Boat Building Academy students Mike Tyler, Jon Bicknell and Andy Blundy built this strip-built South Bay-style catboat to a design worked up by the students with the help of instructor Mike Broome.
Local lad Mike – he commuted to Lyme from Sidmouth each day of the course – worked in banking before coming to the BBA. However, he seems to be a man of many interests: previously he had studied sculpture at art college, where he frequently worked with driftwood, and dreamed of becoming a boat builder.
Mike particularly wished to build an ‘original’ design with a sculptural form, and was inspired by the Victorian half rater built by another BBA student, Martin Nott. Mike then came across the 21ft Gilbert Smith design Lucile that was then redesigned to a manageable size with instructor Mike Broome’s help – and the result was the 14ft Lucie.
Mike Tyler is now at Pangbourne, Reading, and involved in setting up the new Beale Park Maritime Museum.
Jon comes from a background in information technology design and Jon worked predominantly with Mike on Lucie – although did spend an hour here and there on other builds. Having finished the course is now busy finding his feet in the boat building industry.
I gather Andy, who was previously a floor layer, was a little less involved – but was an asset to everyone at the Academy, always cheery and ready to help. Like the other students not building their own boats, he circulated around the boat builds to gain a thorough knowledge on as many construction types as possible.
Ollie Reed built this 10ft clinker dinghy while on the Boat Building Academy’s38-week course over the past winter and spring. It’s a replica of a dinghy called Barnacle belonging to instructor Mike Broome, and is built in mahogany with oak ribs and a mahogany fit-out.
While working as a labourer building building oak barns, houses and doing house repairs, he decided to do the BBA’s eight-week woodworking skills course to learn more about this kind of work – and while doing that was so impressed with what he saw going on with the 38-week long boatbuilding course that he decided to make it his next move.
Ollie felt the long course would take his skills to a higher level and open new doors – and that the skills involved in boat-building would be transferable to all sorts of things and offer a variety of opportunities in the long term.
Tim Herman helped Ollie to build the dinghy. Tim, who comes from Brighton, was previously a tree surgeon. He also plays saxophone with his band, Los Albertos.
With the end of the course nearing, Ollie decided that boat building is the industry in which he would like to work, and is now working locally while looking for a job in a traditional boat yard. Tim is currently building timber-framed houses in the Lyme area and playing with his band.