Tag Archives: boat building academy

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.

BBA students build a 14ft Broome Runabout

Boat Building Academy students Joe Latimer and Alex Lyddon dipped the 14ft Broome Runabout they built on the Academy’s long course at the Academy’s student launch day December.

The photos are by Jenny Steer, Derek Thompson and Becky Joseph.

Named in memory of one of the builders’ late grandmother, the Honda HP40 powered Rita rapidly left the harbour and raced across the bay.

Designed by instructor Mike Broome, the boat is built in stitch and glue, sheathed in bi-axial glass cloth and epoxy underneath a painted finish.

Joe and Alex added their own customisations, which included a burr walnut dashboard, bright finished sapele laid deck, cockpit soles and match boarding.

Joe visite Lyme Regis regularly on holiday as a child, and in 2012 he completed the BBA’s five-day basic woodworking skills short course. That course, and seeing the boats being built in the workshop gave him a taste for woodworking and boat building, and so he joined the 38 week course.

Alex came to the Academy from Surrey. ?As a qualified RYA sailing and powerboat Instructor, he has taught RYA courses in Egypt, Greece and Sardinia with tour operator Mark Warner Ltd.

In April Joe will use his new skills to travel and work his way around Australia. The BBA folks report that he’s satisfied with what he has learned and the skills he will be able to use in future – but also that he’s sad the course is over.

Alex, meanwhile, is exploring maintenance work opportunities with a charter company working in the Greek islands…

See ‘Rita’s’ photographic build diary here.

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