BBA students launch a strip-planked Andrew Wolstenholme Mallard dinghy

Boat Building Academy student Tim Harrison launched this 12ft Andrew Wolstenholme Mallard dinghy at the annual early summer student launch. The photos are by Becky Brown, Paul Dyer and Jenny Steer.

I gather the Mallard was originally designed for the Boatman magazine.

Tim, an experienced sailor and ex-merchant seaman, wanted to use a modern construction method and chose to strip plank the dinghy in western red cedar, sheathed inside and out with glass fibre and epoxy. She has a laminated khaya stem, sapele hog and keel, and mahogany transom. She is painted inside and out with bright finished thwarts and trim.

The boat was lofted, as are all boats built, as part of the course, and the moulds were CNC cut by the Architectural Association at Hooke Park using CAD files supplied by Andrew.

Tim chose a cat-rig for ease of use, to free up hull space and for its pretty appearance. The boat has a pivoting centreboard.

The dinghy’s sail was made by the class as part of a four-day sail-making short course at the Academy taught by Jeremy White of Elvstrøm Sails.

Students work on all of the builds, but BBA staff say Peter Holyoake particularly enjoyed his time working on the Mallard.  Peter came to the BBA from the Isle of Wight, where he worked for a major logistics company for 25 years as a programme manager.

However, after reading an article about the academy in Coast magazine he had what he calls a ‘lightbulb’ moment and decided it was time for a change.

The course inspired him to learn some other skills – at Lyme Regis he took time out to train as a barista at a local independent coffee house, and learnt how to prepare fish and shellfish at a fishmongers near the Cobb – Lyme’s historic harbour wall.

If anyone ever fancies a mackerel cappuccino, Peter says he’s your man… [I’ll pass on that, Ed]

Tim chose to name his Mallard dinghy ‘Tucana’ – Tupi for ‘Toucan’. Tim’s daughter is an amateur artist concentrating on birds, and the Victorian bird illustrator John Gould was born in Lyme Regis.

A traditional sign writer painted the name on the boat, together with a bright image of a toucan on the dinghy’s transom.

Tim plans to enjoy Tucana with family and friends in East Anglia and the West Country, and Peter plans to start a new career in the marine industry.

See the Mallard’s build diary here.

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