Tag Archives: boat building academy

Boat Building Academy students build a Selway Fisher sailing dinghy

Boat Building Academy student James Dickson built this pea green Selway-Fisher designed sailing dinghy together with another student Simon Swindells while on the BBA’s long course starting in September last year.

The photos are by Janine Cashin, Paul Dyer, Becky Joseph and Jenny Steer.

The 12ft6in Selway-Fisher Northumbrian Coble was built using glued clinker construction and is planked in Robbins Elite marine ply. All other solid timber parts are made of iroko apart from the spars, which are made of sitka spruce.

James, who was previously a partner in a prominent Scottish law firm, is from a long line of Eyemouth fishermen, and chose the Selway-Fisher design because it allowed him to build a boat in a modern way, but reminded him of a traditional coble.

Simon from London, has worked in sales for the last 20 years but tired by being ‘only being as good as your last month’, joined the Academy to start a new practical career.

The coble has been named Star of Hope after a fishing boat James’ family owned in the 50’s and 60’s, and which he believes is currently being used as a sailing charter in Rostock on the Baltic.

The newest Star of Hope capsized fully three times on launch day, ducking James and crew – though when they rowed themselves back to harbour they reported that this had more to do with human error than the weather or the boat .

Neither James nor Simon have yet decided what they’ll do next, but are exploring different opportunities in woodworking and boat building. Meanwhile, Star of Hope is to be used as often as possible for fun with family and friends.

BBA students build a new design composite sailing canoe

Boat Building Academy students Richard Lyford from Portland and Steve Roberts built and launched a newly designed 14ft 5in composite sailing canoe as part of a 38-week boatbuilding course. The photos are by Janine Cashin, Liz Griffiths, Becky Joseph, John  Pritchard, Grant Morris and Jenny Steer.

Richard took a career break to attend the course.

Richard believes that with interest in the Victorian idea of sailing canoes is growing in the UK and that we’re on the way to a real revival. So he worked with sailing canoe specialist company Solway Dory to develop and design a new light-weight composite sailing canoe and built a prototype as part of his course.

Water sports enthusiast Steve joined the course from a career in the Royal Navy where here worked as a mine clearance diver.

The two created a tulip-wood hull plug, which was then glass and epoxied to create the mould, which was lifted off the plug, polished and used to create the canoe.

Rock Pipit can be paddled or sailed, and has an unstayed Bermuda rig, which Richard argues is simple to rig and easy to reef.

She looked elegant in white and royal blue, so much so that BBA technician Steve Hewins, a man who has seen countless boats, watched her go out and said ‘One day I’m going to have one of those… ‘

Richard returns to his job as a Submarine Systems Engineer in July. Steve has already started work at Compass Tenders, Port Hamble, building bespoke tenders for superyachts.

The Rock Pipit design will become part of the Solway Dory range. If you are on the Devon or Cornwall coast or estuaries look out for Richard, who intends to use his new sailing canoe as often as possible.

Boat Building Academy students launch their boats in broad sunshine – and entertaining winds

Brilliant sun shone on the Boat Building Academy’s  Class of September 2013 big launch day at Lyme Regis’s harbour last week.

The students launched six boats and a paddle board built as part of their 38-week course, while a crowd of around three hundred including previous graduates, students’ families and friends, boating enthusiasts and other well-wishers gathered at the harbour.

The boats entered the water following a few words from BBA director Tim Gedge and Lyme Regis’s Mayor, Sally Holman.

Champagne corks popped as the students launched their boats, which were:

  • a 12ft traditional clinker dinghy designed by Paul Gartside
  • a Selway Fisher-designed 12ft 6in Northumbrian Coble
  • a 14ft 6in Rock Pipet composite sailing canoe designed by Richard Lyford in partnership with Solway Dory
  • a Don Kurylko-designed 18ft 1in Alaska  yawl-rigged beach cruiser
  • a Richard Dongray-designed 20ft Golant Ketch with cabin and twin masts
  • a 16ft  F16 composite-built catamaran
  • 14ft paddle board designed by Chesapeake Light Craft

A brisk breeze meant that sailing was a little challenging, I’m told, although a ducking that the Northumbrian Coble sailors received seems to have owed more to human error than to the wind or the boat.

