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BBA students build and launch Fleet Trow

Every spring and autumn, the Boat Building Academy folks send over some photos and a few words about their student’s  launches.

The shots above were taken by Jenny Steer and Derek Thompson, so my thanks to them and to the Academy.

Here’s what they have to say about the first boat launched at the BBA launch on the 3rd December last year:

‘A crowd of about three hundred people braved the cold to celebrate with the class of March 2014 at their student boat launch.

‘The sun shone as four boats, each built as part of the students’ intensive 38 week training, were launched into Lyme Regis Harbour for the first time.

‘Mayor of Lyme Regis Sally Holman and Academy Director Tim Gedge said a few words congratulating the group on their achievements.  Then the champagne corks popped as each boat launched.

‘Eleven students joined the Academy’s level 3 course boat building, maintenance and support’ course last March. Of all ages, some were local but others came from places as far away as Brazil and America.

‘The first to be launched launch was The Lost Tribe, a 12ft glued clinker Fleet trow.

‘Planked in marine ply, the Trow has a khaya stem with bright finished sapele thwarts and trim.

Trows are used on the Fleet, a lagoon located behind Chesil Beach in West Dorset, to transport mackerel caught off the beach across to the mainland, and for wildfowling.

‘The Lost Tribe is based on a 1970s example featured in the book Working Boats of Britain – Their Shape and Purpose by Eric McKee.

‘One of the builders, Nigel Chapman, worked as an engineer on the National Grid for 29 years before joining the Academy.?Spending time with friends who worked as boat builders – and seeing them enjoy the work they did – made Nigel want to develop his carpentry skills and train to become a boat builder too.

‘Nigel’s main partner in the build, Fred Faro, came to the Academy from Brazil, where he worked as field engineer and manager on heavy infrastructure projects. ?With a love for the sea and a desire to work with his hands using practical skills, he decided that becoming a boat builder would combine the two.

‘When Nigel was taken ill part way through the course, Fred and other members of the group completed the build.  On the day, Fred and Nigel’s wife Alison together launched The Lost Tribe.  We all wish Nigel a speedy recovery and look forward to him joining us again when he’s fit.  Fred is now at Palma Mallorca, working for Classic Yacht Shipwrights and Joiners.

For photos of The Lost Tribe’s build, see the Boat Building Academy’s website here.

PS – Here’s a real bonus. The good people at the BBA have agreed to make the offsets for the 12ft Fleet trow available via Intheboatshed.net.  Click on the drawing for the pdf.

offsets Fleet trow


The Restoration of Centaur

This is a trailer – the premier showing of the complete film The Restoration of Centaur will be at Maldon town hall at 7pm on the 7th March 2015.

Centaur is a Thames sailing barge built in 1895, and now owned and operated by the Thames Sailing Barge Trust.

PS – And dig this too…


The Rhoda Mary Project


Pilot cutter exponent Luke Powell is getting together a project to rescue and rebuild the 1868 109ft merchant schooner Rhoda Mary, which has lain on mud at Hoo on the Medway for many decades.

She was financed by the old 64-share system in which communities shared in the profits of building a ship, and built near Falmouth in Cornwall by a shipyard owned by John Stephens of Devoran, and designed by William Foreman Ferris.

The plan is to salvage the vessel this spring and move her to Cornwall, where the work will begin.

Author, researchwer and director of the National Maritime Museum Basil Greenhill said that: ‘This vessel, a relatively large schooner of 130 tons gross, was to be famous for her speed along all the west coast of England as long as she remained afloat. Her speed came from her narrow beam, for she was less than twenty-two feet wide, from her fine run and her raked and flaring clipper bow. She had a rake on her stem of over twenty degrees. The Rhoda Mary was a work of some genius.’

I think it sounds like a great idea. Read more here, here and here.

Old boats, traditional boats, boat building, restoration, the sea and the North Kent Coast – Gavin Atkin's weblog