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A Cape Cod Sea Scout Ship & Explorer Club

Ship 72 Leaders and Mentors

Our Unsung Heroes

Richard Gifford, Skipper

Skipper Rick Gifford is native Cape Codder who has spent most of his life involved in scouting, either as a scout, or as a leader.

Rick teaches STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) at Provincetown Schools. He enjoys fishing, boating, and studying nature.

Rick has been selected as the 2019 Barnstable County Science Teacher of the Year.

Sue Haley

Committee Chair

Sue has been with Ship and Club 72 since 2014, first as the Explorer Club Adult Leader and now as the Chairperson.

She has spent a life on the water boating, and a career educating people about our spectacular natural resources.

It's important to her to be involved with exposing youth to the exciting opportunities available for adventure on and exploring our local marine resources.

Lee Johnson


From Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts and achieving the rank of Star (working on Life requirements), Lee has witnessed the strength of the BSA theme “Prepared for Life”.

For the last dozen years, he has served as 1st Mate on Ship 76 of Harwich Port and Ship 72 of Orleans. Lee is presently Treasurer of the Ship and Explorer Club and past commander of the Cape Cod Sail and Power Squadron.

His zest for all water related activities started at a young age. A large salt water bay in New Jersey was only a few blocks from home. Much time was spent above and below the waters surface snorkeling, fishing, rowing and clamming. Way back then our family’s little row boat was moored without locks or a permit.

Graduating from the United States Merchant Marine Academy and sailing aboard commercial ships for four years galvanized his interest in all marine activities. The waterfront activities at the Academy are unmatched. The Bermuda Race, sailing to Halifax,NS and competing at the US Naval Academy and Long Island Sound races were some of his training. In addition, he spent ten years in one design dinghy racing on Saratoga Lake, NY.

In local waters ten years was spent as crew and purser cruising and racing from Hyannis Yacht Club. One lucky day in 2016 Lee was permitted to crew the 122 ft flagship Adventure from Vineyard Haven to Gloucester, MA. This National Historic Treasure dory fishing vessel was honored to be the second boat behind the USCG Eagle when the tall ships paraded into Boston harbor 2017. Cape Cod and its abundance of marine lore and talent is an ideal place for nurturing any teen who has an interest in boating. Sea Scouting in Ship 72 is one of the greatest treasures of our area.

John Crawford


John grew up in Greenwich Connecticut and was very active in scouting through his college years. He achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and is a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow.

He spent several summers as the Program Director at the Earnest Thompson Seton Scout Reservation in Greenwich, CT.

He earned bachelors and masters degrees from Springfield College before joining the faculty there as an associate professor in the Physics department.

He then worked at IBM for 45 years and enjoyed several career assignments including living in Paris, Tokyo and Shenzhen China.

He is now retired and living in East Orleans where he is active in Rotary, the Orleans Yacht Club, the America's Boating Club Cape Cod, First Night Chatham and several other civic and volunteer organizations besides being a former Committee Chair for Sea Scout Ship 72 and Explorer Club 72.

John is the District 14 Commander of the America's Boating Club (2018-2020) and Education Officer of the America's Boating Club Cape Cod (2016-current). He has a USCG Masters 50 Ton Inland Operators license.

John owns several boats and is always looking to spend time on the water or playing at golf whenever possible.

Jon Leonard


Jon moved down here from Maine in 2014 after he met his significant other Jen Whittaker as well as to be closer to his parents.

Jon’s affiliation w/ ship 72 began as a child being fascinated with the story’s told to him by his father about his adventures belonging to ship 72 in the 50’s.

He was later recruited as a committee member after recovering a capsized skiff belonging to Ship 72.

Jon is a self-employed contractor working out of Orleans and is a U.S.M.C. veteran.

Dean Skiff


Dean is an Eagle Scout who enjoyed Philmont Boy Scout Reservation in New Mexico and Schiff National Training Camp as a youth. Later, as a High Adventure Explorer Post Adviser in Chelmsford, MA, he would bring his 25 scouts down to Orleans and sail with Ship 72 to the islands and to Maine.

During the winter, Ship 72 would visit his Explorer Post and ski the mountains of New England. When Captain Mike Allard retired after 30 years as Ship 72’s Skipper, Dean became Skipper to keep the tradition afloat.

Dean taught high school and coached wrestling before going into the business world and owning his own franchises.

Before retiring on the Cape, where his family summered, and he life guarded for Nauset and the National Seashore, he was a New England sales representative for a number of companies.

He and his wife Joyce presently live in Orleans where he can be seen driving a school bus for the Nauset Regional School System. In between his bus routes he is known for catching a quick sail in his Rhodes 19 which he has enjoyed for over 30 years.

Jennifer Whitaker


Jen is a Realtor with Gibson Sotheby's International Realty. She has been an Eastham resident for over 20 years. She is very active in the community. Currently she is:
  • Current President of the Nauset Rotary Club,
  • a Ship 72 Committee member,
  • a past president of Business and Professional Women of the Lower Cape,
  • an Orleans business owner,
  • a 100 ton Master Mariner's (USCG) license holder,
  • a Volunteer for the Meals on Wheels program,

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Nauset Ship 72 does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and clients.

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