Tag Archives: lyme regis

BBA students build a glued clinker Christmas Wherry

Most of us, probably, have dreamed at some time of living by the sea and waking to the sound of waves on the shore. Thomasin Sage clearly has, and from December to February this year she was a live-in student at the Boat Building Academy on Monmouth Beach at Lyme Regis.

Before joining the 38-week boat building, maintenance and support course Thomasin spent a year living and working in Japan as part of her Japanese degree.

When her time as an undergraduate came to a close, she could no longer ignore the lure of boats, her need to work with wood and the sea and the day after graduating she went to the BBA for interview.

Thomasin said ‘It felt like coming home’. Her hope now is one day to open a boatyard and take traditional British boat building to Japan.

Thomasin chose to build a Christmas Wherry designed by Walter J Simmons of Maine, which is based on designs for Lincolnville wherries developed for the Atlantic salmon fishery in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

It has a flat keel so she can be beached easily and will stand upright when ashore, carries a 102sqft standing lugsail and can also be easily rowed.

The original plans were for a traditional clinker build but Thomasin opted for the lighter glued clinker method. Although easily sailed and rowed, the original design was not ideal for taking an outboard motor and Thomasin wanted the boat to be as versatile as possible, so overseen by Academy instructors Thomasin modified the design, reducing the steep angle (rake) of the transom so that it would take a motor.

During lofting, the Wherry’s lines were extended and slight alterations made to the rudder plan. The extra length should also make her slightly faster under sail.

Given the strong glued clinked build, further modifications could be made to reduce the weight and bulkiness of the gunwhale and inwhale, but when it came to the rowlock swellings the original chunkier measurements were used.

The boat’s bright finish shows the high level of aesthetic consideration that has gone into the detail and structural parts. The dark Khaya (West African mahogany) laminated frames have an elegant steamed oak thwart riser, with oak thwarts and black thwart knees and a walnut joggled transom. The spruce spar and spoon bladed oars were all also made on the course.

Assisting Thomasin on her student build of the Christmas Wherry were students Alfred Dalby from the UK and Stefanie Bielowski from Austria.

Alfie spent 10 years living in Costa Rica with his family, helping out with the family restaurant. He is an artist and is fascinated by the practical, craft element of boat building. He sees the course as the beginning of a lifelong relationship with boat building.

Stefanie was a project manager for an NGO in Vienna but, looking for a change, went on to sail and skipper cruising yachts around the world.

Thomasin is completing a trial period with a traditional boat yard on the Thames, Alfie is working at Lots Ait Boatyard, a London yard owned and run by BBA graduate John Watson, and  Stefanie began work at Spirit Yachts on the Monday after graduation.

 

The photographs are by Charlie Fawell, Emma Brice and Janine Cashin.

BBA student launch December 2015

My old pal Pete Bromwich nipped along to the Boat Building Academy student launch this week and took this small avalanche of shots…

I’ll be posting again shortly with some more sent by the BBA folks, but since Pete got in first, I thought I’d publish them in order – so thanks Pete!

Here’s what he had to say:

‘It was a lovely bright morning in Lyme Regis for the launch of the students of March 2015 boats in the harbour. The boats are:

Helga is a 16’ Iain Oughtred Elfyn built by Neil Hammond and Ross Wheeler-Clayton and the class of 2015.

She is a double-ended traditional clinker Norwegian faering, with copper fastened larch planking, steamed oak timbers and laminated oak stems and a solid oak keel.

The 21ft7in Iain Oughtred Kotik was made by Andreas Sulzer and the class of March 2015. She is a gaff-rigged double-ender, and has laminated mahogany stems, iroko keel and deadwood and lead ballast keel. Her hull is constructed used the glued clinker method.

The replica of a Herreshoff 12½ was made by Steven Adler and the class of March 2015. She is strip planked in western red cedar and sheathed inside and out with two layers of biaxial glass cloth and epoxy resin.

She has a sapele stem hog, keel and deadwood and a lead ballast keel, and is gaff rigged.

Barbara Anne is a 18ft7in Robert Steward launch. Mark Turner and the class of March 2015 built this cold-moulded electric motor launch. She has a laminated mahogany stem and sapele backbone structure.

Her hull was constructed using three layers of marine plywood and one outer layer of mahogany veneer, which was be laid fore and aft to simulate carvel planking.

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.