Tag Archives: bba

The BBA gets a new website

BBA website

The Boat Building Academy folks down at Lyme are proud of their new website, and promises much more regular photos on the build diaries.

I hope they don’t get glue on their precious cameras!

The new website has improved boat pages. See the current student builds and latest boats launched here, and there’s an archive of boats built since September 2006 here.

There’s a useful page about what BBA students go on to do after their courses here
and a collection of their testimonials about the teaching here.

There’s also a press page, and news and events pages.

Now all the BBA folks have to is keep it up to date… Hopefully with a new website with a modern back end it should be easy. Certainly there will be plenty to post with all those boat building projects going on.

BBA students build Herreshoff Biscayne Bay sailing skiff

Photos by Jenny Steer and Becky Joseph

This Nat Herreshoff-designed Biscayne Bay sailing skiff was built by Boat Building Academy student Nick Roche and launched at the BBA student launch day at Lyme Harbour last month.

Sadly there wasn’t much of a breeze, but Nick still rowed, with his sails set, out into the harbour to join the other Academy boats.

The skiff is 14ft 5in in length and of multi-chine construction and with a drop keel.

Nick chose the elegant 1912 American design because its lines and classic appearance appealed to him.

The sails were made at the Academy as part of a sail making course taught by Jeremy White of Elvstrom Sails; Jeremy was also on hand at the launch to help Nick with rigging.

Nick joined the Academy in March with the aim of making a career change after spending the past 19 years working in forest management and conservation in the UK, Asia and Africa. He is a qualified PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2) practitioner and has worked as a co-ordinator for the Nepal-UK Community Forestry Project in Nigeria and for the Mersey Forest.

Nick will now find work in the marine industry, preferably in wooden boat building and will use his skiff for day sailing with family and friends.

Tom Oughton worked closely with Nick on the build as well as helping others with their build projects. Keen kayaker, Tom from Weymouth has worked as a lifeguard and activity instructor for PGL in France. He was inspired to learn boat building after his father built a strip-planked kayak and he decided to join the Academy looking for a new skilled based career.

Tom’s long term goal is to develop the traditional and modern skills he has gained from the Academy. In the future, when he has gained more experience at a yard, he would like to set up his own small business building wooden and composite boats.

See BBA student profiles here, boat diaries here, and photos from the launch here.

Boat Building Academy December 2013 launch – post no 1, a modified Hiawatha canoe

Hiawatha 15' Cedar Strip Planked Canoe © Derek Thompson  (4) Hiawatha 15' Cedar Strip Planked Canoe ©Jenny Steer Photography Dec 2013 (69) (1)

The Boat Building Academy’s class of March 2013 have been good all year so the sun shone brightly when they launched their eight newly built boats built during their course into Lyme Regis harbour on 9 December.

About two hundred people cheered as the champagne corks popped and each boat floated. ITV cameras were there, as were Dick Phillips for Water Craft magazine, and Nigel Sharp for Yachting World.

Colin Henwood watched as his newest employee, Brian Reford, sped across the bay in his new speedboat.

Students started work at dawn, making final preparations for the 10 o’clock launch. The boats went out of the workshops at 9, marshalled by former marine sergeant and boat builder Roy Gollop, before being processed the short walk down to the harbour.

Tim Gedge, Director of the Academy, said a few words, as did Sally Holman, Mayor of Lyme Regis. Then the real business of the day started…

Toby Williamson’s 15ft modified Hiawatha canoe is strip planked in western red cedar, sheathed with glass fibre and epoxy. Toby came across the plans in Ted Moores’ book Canoecraft. He modified the sheer line slightly and changed the design of the thwarts and ribs in line with a similar canoe built by Luke Browne.

Toby, the youngest member of the class, decided that sixth form and A levels weren’t for him. He had seen a feature on the Academy in Coast magazine, visited and decided he should go to the BBA instead. Now the course has finished his is working for two months in Holland for a boat builder before going for a season on a game fishing boat in Madeira.

