Boat Building Academy students launch a 14ft rowing skiff with wooden fit-out

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Boat Building Academy, Jon Palmer, Ben Larcombe, Justin Adkin, glass-fibre construction, wooden fit-out, Atlantic Rowing Race, Beale Park, Thames Boat Show, BBA, David Johnson, Wessex Resins, Sliced Bread, Ian Thomson, Nestaway, sectional dinghies

Boat Building Academy, Jon Palmer, Ben Larcombe, Justin Adkin, glass-fibre construction, wooden fit-out, Atlantic Rowing Race, Beale Park, Thames Boat Show, BBA, David Johnson, Wessex Resins, Sliced Bread, Ian Thomson, Nestaway, sectional dinghies Boat Building Academy, Jon Palmer, Ben Larcombe, Justin Adkin, glass-fibre construction, wooden fit-out, Atlantic Rowing Race, Beale Park, Thames Boat Show, BBA, David Johnson, Wessex Resins, Sliced Bread, Ian Thomson, Nestaway, sectional dinghies

Built by Boat Building Academy class of September 2009 students Jon Palmer and Ben Larcombe, this 14ft rowing skiff was designed by Justin Adkin.

Justin’s design gave Jon and Ben an opportunity to explore glass-fibre construction with a wooden fit-out.

Before the course Jon worked as a product designer, and Ben held down a variety of jobs ranging from snowboarding instructor to pattern-making apprentice. Both were looking to learn practical skills that would broaden their horizons in woodworking and boat building.

Unfortunately for Jon and Ben, rowing athlete Justin (he won the 05-06 Atlantic Rowing Race) broke the foot-rest while testing the boat at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show just before the BBA student launch day – but  Ben and John were back in the workshop working on the boat by Sunday evening after the show, and the boat was ready in time for the big launch.

I gather Justin hopes his new design will provide the basis for a new rowing racing class – but more generally says that it’s designed for short- to medium-length coastal regatta rowing races. The design was carved from a block, lines taken and lofted, and is loosely based on Whitehalls and flashboats, but with fuller forward sections to help it to lift when rowing on the open sea. The result is not as tippy as a flashboat, say the BBA folks, but still a test to row. Justin has recently built a fixed-seat version, which he says is very quick.

Visiting the Boat Building Academy David Johnson of Wessex Resins commented on the excellent design and told Justing he should call her Sliced Bread because, he said, ‘it had to be the best thing since’. The name may have stuck.

Since finishing the course Ben and Jon are setting up a workshop working with Ian Thomson (BBA graduate in June 2008) whose company’s Nestaway sectional dinghies have taken off.  Meanwhile, Ben and Jon have been asked to quote for building a traditional rowing boat and another of the Sliced Bread skiffs.

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Boat Building Academy summer 2010 student launch

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Youngest student on the course Alasdair Grant (18 years) launching his Beer Beach Boat

(L-R) Tim Price and Tom Trevessey and boat owner Lachlan McKenzie in the background - bringing 14’ ‘Tailwind’ Yachting World Day Boat to the harbour Foreground – Dominic Frankis in his 12’5” Mallard Dinghy, with James Downs in the background celebrating with champagne in his 14’ 3” Canadian Canoe Martin McMahon’s 16’5” Islay Skiff with student Jim Walsh and BBA Graduate and woman gig-builder Gail McGarva in waders

18 year-old Alasdair Grant launching his Beer beach boat; Tim Price, and Tom Trevessey and  Lachlan McKenzie bringing Yachting World Dayboat Tailwind to the harbour; Dominic Frankis sails his Mallard dinghy while James Downs in the background celebrates  in his Canadian canoe; Martin McMahon, Jim Walsh and BBA graduate and woman gig-builder Gail McGarva in waders with Martin’s Islay skiff

Back in early June June 2010 six full-sized boats built by students at the Boat Building Academy workshops were  launched at  Lyme Regis.

If that seems a long time ago,  I apologise – I should explain that as a one-man band and I’ve had rather a lot to keep me busy lately!

The full-sized boats were joined by as surprise additional contender – a remote-controlled model of a Nordic Folkboat built in student Tim Price’s spare time.

Among the boats launched were a 14ft Yachting World Day Boat, a 12ft 5in Mallard sailing dinghy, a 16ft 5in Beer beach boat and a 14ft skiff with a polyester and glass hull, and a wooden fit-out. The sun shone, as usual – I really don’t know how the BBA does it.

Among the students were a management consultant, a builder, a product designer, an architectural technologist, a snowboarding instructor and a handful of school and university leavers.

The selection photos above come from BBA staffer Emma Brice, who has promised more of the individual boats over the next weeks. Thanks Emma!