BBA students build a Eric Hvalsoe-designed rowing and sailing dinghy in cedar



Photos by Emma Brice, Philippa Gedge and Jenny Steer

This lightweight Hvalsoe 16 rowing and sailing dinghy built in cedar was made by Boat Building Academy students Rob Murphy and Matt McGlade with the help of Matt Cowdery.

Read about the Hvalsoe 16 and its sister the Hvalsoe 13 at the website of  veteran Seattle boat builder and designer Eric Hvalsoe.

Rob wanted a boat that he could enjoy with his family, and chose this design as he wanted a lightweight boat that he would be able to use in protected waters and be able to launch by himself.

I gather Rob is ‘chuffed to bits’ with Skylark – he’s pleased with her light weight and finds it easy to manage, launch and recover the boat by himself. He has now sailing her in Poole Harbour and Stithians Reservoir – a fresh water lake in Cornwall – with his family on a recent holiday.

Skylark sails and rows very well and Rob says that his kids haven’t managed to break any part of her yet!

Rob has recently taken over a new workshop in Briantspuddle near to Bere Regis in Dorset and is starting a new boat building and repairs business to be called Blue Lias Marine. Once it has been set up, he has promised to let me know his web address, which I will post here.

Before attending at the BBA, Matt McGlade completed 20 years in the army during which time he acquired a range of useful skills. Having learned woodwork and boatbuilding at the BBA, he has now moved to Bolton, where he is continuing his studies.

Matt Cowdery who had previously worked on superyachts worked on Skylark in its earlier stages but moved on to a glass fibre restoration  project. He’s now working at Reading, building wooden frames for restored Bentleys – a line of work that that has a lot in common with boat building.

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