BBA students’ half rater – not ready for launch day, but so beautiful…

Photo by Paul Dyer Photo by Becky Joseph 

Boat Building Academy student Colin Hurner decided to build a half-rater after stumbling across a picture on the internet of Miru, a William Fife 25ft racer and day-sailer built in New Zealand in 1895.

With no complete plans and limited drawings, Colin created a half-model inspired by Miru’s lines, and then developed a table of offsets, which he then lofted with the help of the other students on the course – it was an excellen learning experience for all of the group.

Named Miura, the new boat is just over 22ft, and carvel planked in Alaskan yellow cedar with an iroko backbone and laminated sapele frames.

He could not complete Miura in time for the launch to the standard he required and so decided not to try – but visitors who had come to see the class’s launch day were able to see her unfinished hull in the workshop.

Woodworking has been a significant part of Colin’s life. His father comes from a long line of Swiss craftsmen, teaching carpentry and carving, and young Colin spent many hours in the workshops working on projects alongside his father, including the restoration of an old 16ft catamaran.

Just before coming to the BBA in September, Colin worked in the Caribbean as deckhand on Martha Ann – a 70m luxury superyacht built by Lurssen.

Colin is now in Southampton with his brother, where he plans to complete Miura’s build.

Tobias Roithner was Colin’s main artner in building Miura. Half Swiss and half Australian, Tobias is a data analyst and process design engineer.

Before joining the BBA worked as a quantitative analyst for Swisscom. Tobias has an interest in ‘unconventional’ means of transport, and in 2002 cycled from Switzerland to India by bicycle.

He joined the BBA wanting to learn the craft of boat building, with a long term goal of sailing around the world – he intends to set sail from Lyme Regis later this year, with the Mediterranean his first destination.

Tobias created a weblog about Miura’s build – click here to see it. Also click here to see the BBA’s photo diary.

Students on the 38 week course, whether building their own boat or not, work on all of the boats built by their class, and Peter Whale’s experience included time working on Miura learning the art of carvel construction.

At earlier stages he learned strip planking, cold moulding and traditional clinker boat building, and spent time time restoring a Rensa (Royal Navy Sailing Association RNSA) dinghy, a traditional clinker dinghy planked in mahogany with oak back bone.

Originally from South Africa, Peter brought his wife and two-year old son with him to Lyme Regis while studying at the BBA, and their second son was born during the course.

At weekends Peter worked at the Lyme Regis Town Mill Bakery, and although his original plan was to work in the marine industry after graduating, he has decided that he wants to stay in Lyme Regis and so for now he will continue with his work as a chef and baker.


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