Capt. Bob Douglas, the legendary former owner of the topsail schooner Shenandoah, will receive the prestigious Creative Living Award for 2020-2021, the Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation announced Wednesday.

Captain Douglas’s long legacy on Martha’s Vineyard dates to 1964, when at age 32 he moved from Vineyard Haven to Maine to design and build the 108-foot schooner that is today the symbol of the Vineyard Haven harbor and its traditional wooden boats. Mr. Douglas had no professional boat building experience, but said at the time: “I wanted to recreate a vessel true to the standard of the best ships that ever sailed under the American flag, I designed each aspect of her to not only achieve this, but also to make her a joy to sail and to live aboard.”

Shenandoah’s arrival in Vineyard Haven Harbor ushered in an era of sailing and wooden boat building and appreciation that continues, and along the way Captain Douglas has provided inspiration for mariners, boat builders and riggers, educators and historians. First a charter schooner, later Shenandoah became a living classroom for generations of fifth graders in Island schools on weeklong trips every fall.

Last year Mr. Douglas gifted Shenandoah to FUEL, an educational nonprofit dedicated to continuing his lifetime work. The Creative Living Award announcement came one day before Shenandoah was due to sail home to Vineyard Haven after undergoing work at the Mystic Shipyard in Mystic, Conn.

After a pandemic hiatus last year, the historic schooner will be sailing again with school children this summer.

“Captain Douglas’s commitment to doing it right spans more than one man’s lifetime. It has been a transformative experience for generations. The visibility and endurance of this unique schooner, for Islanders and tourists, for young and old, is a living reminder of not just the power of living a creative life, but of sharing it,” the foundation said in announcing the award.

The award spans two years.

“Though our decision was made last year, the Community Foundation waited until we could celebrate in the old-school, in-person way most fitting for Captain Douglas,” foundation executive director Emily Bramhall said in the announcement.

A presentation and celebration will be held this fall, with details to be announced later this summer.

Begun through a bequest in 1983 by the late Ruth Bogan for her friend Ruth Redding, the Creative Living Award recognizes an Islander every year who embodies the Island way of life and has worked to preserve it.

The Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation was established in 1982, and puts charitable contributions to work for the Island through grants, scholarships, emergency response and special project funding.