BBA students build strip-planked Humber yawl to George Holmes’ Cassy design


Photos by Jenny Steer and Andy Blundy

Boat Building Academy student Derek Thompson built a strip-planked George Holmes-designed Humber yawl with help from fellow students Christian Skeels and Ryan Johnson.

On retiring, Derek and his wife moved to live by the sea at Seaton, Devon. He previously worked as an IT engineer and as a ski instructor, and had lived variously at Barrow in Furness, where he grew up, Australia, USA, and Hemel Hempstead.

Holmes’ Cassy was originally drawn up in 1883, and Derek’s aim was to recreate it using modern building methods, and the boat he built, named Mikassy, is sheathed with glass cloth and epoxy resin, and planked in Western red cedar with yellow cedar decking.

The name Mikassy is a nod to the original Holmes design called Cassy, and also to Mikasa Street in Barrow-in-Furness, where Derek was born.

Rather than a single centre-plate, Mikassy has two bilge plates in order to allow Derek to sleep on board if he wishes. To see a photo diary of Mikassy’s build, click here.

Christian, who also worked on the pilchard larker built during the same course, is a member of the Humber Yawl Club, which has a number of boats similar to Mikassy.

On of the youngest students on the course last year, Ryan came to the BBA after working in the motor industry in ; after working on Mikassy and several other student boats, he finally built his own West Greenland kayak – of which more in a later post!

BBA students launch a clinker-built pilchard larker

BBA student launch pilchard larker photo by Jenny Steer BBA student launch pilchard larker photo by Jenny Steer

BBA student launch pilchard larker photo by Emma Brice BBA student launch pilchard larker photo by Emma Brice

This splendid 17ft larch on oak pilchard larker named Jessica Rose was built by Boat Building Academy students Ken Bromage, Christian Skeels and Ben Dixon. The photos by Jenny Steer and Emma Brice show her being launched in December.

She is a 17ft clinker built fishing yawl built using larch on oak, and is based on a 1909 hull from Cawsands near Plymouth. There are photos of her build here, and Ken’s own weblog is here.

Ken worked as a Navy chaplain for 25 years before becoming a student at the BBA, and although his aim was a new lifestyle, he also wanted to provide a service for ex-service men and women.

Since finishing the course, Ken has begun  setting up an organisation that promotes sustainable fishing in traditional boats and employing ex service men and women – keep an eye out for further information.

From Glasgow, Ben attended the BBA’s long course after working as an endoscope decontamination technician for NHS Scotland. He had dreamed of working in the marine industry for many years and has now started work with Sunseeker at Portland.

Christian arrived at the BBA from Harrogate, where he worked for the council. However, he has a strong family background of woodworking – his earliest memories are of his father’s workshop – and sailing was a childhood passion.

Christian now lives near Lyme harbour, just yards from the BBA’s building, and has set up a boat building and servicing business.