Jenny Steer photo exhibition features Boat Building Academy launch photos

Boat Launch December 2011

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An exhibition of Exeter-based photographer Jenny Steer’s work featuring Lyme’s Boat Building Academy and its boats and people is to be held in the town at The Malthouse in Lyme Regis from the 25th to the 30th May, from 10 to 5 o’clock each day.

Jenny’s title for the show is ‘Shot Across the Bows’.

Here’s my slightly edited version of the press release:

BBA principal Yvonne Green said ‘Launches are a very important part of the Academy’s calendar, celebrating the end of our ‘long’ 38-week courses and the beginning of students’ new careers as boat builders. Students’ families and friends, well wishers and the town come down to the Cobb to cheer as each boat, testament to the students’ new skills, goes into the water for the first time.

‘Launches are very happy occasions, but we are all very conscious that after them people who have worked closely together for nine months go their separate ways. Jenny originally came to a launch as the friend of one of our instructors, but when we saw how her photographs captured the beauty of the boats and the spirit of the occasion we asked her to be our ‘official’ launch photographer.’

The launches are now attended by hundreds of people, and Jenny’s photographs have illustrated articles on the launches in Yachting World, Classic Boat and Water Craft in addition to other magazines.

‘I absolutely love photographing the boat launches at the Boat Building Academy,’ said Jenny. ‘There are so many interesting and diverse boat designs from quirky to more conventional. The atmosphere is extraordinary and I feel privileged to be involved in such an important and special day.’

To complement the photographs two of the traditional clinker boats Jenny has photographed will be on loan from their owners for the exhibition. Witch of Weymouth is a replica of a 1902 Dorset crab and lobster boat, Witch of Worbarrow and was exhibited at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall following the December 2010 launch. Rubee is a very pretty little pram dinghy planked in sweet chestnut on oak, an was launched in December 2012.

BBA students build a clinker YW Dayboat

14ft Yachting World Dayboat 14ft Yachting World Dayboat

14ft Yachting World Dayboat

Yachting World Dayboat Tailwind – first three photos thanks to Jenny Steer, the final one thanks to Tracey Marler

Six months at the Boat Building Academy gave Lachlan (Locky) McKenzie enough time to build a Yachting World Day Boat with help from fellow students Tom Trevessey and Tim Price.

The traditional clinker build began in January 2010 after the initial foundation carpentry and joinery phase of the 38-week course. Locky chose the design because he is a keen dinghy sailor, and intends sailing her competitively.

Tailwind is spruce planked on a mahogany backbone, case, thwarts and frames with oak timbers. Locky has great hopes that his wooden boat will perform well against her plastic opponents when he races her out of Bosham – although he says she’s faster than the crew so anything is possible.

Instructor Justin Adkin modified the plank lines to allow better water flow around the hull, and altered the deck structure and layout, incorporating five full frames, to stiffen the hull and allow it to be tensioned up in a similar way to a Salcombe Yawl.  A photodiary of the build can be seen on the BBA website.

Tom, from Cheltenham, and Tim, originally from South Africa, shared the main work on the build. Tim, who is a Maritime and Coastguard Agency Master of Yachts, has worked as crew, a water taxi, sailing instructor and in yacht delivery, and straight after the BBA course he started work at the Elephant Boatyard at Southampton. Tom, who joined the course because he wants to work in the marine industry, is heading off to New Zealand some time before the end of the year.

Locky’s Yachting World Day Boat has attracted a lot of attention, not just because it is a return to traditional wooden construction for the class, but also because of its beauty; the elegant decking and combing make great finishing touches.