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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Boats built by Boat Building Academy students

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Ian Thompson folding dinghy Nestaway

Ian Thomson and his Nestaway folding dinghy

Yvonne Green, principal of the Boat Building Academy at Lyme Regis has kindly sent us some photos and details of boatbuilding projects by recent students. Thanks Yvonne!

Ian Thomson joined the Boat Building Academy’s 38-week course because he wanted to develop a sectional dinghy, now known as Nestaway. Since leaving the Academy he and the student who helped him on the build have set up a workshop in Dorset and will be exhibiting at the Southampton Boat Show this year. Readers may also have seen it at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show this year.

In an earlier life, Ian was sales director for Nauticalia, so I’m sure he has the enterprise to make a success of the Nestaway, if anyone can do it.

The Nestaway photographed at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show

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