BBA student Jonathan Palmer wins a big photography prize

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Beer Lugger 2010 Winning Photo

Boat builder Jonathan Palmer has won a first prize in the traditional maritime skills in action section of a photographic competition sponsored by National Historic Ships and Classic Boat magazine.

Jon’s winning photograph (above) was taken in May at the Boat Building Academy workshops where he has been a student.

Titled Beer Lugger 2010, the photograph from the building of the new Beer boat Steadfast by students on Jon’s course. He caught the boat on camera as it was awaiting the frenzied process of hot nailing, in which copper nails are quickly hammered into freshly steamed timber ribs and riveted into place.

The prizes were awarded at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich – after the ceremony Jon apparently enjoyed a game of croquet and a very civilised afternoon tea. He says he will spend the prize money on tools for LP Boatworks, a company that he and fellow Boat Building Academy graduate Ben Larcombe have set up in Colyton, Devon. They plan to offer traditional and modern boat building, restoration and repairs.

Jon’s photo can also be seen in the November issue of Classic Boat or on the National Historic Ships website.

Positioning the copper nails before hot nailing Holding the ribs in postion while the nails are being hammered

Readying the copper nails before hot nailing; the hot nailing process itself

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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.