Johnny Tyson builds a 14ft Whitehall at the Boat Building Academy

Johnny's boat leaves the workshop

Johnny’s 14ft Whitehall leaves the workshop on launch day

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And thats all there is to it AK Johnny champagne Johnny Tyson

Boat Building Academy student Johhny Tyson built this John Gardner-designed 14ft Whitehall together with his pal Jerry Reeves, and launched it down at Lyme along with other students’ projects back in June.

The materials Johnny used were West African mahogany on oak with a West African mahogany keel. I gather that following the launch he took it to the Portsoy Scottish Traditional Boat Festival.

There are photos of the build here at Johnny’s website.If you happen to run a boatbuilding business, need staff and like what you see, I gather he’s looking for a suitable job…

I should point out that 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 – I’d suggest in particular that Building Classic Small Craft including 47 sets of boat building plans is a bargain at less than £15.

My thanks to Academy principal Yvonne Green for the photos.

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


Chris Old and Chris Stone build a glued-clinker Whitehall at the Boat Building Academy

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p1010014 champagne-at-the-ready

As promised, Boat Building Academy principal Yvonne Green has sent us some more photos from the big student launch day at Lyme last month.

This is despite being frantically busy setting up a new eight-week course on  woodworking skills – the course needs a new workshop, and I gather the Academy’s short courses in particular are attracting huge numbers of enquiries.

Here’s what she has to say about the boat in these photos:

Chris Old, a doctor of oceanography from New Zealand, and Chris Stone, and aerospace industry computer engineer by background, built a very elegant glued-clinker Whitehall skiff. The offsets and lines were taken from a book by John Gardner, founder of the Mystic Seaport Museum’s boatbuilding courses.

‘White paintwork was highlighted by varnished khaya gunwales, thwarts and trim. Lyme Regis’ Mayor  Sally Holman was particularly taken with this boat, as am I.’

I gather the  boat was built to a set of offsets for a 14ft Whitehall included in the Gardner compendium volume Building Classic Small Craft: Complete Plans and Instructions for 47 Boats, which includes plans for an impressive 47 boats and is currently available for the knock-down price of £19.99 from Amazon. See more Gardner books at Amazon here.

For more posts relating to the Boat Building Academy, click here.

I think we may be seeing an increase in interest in Whitehalls in the UK. For more posts relating to these boats click here, and for posts relating to John Gardner click here.


The boat that didn’t quite win the boatbuilding competition at Beale Park this year

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Francis Rayns’ handsome 10ft pram dinghy built to plans by John Gardner.

(Click on the images for a larger view)

Francis Rayns clinker-built dinghy at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show

Francis Rayns\' clinker-built dinghy at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show

It says a lot for the standards of the Watercraft magazine Amateur Boatbuilding Awards that this very nicely made little boat only came second this year.

True, one might complain that the material of the clinker strakes is perhaps a little slender, and tradititionalists might suggest that the  knees could have been grown rather than laminated – but these seem to be small issues when set alongside the near-flawlessness of the work.

What’s also notable about this particular boat is that builder Francis Rayns reports that the materials cost came out at just £250 – I think that’s an appealingly low figure for such a handsome 10ft boat. She’s built in larch on oak with copper fastenings, by the way, and Francis built her to plans drawn after Nathaniel Herreshoff by John Gardner and published in his book Building Classic Small Craft.

If you haven’t got Building Classic Small Craft, I strongly recommend it – in addition to this little classic, the book contains plans for 46 other boats for a price less than £13, and a long section on boatbuilding techniques. You can’t buy much for that little money these days, but this book is a real bargain.

Francis Rayns\' clinker-built dinghy at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show

Francis Rayns\' clinker-built dinghy at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show

Francis Rayns\' clinker-built dinghy at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show

Francis Rayns\' clinker-built dinghy at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show