Boat Building Academy students build a small South Bay catboat

  Michael Tyler's Catboat 'Lucie' designed by Mike Broome. Photo by Emma Brice

Boat Building Academy students Mike Tyler, Jon Bicknell and Andy Blundy built this strip-built South Bay-style catboat to a design worked up by the students with the help of instructor Mike Broome.

Local lad Mike – he commuted to Lyme from Sidmouth each day of the course – worked in banking before coming to the BBA. However, he seems to be a man of many interests: previously he had studied sculpture at art college, where he frequently worked with driftwood, and dreamed of becoming a boat builder.

Mike particularly wished to build an ‘original’ design with a sculptural form, and was inspired by the Victorian half rater built by another BBA student, Martin Nott. Mike then came across the 21ft Gilbert Smith design Lucile that was then redesigned to a manageable size with instructor Mike Broome’s help – and the result was the 14ft Lucie.

Mike Tyler is now at Pangbourne, Reading, and involved in setting up the new Beale Park Maritime Museum.

Jon comes from a background in information technology design and Jon worked predominantly with Mike on Lucie – although did spend an hour here and there on other builds. Having finished the course is now busy finding his feet in the boat building industry.

I gather Andy, who was previously a floor layer, was a little less involved – but was an asset to everyone at the Academy, always cheery and ready to help. Like the other students not building their own boats, he circulated around the boat builds to gain a thorough knowledge on as many construction types as possible.

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5 Responses to Boat Building Academy students build a small South Bay catboat

  1. Peter Vanderwaart says:

    Gilbert Smith was a boatbuilder on Long Island, NY. He was famous for elegant catboats about 20 feet long the were raced on Great South Bay. When looking for a reference on the web, I came across a nice summary of his career here: http://nautarch.tamu.edu/pdf-files/Merwin-MA2000.pdf

    It’ s interesting that one of his designs was built on the Cayman Islands. Back in the 19th century, the Caribbean was a reachable for a warm weather vacation. Florida was practically uninhabited. There are N.G. Herreshoff boats in Bermuda, too.

  2. Shane O'Brien says:

    G’day from the Limestone Coast in Victoria, Australia,
    I reckon that little modified 14ft Catboat is a winner. It looks so beautiful, almost a marine sculptour rather than a boat. Is there anywhere you can get the modified plans so I can build one over here. We don’t see a lot of Catboats but I reckon they suit our sailing grounds remarkably well. Shallow bays, deep wide estuaries, and wide open water. I would love to have a ‘go” at one.
    Anyway I dig your website and often scan it’s pages and think it’s a wonderful inspiraion.
    cheers
    Shane

  3. Leonard Seastone says:

    I am part of a team of volunteers at the Long Island Marine Museum where a full size Gil Smith Catboat was newly built several years ago. Currently it is in the boat shop for reprinting and varnishing. There are plans at the museum, I will inquire if they are ever made available. Several original Gil Smith cats are on display in the LIMM’s small craft building. If ever you are this way come and visit.

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