Special offer: one-to-one tutoring from BBA instructor Justin Adkin for just £125/day


Traditional clinker Yachting World Dayboat build instructed by Justin Adkin, and a composite, wood fit-out sailing and rowing skiff designed and built by Justin. Click on the photos for a much bigger view

The Boat Building Academy is making an offer that’s unlikely to be repeated too often – one-to-one tuition with instructor Justin Adkin at the rate of £125.00 per day – the BBA’s usual charge for a short course.

The story is that Justin took a sabbatical to build an ocean rowing boat to be rowed through the North West Passage in one season. However, at the last moment the funding fell through and so Justin has an unexpected gap in his diary.

Anyone who would like some personal coaching in traditional or modern wood or composite construction, repair or restoration can book from one to five days of private tuition with Justin at the Academy – to find out more, email office@boatbuildingacademy.com or ring 01297 445545.

Boat Building Academy launch day, summer 2012 – Sunrise


Despite wet weather, a crowd of friends, family, BBA staff, past graduates and even the Lyme’s Mayor joined the 18 students on the Academy’s 38-week course to celebrate completing nine months of hard work.

Sunrise, above, was the first student boat to hit the water. A 13ft by 5ft 6in traditional clinker-built dinghy planked in larch, she was built by students George Herivel and Will Heward, and will be used for rowing and sailing.

Academy instructor Justin Adkin designed Sunrise using photographs of a boat that George’s family owned in Alderney, and then created a half-model of the boat to ensure that he was happy with the design. Justin suggests that some future students may wish to build the same boat, as it has good freeboard, a full transom and firm bilges – between them, these features should give the boat a secure feel, lots of bouyancy and the ability to stand up to its sails.

Goerge says he wanted to build a boat with the same stability and handling in fairly heavy weather as the original and has been completely happy with the outcome – the boat was sailing on Lake Windermere only last week, and although the breezes were light it still performed and handled extremely well.

He added that it can accommodate up to four comfortably when sailing, and six when rowed.

Before coming to the BBA, George, who is originally from Alderney had retired from the Army and was living in Plymouth, where he worked in a variety of roles as transport manager, carpenter and also assistant manager for Screwfix.

George has returned to Plymouth following his graduation from the BBA and aims to work in the boat building industry with a view to starting his own business – his aim is to specialise in traditional boat building methods.

Will is originally from West Dorset but spent four years working around Australia before starting at the BBA.

After graduating, Will gained a position at Spirit Yachts of Ipswich in Suffolk and is due to begin work in August.

BBA student builds Justin Adkin-designed fiberglass rowing skiff – then starts company to make and sell them

Jim's Justin Adkin rowing skiff off to sea.  Photograph by Laurence Madill Jim's fibreglass rowing skiff. Photograph by Jon Palmer

Jim's fibreglass rowing skiff - Photograph by Jenny Steer Jim Little's fibreglass rowing skiff - Photograph by Jenny Steer

Boat Building Academy student Jim Little has built a fibreglass rowing skiff designed by instructor Justin Adkin.  (Earlier student, Jon Palmer, built a similar boat in 2009/10.)

The fibreglass boat is included on the course to introduce students to this method of boat building. It was designed for short- to medium-length coastal regatta rowing races, and has a solid fibreglass layup in chopped strand matt, built in buoyancy tanks, a modern pin gate oarlock and a fixed seat rowing set-up.

There was talk that it would race on Monday 8th August in the regatta at Beer, which is Justin’s village home, though I see how Justin did from the regatta website.

Jim worked in journalism, marketing and communication before dipping his toe in the water on one of the BBA’s eight-week woodworking skills course, which lead to him joining the 38-week long course. He has now set-up a business in Devon called Fox 14, which is making and selling the boats.

The BBA course launch day was windy for the small sailing boats built by the students, but Justin took the new skiff for a spin and came back chuffed after having successfully ‘surfed’ several waves.

To see a photographic diary of the build click here, and for the Fox 14 website click here.