission and the Board of Directors of the North of Boston Convention and
All of these organizations work to bring visitors to the North of Boston region
and to promote the area's rich history.
Kay and Tom are lucky to have spent the last six winters in Teton Valley,
Idaho, skiing at
Grand Targhee. Ask Tom or Kay how many days they skied last winter.
See if you recognize them in this
cat skiing video, taken at Targhee in 2011.
Their son, Brian, is 33 and the computer whiz in the family. Brian can take
credit for creating the letterhead, business cards, redesigning the brochure,
creating this website, and assisting in all facets of the marketing of the
Lannon. When he's not using the computer, Brian likes to ski, sail, swing dance,
travel, read, cook, and spend time with his family and friends. As a teenager, Brian had a lot of fun racing Star
boats out of Sandy Bay Yacht Club in Rockport during the summers. These days he
doesn't get to spend nearly enough time sailing on the Lannon.
Brian graduated from St. John's Prep in Danvers in May, 1998, where he was
voted "most likely to be the first millionaire" by his classmates. He graduated
summa cum laude in May, 2002 from Babson College, where he was a Presidential
Scholar . At graduation, Brian received the Roger Babson award, the most
prestigious award given by Babson College. It is given to the senior who has
most excelled in scholarship, co-curricular activities, and leadership. Brian
spent part of one summer in London, where he studied at the London School of
Economics and interned at a London business. He spent his second semester Junior
year in Australia, where he did some scuba diving, sailing, and (maybe) studying
at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. After graduation, he spent two
months in Berlin.
Brian is on staff at Campus Crusade for Christ, doing some strategic
planning for the Boston staff and is having a great time working with
students from BU, Wentworth, and other Boston colleges.
In October, 2008 Brian married Malisa Canto in Seattle.
Malisa grew up in Utah and like Brian, loves to ski. She is also on
staff for Campus Crusade and was able to transfer to a position in Boston.
Brian are now living in Arlington and truly enjoy their work with Boston
area college students.
Their big news is that they became parents in February, 2011, when their
daughter Sydney Kathryn Ellis was born. Tom and Kay are
Evie, Heath, Brian, Malisa and Sydney (at 3
months) onboard for an early season sail.
Heath, Kay, Brian and Tom onboard on Race Day, 2010
Capt. Tom at the wheel with granddaughter
Sydney, at 15 months. Another sailor!
Captain Heath Ellis
Heath, 31, works full-time on the Lannon. After finishing two years at St.
John's Prep, Heath graduated from Gloucester High School in June of 2000. Heath
completed two years at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine where he earned
an Associate's degree in Small Vessel Operations. In May, 2005 he graduated from
New England Institute of Technology in Rhode Island, where he studied Marine
Technology. There he received the Best in Tech award at graduation.
In 1996, Heath took on an active role in the construction of the Lannon. He was one of the low men on the totem pole,
spending time doing whatever needed to be done: from helping get the trees off
Hog Island, to oiling the wood of the schooner, to cleaning the bilge, to
bunging the holes. Heath saw the entire construction process first-hand. In the
winter of 2000, Heath worked alongside his father finishing off the Lannon below
Heath is the go-to guy for systems work (electrical, plumbing, technology,
etc.) onboard. He knows the Lannon inside and out and has almost as much sea
time on the Lannon as Tom does.
In his spare time, Heath
likes to ski, travel, and spend time hanging out with his friends.
Heath worked as a kayak guide for ERBA for several summers, but now works full
time on the Lannon. In the off-season, Heath works at the
Beacon Marine Basin in East Gloucester.
We are really happy to say that Heath passed his Captain's test in 2010. You
will see him skippering the Lannon this summer so that Tom can
take a few trips off.
Heath married his longtime girlfriend, Evie Brown on the Lannon in the summer of 2008.
Capt. Tom performed the ceremony and then we had a glorious sail to
celebrate. Heath and Evie actually met on the Lannon in 1997 on one of our
first "Teen Night" sails. Evie works as a graphic designer. They live in West Gloucester.
Tom, Brian, Kay and Heath on a glorious fall sail.
Most of the Ellis family in May, 2011. (Evie was at work).
Kay and Heath hard at work on a lobsterbake sail.
Heath and Tom on a lovely afternoon sail.
The Ellis brothers at the wheel at sunset.
And at Heath's wedding onboard in 2008.
member of the Ellis family is our chocolate lab Lucy. Lucy was born in
October of 2006 and joined our family in early December. (Here she is on her
first day at home, at 7 1/2 weeks old). Lucy is a half-sister to our pup Lannie,
who died accidentally in early 2006, at just 14 months.
Lucy can now
be seen either snoozing in the office or greeting our guests onboard and sailing every day.
Here's Lucy at 6 months, helping Tom lace on the new sails, as he and Heath
get the boat ready for another season.
Peeking in the porthole window.
It's definitely a family business!