Boat Building Academy students launch a sleek cold-moulded kayak

Touring kayak - Ewan Thomson - Jenny Steer 154

Lars (14) web Emma (296) Ewan Thomson - touring kayak - Jenny Steer

Students Ewan Thomson and Patrick Hughes built this cold-moulded 19.6 by 1.4ft fast touring kayak, ready to hit the water at the Boat Building Academy’s December student launch.

Ewan, who is from Isle of Skye, has worked in various practical roles from timber framing and gardening to boat repair, but it was the latter that grabbed his attention after he fitted out a plastic dinghy, repaired a clinker boat, did some boat painting and a spot of fibreglassing.

He then joined the BBA’s 38-week course to gain more experience with different construction types and designs.

A keen kayaker, Ewan had seen a kayak that he wanted to adapt and build as a prototype for a potential business and with help from group lead instructor Mike Broome he drew up new plans.

The finished kayak is made from 1.5mm sapele veneers – not an easy material to work with in so slender a hull form – and is finished bright.

Ewan’s next project is a GRP Orkney longliner, but he also hopes to start his own business on Skye and build more kayaks. Academy staff report that he feels a sense of relief that he now has the skills he needs to start a business of his own.

Fellow student Patrick’s background is in graphic design and communications. He joined the long course after completing the eight-week woodworking skills course, during which he was impressed by the achievements of some of the students on the 38-week course. I gather Pat now plans to start his own business, offering boat repairs, maintenance and storage in France.

A photo diary of the build can be found here.