The BBA folks report that Toby says he has loved every minute of the course, and that it is a shame to have to leave – but he is looking forward to taking his new skills around the world.

BBA student launch December 2013 – catch up with the ITV News report

BBA December student launch covered by ITV

The Boat Building Academy’s December student launch seems to have gone off beautifully – ITV News was there to cover the story, and principal Yvonne Green reported 200 people turned up at Lyme Harbour to watch, the weather was stunning, the general mood benevolent, and the students jubilant.

‘There was only just enough wind for the sailing boats, but Brian Reford’s speed boat (see the Intheboatshed.net post annoucing the event) went like the clappers across the bay.

‘The speedboat was the last to be launched, and as it left the harbour the other boats gracefully fell into line and followed. Someone said: “Blimey, that must have taken a bit of organising,” but it was a moment of synchronicity.

‘All in all it was a stunning day and utterly deserved by the students who have just grafted from early morning until late night since they started in March.’

For information, see the BBA website.

BBA student builds replica of 1916 Morgan Giles dinghy

Replica of 1916 Morgan Giles dinghy photo by Derek Thompson


CJenny-Steer-Photography-June-2013-13.jpg  CJenny-Steer-Photography-June-2013-1  Jenny-Steer-Photography-June-2013-11.jpg


Photos by Becky Joseph, Jenny Steer, Derek Thompson

Boat Building Academy Ben Charny built a replica of Pip Emma, a 7 1/2ft clinker built stem dinghy originally built by Morgan Giles for his children in 1916, and which is now part of the collection at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Falmouth.

The pictures above show Ben’s boat at the BBA’s class of 2012 student launch held a few weeks ago. A photographic diary of the boat’s build – Ben built it while on the BBA’s 38-week course – can be seen here.

The boat was built with sweet chestnut planking and a black walnut for the transom. Ben visited the museum to take the lines of the original Pip Emma and then lofted full-sized plans for his replica at the Academy, which is at Lyme.

The name Pip Emma is taken from the phonetic alphabet used by Royal Air Force signallers in World War I and means PM, or afternoon. In keeping with this, Ben has chosen to name his replica, Ack Emma, meaning AM.

Ben grew up just down the road from the Academy in the seaside town of Sidmouth, Devon, and has worked far from home as a deckhand and bosun in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and crossed the Atlantic.

He has now returned to the Mediterranean as a ships carpenter aboard Eleonora, a 50 metre replica of a 1910 Nathaniel Herreshoff yacht, using the skills learned as part of his training in Lyme Regis.

Ben plans to sail Ack Emma with family and friends, when back at home in Sidmouth.

The launch

The launch took place on an unseasonably wet June morning, but joined by family and friends, Academy staff and Lyme Regis locals, on 12th June, students braved the weather to ceremonially walk their boats from the Academy workshop on Monmouth Beach, down to the slipway, where a crowd of well-wishers had gathered at the water’s edge to take part in the celebrations.

Following a few words from BBA director Commander Tim Gedge and town mayor Sally Holman, Ben’s little dinghy was the first boat to launch.

More information about the academy and the 38-week course can be found on the BBA website.

Boat Building Academy and National Maritime Museum Cornwall launch short courses at Falmouth

Ropework course

The National Maritime Museum Cornwall and the Boat Building Academy have teamed up to run a series of short three- and five-day courses at the Falmouth museum’s premises.

The first weekend course, ‘Make a fender – decorative ropework and splicing’, with BBA visiting instructor Roy Gollop on 30 and 31 March will teach decorative ropework and splicing, and participants will make a fender to take away.

Roy began his marine career as an apprentice boat builder in 1946 before enlisting in the Royal Marines, where he was responsible first for landing craft operations before becoming senior instructor of seamanship.