The graduating students joined the course from the UK, Jersey and Norway. Their backgrounds are equally diverse. Some start work almost as soon as the course ends:

  • Reuben Thompson is going to Cockwells
  • Tony Corke is going to Mussett Engineering in Norfolk
  • David Rotheram returns to Liverpool after a career away from home in the RAF, to work for Douglas Marine Ltd
  • Richard Lyford’s sailing canoe will become part of the Solway Dory range when Richard returns to designing submarine systems
  • Keith McIlwain, who built the Golant Ketch, will return to Bristol where he will soon start his own boat building/restoration/repair business, Daydream Boats

Student Ask Serck-Hanssen is to go to Brunel University to study engineering.

More information about the students who make up the Class of September 2013 can be found here, while photographic diaries of the build of the boat projects can be found here.

Boat Building Academy summer student launch 10th June

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The Boat Building Academy is inviting the world to its class of September 2013 student launch at Lyme Regis Harbour at 2pm on Tuesday 10 June.

The twice-yearly event has developed into quite a do – the event attracts friends and family of the students, BBA graduates now working in the marine industry, representatives from the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, the Imperial War Museum Duxford, and the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights

The students, who are of all ages, start often with little or no boat building experience, and graduate with the internationally recognised level 3 qualification required to start a career in the marine industry.

The latest fleet of student boats include a Paul Gartside traditional clinker dinghy, a pea green Selway Fisher Northumbrian Coble and a 20 foot Golant Ketch with twin masts and cabin.

The boats will process from the workshop to the slipway, marshalled by local boat builder and long-time friend of the BBA, Roy Gollop, who will don his foreman’s bowler hat for the occasion.

Lyme Regis Mayor, Sally Holman, will say a few words, as will BBA director Tim Gedge, and the boats will then be launched one by one for the first time. Champagne corks will pop whatever the weather.

For more details about the students who are the Class of September 2013 and for a preview of the boats there are profiles and photographic diaries on the Academy’s website.

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.

BBA student constructs clinker-built Lawton tender

Boat Building Academy long course student George McKimm built a 10ft clinker rowing boat using the plans for the Lawton tender in John Gardner’s book Building Small Classic Craft: Complete Plans and Instructions for 47 Boats, and launched her at the BBA’s December student launch.

The trip from the shed to the water was not the first journey this little rowing boat had made – back in October she travelled by motorway to the Marylebone Road in Central London, where she stood in the gateway of the John Soane church One Marylebone as part of the design and craft fair MADE London.

She was admired by hundreds of people who visited the fair and was said by some to be one of the best exhibits there.

The little boat is named Murron, which is Gaelic for ‘from the sea’ or ‘white sea’, depending on your source, and is planked in khaya mahogany on oak ribs.

Before enrolling on the Academy’s 38 week course, George from Renfrewshire worked as a self employed builder, mainly renovating homes. He has also worked in New Zealand re-fitting boats and as a fabricator for Princess Yachts.

George chose the plans for the tender developed by US boat builder Charles Lawton and recorded by Gardner because it was a small, useable boat that he could build in a traditional way, and which would enable him to develop his woodworking skills. Read about Gardner and Lawton here.

With just a few minor changes – George added extra knees and two rubbing strips – Murron was built in 12 weeks.

George, who has now returned to Scotland, looks forward to starting a new career in the marine industry, and says that: ‘Homes are too square – boats are rounded and much more interesting!’

Martin Lammers helped George with parts of the build as well as helping other students with their build projects.

Martin has been involved in the marine industry since he left school, when he started out as delivery and deck crew on luxury yachts in the Caribbean and Mediterranean.

He has also sailed and raced on a range of racing and classic yachts and before joining the Academy completed a BEng in Yacht Powercraft Design at Southampton Solent University.

Martin joined the BBA course with the aim of gaining practical boat building skills to combine with his knowledge of design; his dream being to work in a yard where he would be involved in the both designing and building of boats.

He plans to start his boat building career shortly with a job at Rustler Yachts in Falmouth.

(I’d add that his little boat makes an interesting comparison with the strip-built tenders built to the Lawton lines that you see around the Internet – and that Gardner’s book Building Classic Small Craft is well worth picking up, especially at it’s current price of about £11 from some sources. His other books of boat building plans and history are well worth having too.)