This is photographic evidence that this year’s winter student launch at the Boat Building Academy really did manage to take place in decent bright, if chilly, weather despite the variable autumn we’ve had.
Apart from the students and staff, the shots show the launch of an Iain Oughtred-designed Fulmar named Florence after the builder’s daughter born a week ago and also a Humble Bee pram dinghy also designed by Oughtred.
Eight boats built by the class of March 2012 hit the water, and details of the boats and the students who built them are here, and there are more photos here.
The BBC and ITV were in attendance, and their reports are here (the launch report starts about 21 minutes in) and here.
This lovely-looking shiny new boat is a Joel White-designed Haven 12 1/2 built in epoxy glass and foam with a traditional fit-out and spars. She was made by three Boat Building Academy students, Gary Thompson, Yoann Henric and Nick Lawther (see second photo).
Sadly the Haven 12 1/2 was one of two boats that did not make the water on the students’ summer launch day – Lyme’s harbour master decided the wind was a bit too frisky.
Gary is at the far left in the second photo; he is to start work with Wessex Resin’s technical expert David Johnson; Yoann in the centre of the photo has returned to France to find work near Marseille, and Nick plans to set up a small boatyard in Australia in a few months.
PS – On launch day boat builder, occasional instructor, very good friend of the academy and former Royal Marines sargeant major Roy Gollop donned his bowler hat and did the honours in getting the twelve boats organised and down to the harbour with something approaching military promptness.
Boat builders? Military promptness? It sounds marvellous if slightly implausible, but a bowler-hatted Mr Gollop is probably not someone to argue with!
This piece of YouTube film shows how Nick Smith and his colleagues timber out a clinker built hull using green oak steamed in a steam chest in Nick’s workshop.
It looks like damned hard work to me, but no-one can say the result isn’t worth the effort.
The only other thing I’ll say is that I edited this down from some film Nick sent over – and this will be the last time I’ll use Windows Live Movie Maker. It froze and crashed so many times I couldn’t count them, the only thing that got the software working each time was to go into the task manager and close it down that way. It quite spoiled my day – but hey, now we can all see how the professionals do this kind of thing (timber out a boat, I mean, not edit a YouTube clip!).
Nick comes from Devon, learned boatbuilding the traditional way and specialises in new builds in clinker and carvel for sail, motor and rowing power from 8ft to 28ft with a special emphasis on West Country style and design, and also takes on repairs and refits from 25ft to 50ft. These days he’s based in Hampshire, and can be contacted by email at email@example.com and by phone on 07786 693370.