He returned to Lyme Regis and managed the family fishing business for several years until he reopened his  toolbox and began building clinker dinghies and working boats for local people.

BBA  principal Yvonne Green says that running short courses at the NMMC gives the Academy the opportunity to offer short practical workshops outside the limited space available at its Lyme Regis premises.

  • hand tool sharpening and timber preparation 4th-5th May
  • basic joints 11th-12th May
  • dovetails 18th-19th May
  • wooden boat restoration 17-21 June
  • bending wood 22-23 June
  • half model making 29th-30th June
  • replace and scarf a plank 6th-7th July
  • repair a ply dinghy 3rd-4th August
  • ‘Knees up’ with Gail McGarva (shape a knee for a 12ft clinker sailing dinghy and have it fitted to a boat) 17th-18th August
  • basic woodworking skills continued 30th September – 4th October
  • oar making 2nd-3rd November

More information is in the programme: BBA courses at the NMMC 2013.

Also new from the BBA is a timber supply and machining service that will also cut timber brought in by customers.

Timber generally in stock includes sapele (25mm, 32mm and 50mm), American white oak (25mm and 50mm), European oak (25mm, 32mm and 50mm), Western red cedar (25mm and 50mm), Douglas fir (25mm, 32mm and 50mm), Far Eastern ply (4mm, 6mm, 9mm, 12mm and 18mm), Robbins Elite ply (6mm).

Machining of strip planking (with bead and cove) at 6mm and 9mm thickness is also available. Contact the BBA on 01297 445545 or email office@boatbuildingacademy.com.

Sawn timber

BBA students launch an 18ft Paul Gartside-designed cutter

Photograph by Emma Brice

Photograph by Emma Brice (2) SONY DSC SONY DSC

Photograph by Andy Blundy (44) SONY DSC

Photos by Andy Blundy, Charlie Couture and Emma Brice

This 18ft Paul Gartside-designed strip-planked cutter belonging to Boat Building Academy student Dominik Gschwind hit the water at the BBA’s student launch just before Christmas.

The boat is in Western red cedar, fitted out in Douglas fir and with its cabin and other parts finished bright.

Dominik, who is Swiss, chose the boat as a result of his passion for craft inspired by working boat, and modified the original open design by created a small cabin, complete with portholes and a neatly fitted heads – it’s said that this is the first boat to be built at the BBA with either of these features.

Named Gloéy – the name is Dominik’s daughter’s middle name – the boat will be used by for day sailing and cruising on his own and with his family.

To be moored on Lake Constance, which is bordered by Germany, Switzerland and Austria, Gloéy will also be used as a reference project for Dominik’s business, showcasing his new skills to prospective clients.

Dominik, who for the past seven years, has run his own architecture practice in Zurich, enrolled on the Academy’s 38-week training course with the aim of expanding his current business by combining his passion for boats and their construction with his architectural expertise.

Ivan Cavé was Dominik’s main partner in building the boat, and worked closely with him for long hours through the five month build.

Ivan grew up in South Africa but has lived in Australia for most of his life. His first significant boating experience was in 1978 when he joined the crew of Alvee, a John Alden schooner in Malta.

Ivan met wife Jacky after hitching a ride on a 40ft steel cutter from South Africa to Sydney, and consequently took Australian citizenship in 1980. Ivan joined the Academy after retiring from his job as a sales sdministrator, and aims to start a new career in Australia working as a boat builder.

Jacky will be missed at the BBA, she took full part in activities at the school and in Lyme Regis, including one night when she set up an impromptu bar in the workshops to celebrate the mast being completed. Alcohol is of course forbidden in the workshops for safety reasons…

Ivan and Jacky bought a motor home and are now driving round Europe and were last heard of in St Malo, no doubt bringing warmth and friendship wherever they park.

There’s a photographic diary of the build of Gloéy on the BBA website, and Dominik also kept a written online diary.

As always, my thanks to the BBA staff for providing information and photos.