All posts by Gavin Atkin

BBA students launch Beg Meil dinghy – and an invitation

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It’s almost time for the summer student launch at the Boat  Building Academy at Lyme on the 10th June… So here’s an invitation, and a reminder of what the event’s about – a post about one of the boats BBA students dipped for the first time at the last student launch!

The final boat in the water at the BBA’s student launch event in December was a bright red 14ft glued-clinker Beg Meil dinghy built by Stuart McGowan and Graeme Furniss to plans by François Vivier.

Another student, Joe Wilkinson, also worked on the dinghy as well as all of the other boats built by the class.

Stuart has always had a passion for gaff-rigged boats; for a period he owned, sailed and raced a Cornish Shrimper and was a member of the Old Gaffers Association. He was particularly drawn to the Beg Meil design due to her rig, sailing abilities and half-decked, beamy layout.

The dinghy has been named Poppy after her red hull, the colour of which was chosen in memory of the classic red Porsche Stuart sold to pay for her build.

She has Douglas fir cockpit soles and spars, galvanised steel centre plate and copper coat antifoul below the water line.

Originally from Portsmouth, Stuart joined the Academy following a 40-year career in the water industry which took him all over the world. He joined the course to learn skills needed to complete repair work to wooden boats during his retirement.

Graeme worked as a child protection social worker before joining the Academy. A keen sailor, he wanted a new practical career working with his hands, and boat building seemed the perfect choice of craft for him to learn.

With time to fill before starting the 38 week course in March, starting in January he completed the first 8 weeks of the BBA’s 12-week woodworking skills’ course, during which he made a hatch cover for his 8 tonne double-ended carvel Hillyard.

Before attending the BBA’s 38-week course, Joe, from Staffordshire, was a qualified mechanic specialising in Land Rover repairs. He joined the course wanting a change, and is now working at Peak Oak Frames, an oak framing company near Sheffield, and has applied for an Edward Barnsley Workshop apprenticeship to further develop his woodworking skills.

Stuart will go on to work in yards and sailing clubs around the Solent and Graeme too will use his new woodworking and boat building skills in the marine industry.

The Beg Meil dinghy’s photographic build diary can be seen here.

Original Velsheda hatch up for auction

Velsheda hatch 1

It’s amazing what comes up when you write a weblog like this… I thought someone might be interested in acquiring this little piece of J Class history.

Peter Davies was for many years sales director for Southampton Yacht Services, and was involved in rescuing many fine old classic yachts for refitting by the yard – and along the way accumulated a few interesting items.

Here’s one that’s for sale – legendary J class racing yacht Velsheda’s original hatch, replaced in her major refit a few years ago.

Velsheda was designed by Charles Ernest Nicholson and built in 1933 by Camper and Nicholsons at Gosport, Hampshire for businessman William Lawrence Stephenson. Between 1933 and 1936, she won many races and competed with other great yachts including Britannia, Endeavour and Shamrock V. She was laid up in 1937.

Velsheda was later rescued from her Hamble mud berth in 1984 and economically refitted for charter work with a new steel mast and
limited interior.

In 1996 she was sold to a new owner and relaunched after a complete rebuild in 1997 by Southampton Yacht Services
(SYS).

When her hull was delivered to SYS in 1996 it came with a shipping container containing deck furniture removed from her by a previous owner and partly restored by his crew at the time. However, during the 1997 restoration new hatches and a new deckhouse were constructed by SYS, so the old hatch was no longer needed…

Velsheda hatch 2