Marc Chivers and helpers build a 13ft clinker pilot punt

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Once again, Boat Building Academy principal Yvonne Green has sent us some more photos from the big student launch day at Lyme in December. Thanks Yvonne!

Marc Chivers was a manager with the NHS before he decided to change his life.

At the Boat Building Academy he built a 13ft traditional clinker pilot punt in larch on oak with a grown crook for a stem. She’s fastened with non-ferrous fastenings and bedded in a traditional manner, and the the lines were taken from a work of historical reference by Malcolm Darch.

Marc’s main helpers on the build were Seb Evans, who now wants to design and build traditional craft for a livingt, and Kevin Marshall, who is now working for T Nielsen & Co at Gloucester Docks.

By the way – I’ve just seen a pdf file of the Academy’s prospectus for the coming year, and I must say it makes very interesting reading. Email Yvonne at and I’m sure she’ll send you a copy.

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Bob Hinks and Ray Holmes build fast, shallow-draft dayboat Cirrus at the Boat Building Academy


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Launch day views of Cirrus


Designer and boatbuilding instructor Mike Broome, photographed with Cirrus

Boat Building Academy principal Yvonne Green has sent us some more photos from the big student launch day at Lyme in December.

Bob Hinks and Ray Holmes built Cirrus, a 20ft western red cedar strip planked, epoxy glass sheathed day sailer designed by Academy instructor Mike Broome.

‘She was designed to be shallow draught, equipped with a ballasted centreboard and lifting rudder to enable use either under sail or using auxilliary power.

‘She mixes traditional style with modern systems, and is equipped with an electric sail-drive with a two-blade folding prop. Batteries sit either side of the centreboard case to provide ballast as well as power for the prop. She also has a traditionally-laid deck and bespoke steelwork on chainplates, rudder and centreboard.

‘On her maiden voyage Bob, who was formerly owner and MD of  special effects company Asylum and electronic engineer Ray achieved 5.5 knots sailing in light airs.

‘Bob and Ray worked long hours, and Cirrus is a testament to their focus and determination.

‘Since the course ended in December, Bob has hired space in a yard near the Academy and over the next few months is going to refine and perfect Cirrus before going into production.’

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Cirrus in the workshop

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… ‘

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

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