Tag Archives: boat building academy

BBA student launch, June 2015

The Boat Building Academy’s class of September 2014 launched eight boats in bright but blustery weather at Lyme Regis last month.

I’ve put up lots of photos because I feel they convey the busy atmosphere of the event!

Around three hundred people gathered at the slipway to see the student-built or student-renewed boats were launched for the first time.

Following a few words from academy director Tim Gedge, and former Lyme Regis mayor Sally Holman, each of the boats set off on their maiden voyages, cheered on their way by the crowd.

The boats the students launched were:

  • 10ft restored traditional clinker dinghy, believed to have originally been built by Naval apprentices
  • 12ft strip planked Andrew Wolstenholme Mallard dinghy
  • 13ft glued clinker Iain Oughtred Acorn Skiff
  • 14ft traditional clinker faering designed by builder Max Stembridge’s naval architect father
  • 15ft 2in cold moulded Iain Oughtred Whilly Tern
  • 18ft strip planked Guillemot Night Heron kayak
  • 20ft carvel Seabird Half-Rater (the claimed to be the oldest one-design class boat still sailing, this was the 107th to be built)
  • 22ft clinker built small Viking ship Nordlands 

The Nordlands boat crew managed to keep hold of their Viking hats as they rowed across the harbour and experienced sailors aboard the Seabird Half-Rater and Mallard dinghy enjoyed an exciting sail across the bay.

Once the boats had been enjoyed, the students returned to the workshops on Monmouth Beach where they received their Level 3 City & Guilds certificates.

Principal,Yvonne Green, congratulated the class on their achievements and wished them well as they start their new lives as boat builders.

Dave Young from PodFilms caught footage of the launch from the safety boat (kindly provided by Rob Perry Marine). The Academy is delighted with the new film showing workshop and launch shots, which can be viewed on the homepage of their website.

Photographic build diaries of each boat can be viewed here.

  • PS – My pal Pete Bromwich attended the BBA’s 12 week course in woodworking skills recently, during which he made a hammered dulcimer.  Here are some photos of the project.

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.

BBA students build a traditional Thames skiff

Photos by Jenny Steer, Becky Josepth and Derek Thompson

The Boat Building Academy’s spring student launch at Lyme included this traditional clinker-built Thames skiff built by students Lawrence Shillingford and Brooke Ricketts.

Rosina May made a glamorous first public appearance, as she was decorated with gold balloons tied on by Lawrence’s friends.

Traditionally built in clinker mahogany on oak, 21ft Rosina May is based on a Hobb’s skiff as featured in the classic book Working Boats of Britain – Their Shape and Purpose by Eric McKee.

The design evolved from larger Thames Wherries which carried fare-paying passengers.

Lawrence spent a lot of his early years either on or beside the Thames. He now rows Cornish pilot gigs with Weymouth Gig Club. He wanted to combine rowing with a traditional Thames design, and says the skiff almost chose itself for the project.

Rosina May was modified to a single rowing position. It features moulded detailing typical of this type of boat and a decorative mahogany and oak sunburst design on the seat back and rudder.

Originally from Twickenham but now living in Bridport, Lawrence joined the course to learn new skills after a 30 year career in the London Fire Brigade.

From Maryland, Brooke worked for Inter-Rail Transport USA for 10 years before deciding to have a career change.

With a love of boats he started an apprenticeship at Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, and wanting to develop his skills further he relocated to Dorset with his family to join the Academy.

Since graduating, Brooke has returned to the museum to complete his apprenticeship and Lawrence is starting a small boat building and restoration business in the Bridport area.

Lawrence says the journey through the course from knowing virtually nothing to having completed this project, learning from mistakes along the way, has given him the confidence to take on new solo projects.

See the Thames skiff’s build diary here.