Tag Archives: bba

BBA students build a glued clinker Christmas Wherry

Most of us, probably, have dreamed at some time of living by the sea and waking to the sound of waves on the shore. Thomasin Sage clearly has, and from December to February this year she was a live-in student at the Boat Building Academy on Monmouth Beach at Lyme Regis.

Before joining the 38-week boat building, maintenance and support course Thomasin spent a year living and working in Japan as part of her Japanese degree.

When her time as an undergraduate came to a close, she could no longer ignore the lure of boats, her need to work with wood and the sea and the day after graduating she went to the BBA for interview.

Thomasin said ‘It felt like coming home’. Her hope now is one day to open a boatyard and take traditional British boat building to Japan.

Thomasin chose to build a Christmas Wherry designed by Walter J Simmons of Maine, which is based on designs for Lincolnville wherries developed for the Atlantic salmon fishery in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

It has a flat keel so she can be beached easily and will stand upright when ashore, carries a 102sqft standing lugsail and can also be easily rowed.

The original plans were for a traditional clinker build but Thomasin opted for the lighter glued clinker method. Although easily sailed and rowed, the original design was not ideal for taking an outboard motor and Thomasin wanted the boat to be as versatile as possible, so overseen by Academy instructors Thomasin modified the design, reducing the steep angle (rake) of the transom so that it would take a motor.

During lofting, the Wherry’s lines were extended and slight alterations made to the rudder plan. The extra length should also make her slightly faster under sail.

Given the strong glued clinked build, further modifications could be made to reduce the weight and bulkiness of the gunwhale and inwhale, but when it came to the rowlock swellings the original chunkier measurements were used.

The boat’s bright finish shows the high level of aesthetic consideration that has gone into the detail and structural parts. The dark Khaya (West African mahogany) laminated frames have an elegant steamed oak thwart riser, with oak thwarts and black thwart knees and a walnut joggled transom. The spruce spar and spoon bladed oars were all also made on the course.

Assisting Thomasin on her student build of the Christmas Wherry were students Alfred Dalby from the UK and Stefanie Bielowski from Austria.

Alfie spent 10 years living in Costa Rica with his family, helping out with the family restaurant. He is an artist and is fascinated by the practical, craft element of boat building. He sees the course as the beginning of a lifelong relationship with boat building.

Stefanie was a project manager for an NGO in Vienna but, looking for a change, went on to sail and skipper cruising yachts around the world.

Thomasin is completing a trial period with a traditional boat yard on the Thames, Alfie is working at Lots Ait Boatyard, a London yard owned and run by BBA graduate John Watson, and  Stefanie began work at Spirit Yachts on the Monday after graduation.

 

The photographs are by Charlie Fawell, Emma Brice and Janine Cashin.

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BBA students build a Iain Oughtred Guillemot

The Boat Building Academy autumn student launch marking the end of the BBA’s 38-week long course this year took place just two days after much of the south-west of England had been battered by winds and a month’s worth of rain.

But still the sun rose, the winds tempered, and the folks gathered to celebrate the students’ achievements, and to mark the Academy’s 20th boat launch. They seem to be lucky with the weather, the BBA.

The eight students came from a range of nationalities, backgrounds and ages from 18 to 60.

On each course a range of boats are built using a number of construction techniques in order to give students the biggest breadth of knowledge and hands-on experience possible.

This year, the first boat into the water was an Iain Oughtred Guillemot built by students Harry Evans, Toby Whillock and Connor Pannell with contributions from the rest of the group.

The boat, named The Last Leg  is cold moulded, with a strong and light monocoque structure.  The lightweight laminated transverse floors, which are thin and low profile, serve a double purpose as structural support and bearers for the sole boards.

Often in a traditional boat the thwart riser is one continuous longitudinal structural member that gets steamed in, but on Harry’s boat the thwarts sit on single shorter pieces of timber.

In the area of the gunwhales, the boat’s sheerstrake was vacuum bagged in place to ensure good and consistent cramping pressure on the veneer while the glue cured.

The gunwhale follows the style of traditionally built clinker built boats, but with blocks in place of the timber ends to reinforce as well as add an aesthetic appeal. This was achieved by gluing blocks to the inside of the planking at the sheerline.  The blocks hold the inwhale off of the planking adding structural strength to the gunwhale, an area of the boat which will see plenty of knocks and wear over its lifetime.

The hull was a brilliant red,  painted around the transom taking in the plank ends.  The thwarts and stern sheets are oak.  Sole-boards are Douglas fir and the mast and spars spruce.

The dinghy is same design, but very different both in construction and look to the clinker-built Guillemot student Regina Frei built during the September 2015 course.

Harry left school at 16 knowing he wanted to work with his hands but not knowing in which industry. He worked for a time for Permateek, a Poole Company specialising in synthetic boat decking and teak removal, and during this time realised he wanted to work in boat building – but his progress was stopped in its tracks by a serious motorbike accident in 2014, in which he sustained a bad leg injury.

Although he has now completed the course, he has to undergo more leg operations before he can properly start his career.

Toby is a scientist and former Chartered Engineer, with experience in the mining, steel, and offshore industries.  Toby wants to leave the laboratory behind him and head to a boatyard.  Connor, who had originally thought he would become and engineer, begins work for Spirit Yachts in February.

Boat Building Academy student launch 23rd November

student-launch-dec-2015

It’s nearly time for one of the BBA’s great annual events – the autumn-winter student launch, which this year takes place at Lyme Regis on the 23rd November. (The photo above is from last year’s event.)

They’re inviting folks to join the celebrations, which begin at 12:00 when five boats built or restored by the 38-week boat building, maintenance and support course class of February 2016 are launched.

The boats to be launched are:

  • 11ft6in Iain Oughtred-designed Guillemot
  • 14ft RNSA dinghy restoration
  • 15ft Christmas Wherry
  • 15ft sailing canoe
  • 12ft 1930s International 12 racing dinghy restoration

They make an ingteresting collection. See photos of the projects as the students work on them.

The BBA folks have published a its 2017 short course programme – new courses for 2017 include:

  • introduction to woodworking (back by popular demand)
  • separate courses on antique furniture restoration and marquetry are now part of the regular programmeafter running once each in 2016

Principal Yvonne Green tells me that this year some 40% of people joining short courses had been on a BBA course before, which I guess says a lot about what folks think about the courses.