BBA student constructs clinker-built Lawton tender

Boat Building Academy long course student George McKimm built a 10ft clinker rowing boat using the plans for the Lawton tender in John Gardner’s book Building Small Classic Craft: Complete Plans and Instructions for 47 Boats, and launched her at the BBA’s December student launch.

The trip from the shed to the water was not the first journey this little rowing boat had made – back in October she travelled by motorway to the Marylebone Road in Central London, where she stood in the gateway of the John Soane church One Marylebone as part of the design and craft fair MADE London.

She was admired by hundreds of people who visited the fair and was said by some to be one of the best exhibits there.

The little boat is named Murron, which is Gaelic for ‘from the sea’ or ‘white sea’, depending on your source, and is planked in khaya mahogany on oak ribs.

Before enrolling on the Academy’s 38 week course, George from Renfrewshire worked as a self employed builder, mainly renovating homes. He has also worked in New Zealand re-fitting boats and as a fabricator for Princess Yachts.

George chose the plans for the tender developed by US boat builder Charles Lawton and recorded by Gardner because it was a small, useable boat that he could build in a traditional way, and which would enable him to develop his woodworking skills. Read about Gardner and Lawton here.

With just a few minor changes – George added extra knees and two rubbing strips – Murron was built in 12 weeks.

George, who has now returned to Scotland, looks forward to starting a new career in the marine industry, and says that: ‘Homes are too square – boats are rounded and much more interesting!’

Martin Lammers helped George with parts of the build as well as helping other students with their build projects.

Martin has been involved in the marine industry since he left school, when he started out as delivery and deck crew on luxury yachts in the Caribbean and Mediterranean.

He has also sailed and raced on a range of racing and classic yachts and before joining the Academy completed a BEng in Yacht Powercraft Design at Southampton Solent University.

Martin joined the BBA course with the aim of gaining practical boat building skills to combine with his knowledge of design; his dream being to work in a yard where he would be involved in the both designing and building of boats.

He plans to start his boat building career shortly with a job at Rustler Yachts in Falmouth.

(I’d add that his little boat makes an interesting comparison with the strip-built tenders built to the Lawton lines that you see around the Internet – and that Gardner’s book Building Classic Small Craft is well worth picking up, especially at it’s current price of about £11 from some sources. His other books of boat building plans and history are well worth having too.)

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Glued clinker John Gardner Whitehall skiff launched by BBA students

Derek Thompson LRPS - Mark Cotterill Whitehall skiff on parade

Derek Thompson LRPS - Mark Cotterill Whitehall skiff on the water Tracey Marler - Mark Cotterill Whitehall skiff Tracey Marler - Mark Cotterill Whitehall skiff waiting for launch

Chelsea Davine - Whitehall skiff with Matt Cotterill and Yvette Smith newly engaged

Photos by Derek Thompson LRPS (first two); Tracy Marler (third and fourth); and Chelsea Davine (fifth)

Boat Building Academy students Matt Cotterill and Nuh dan Per built this glued clinker epoxy ply 14ft Whitehall skiff ready for the student launch in December, reports BBA staffer Emma Brice.

Originally from the Yorkshire Pennines, Matt worked in package design and 3D branding before throwing it all in and taking up the chisel in March 2010.

Matt chose the John Gardner-designed skiff because of its general similarity to the traditional boats of the Thames – he lives in the Thames Valley.

The boat, named Nicky Nacky Noo, was made using Gaboon marine plywood, with West African mahogany plywood for the sheer strake. Matt, who I gather showed clear evidence of his designer’s eye, and great attention to detail and craftsmanship, incorporated steamed timbers and various bronze fittings.

When it came to launch day Matt certainly added a dimension of his own to the schedule: surprised onlookers cheered as he rowed out on his maiden voyage, got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend Yvette. She said yes, and accepted the wooden ring Matt had made himself.

A local newspaper article about the newly engaged couple appeared under the headline ‘Bride and Boom’.

I should add that Chris Partridge of Rowing for Pleasure beat me with this story weeks ago, but it’s still a very cute tale.

With the course is over, Matt is setting up his own workshop to develop wooden products, inspired by the shapes and forms of boat building and using boat building construction methods.

Nuh, Matt’s main helper on the build, is of Turkish descent but was born and grew up in Germany and is one of a number of German students who have studied at the BBA. Nuh was an IT project manager for a car manufacturer before attending the course at Lyme. He is now pursuing boat building opportunities in warmer climates and hopes to move to Greece.

PS – Photographer Derek Thompson has signed up for the next BBA 38-week course due to start in March and attended the December launch day to see what he was in for. I guess he found out…

Sadie Snowdon builds a John Gardner dory

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Sadie Snowdon

Sadie to the sea Sadie workshop 1 Sadie workshop

Sadie’s 14ft Gardner dory project Dolly

Boat Building Academy student Sadie Snowdown built this 14ft Marblehead dory skiff designed by John Gardner, and launched it along with her fellow students’ projects back in June.

It’s a double-chine plywood rowing skiff with oak details that she has set up for two rowers with modern gates and pins rather than the more usual traditional rowlocks.

Sadie joined the course at Lyme after working at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard as a volunteer, during which she decided she wanted to develop her boat building skills. See the Portsmouth Dockyard website for information about the work volunteers undertake.

John Gardner’s books are a tremendous body of work if you’re interested in American boat types, and some of them have been available at very keen prices in recent years it’s well worth checking Amazon Johnny Tyson builds a 14ft Whitehall at the Boat Building Academy.

My thanks once again to Academy principal Yvonne Green for the photos.

For more on student launches at the Boat Building Academy, click here.

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