Andrew Wolstenholme cold moulded electric motor launch built by BBA students

James Bird - Dick Stiles Electric Motor Launch (61)

Emma Brice Dick Stiles Electric Motor Launch Derek Thompson Dick Stiles and his Electric Motor Launch Emma Brice Dick Stiles Electric Motor Launch

Photos by James Bird, Emma Brice, Derek Thompson and Emma Brice – my thanks to all of you for permission to use these shots

Dick Stiles’ silent Andrew Wolstenholme-designed 13ft 6in electric motor launch was the cold moulded boat built by the March 2010 group, says BBA staffer Emma Brice – each 38-week Boat Building Academy course at Lyme aims to have a range of boat construction methods in the workshop.

Dick wanted to avoid a traditional build on this occasion because the boat, which he has names Bia 2, will be out of the water for long periods of time.

The hull is laminated mahogany with mahogany thwarts and seating, sapele decks, and oak detail for contrast on the covering boards. Dick used Douglas fir as a contrast for the sole boards and Emma says he did an exceptional job with the matchboarded veneer bulkhead.

A boat built to the same design was also built as part of student Phil Evans’ course in 2009.

In building Bia 2, Dick added a curved transom, modified the central thwart to house the battery – it has a hinged lid for access – and included a rear seat that conceals the converter and provides a water tight storage area and buoyancy.

Dick, who has dual New Zealand and British nationality, joined the course after thirty years in the oil and gas industries. He has now headed back to his home in Australia to set up a boat building workshop alongside his house there, in which he is to be helped by wife Maria who has herself completed the BBA’s eight-week woodworking skills course.

One of Dick’s main co-workers on the build was Ross Doherty, also from Australia, a project manager in commercial construction. Ross is now in India with his wife Lis to relax after a very busy nine months. On return they are hoping to settle down in the UK and begin a new career in boat building and begin family life, as they’re expecting their first baby.

The BBA website has a series of photos of the electric motor launch build, which strongly remind me of the early days of this boat building technique.

Boat Building Academy student boat launch day December 2008

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Launch day at the Boat Building Academy. As usual, click on the
thumbnails for much larger photos

Boat Building Academy principal Yvonne Green has written to tell us about her students’ big launch day down at Lyme Regis. It looks and sounds wonderfully jolly with such nice weather and such a big crowd of supporters, and it must have been quite an emotional event too.

‘The Boat Building Academy launched seven boats at noon on 10th December – more than from any previous course.

‘The fourteen students who built the boats started the 38 week course on 17th March 2008. The first twelve weeks was spent developing their woodworking skills (some started with none), painting and finishing, making oars, building clinker sections and laminating the stem sections that make up the City & Guilds assessment pieces – they take the Level 3 City & Guilds 2451 technical exams as well as learn how to build boats, and they all passed – in addition to time in the classroom on theory, deciding what boats to build and lofting them.

‘They went down onto the main workshop floor on 16th June this year and started the builds; one traditional clinker, three glued clinker, one strip plank, one stitch and glue and a cold-moulded wherry spiled to simulate carvel. Two of the boats were designed by main instructor for the March 2008 course Mike Broome, and two sets of plans came from the Mystic Seaport Museum .

‘To say we’re proud of the course’s achievement is a massive understatement. Over the last 38 weeks of the course the workshop has not been a beach-side oasis of peace and tranquillity, but the product of all that energy is superb.

‘About a hundred and fifty people walked the boats down to the harbour in brilliant sunshine. Academy director  Tim Gedge said a few words, followed by the Mayor of Lyme Regis, before the real business of the day began and the boats were launched one by one into the water. They all floated, we all cheered… ‘

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