Glued clinker John Gardner Whitehall skiff launched by BBA students

Derek Thompson LRPS - Mark Cotterill Whitehall skiff on parade

Derek Thompson LRPS - Mark Cotterill Whitehall skiff on the water Tracey Marler - Mark Cotterill Whitehall skiff Tracey Marler - Mark Cotterill Whitehall skiff waiting for launch

Chelsea Davine - Whitehall skiff with Matt Cotterill and Yvette Smith newly engaged

Photos by Derek Thompson LRPS (first two); Tracy Marler (third and fourth); and Chelsea Davine (fifth)

Boat Building Academy students Matt Cotterill and Nuh dan Per built this glued clinker epoxy ply 14ft Whitehall skiff ready for the student launch in December, reports BBA staffer Emma Brice.

Originally from the Yorkshire Pennines, Matt worked in package design and 3D branding before throwing it all in and taking up the chisel in March 2010.

Matt chose the John Gardner-designed skiff because of its general similarity to the traditional boats of the Thames – he lives in the Thames Valley.

The boat, named Nicky Nacky Noo, was made using Gaboon marine plywood, with West African mahogany plywood for the sheer strake. Matt, who I gather showed clear evidence of his designer’s eye, and great attention to detail and craftsmanship, incorporated steamed timbers and various bronze fittings.

When it came to launch day Matt certainly added a dimension of his own to the schedule: surprised onlookers cheered as he rowed out on his maiden voyage, got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend Yvette. She said yes, and accepted the wooden ring Matt had made himself.

A local newspaper article about the newly engaged couple appeared under the headline ‘Bride and Boom’.

I should add that Chris Partridge of Rowing for Pleasure beat me with this story weeks ago, but it’s still a very cute tale.

With the course is over, Matt is setting up his own workshop to develop wooden products, inspired by the shapes and forms of boat building and using boat building construction methods.

Nuh, Matt’s main helper on the build, is of Turkish descent but was born and grew up in Germany and is one of a number of German students who have studied at the BBA. Nuh was an IT project manager for a car manufacturer before attending the course at Lyme. He is now pursuing boat building opportunities in warmer climates and hopes to move to Greece.

PS – Photographer Derek Thompson has signed up for the next BBA 38-week course due to start in March and attended the December launch day to see what he was in for. I guess he found out…

A Sussex beach boat rigged for sailing

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Sussex beach boat rigged for sailing

Sussex beach boat rigged for sailing

Chris Partridge of the Rowing for Pleasure weblog went rowing on Monday (when doesn’t he?) and noticed this traditional Sussex beach boat somewhere up a West Sussex creek.

The great thing about this boat, is that she seems to be rigged for sailing, unlike her motor-only sisters up and down the coast. Thanks for the shots Chris!

See Chris’s report of his rowing trip here; and click here for more posts about this kind of boat and Hastings, where a large number are still to be found among the beach-based fishing fleet.

The Watcher’s Cottage at Worbarrow – and is that Witch on the beach?

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Worbarrow, circa 1913-18. Click on the image to see a larger photo

Cottage at Worbarrow 2 Worbarrow Hill Cottage and coastguard station c1910 Cottage at Worbarrow

The Watcher’s Cottage and Coastguard Station, Worbarrow, photographed by Pat Leach and others

Sheila Leach has sent in some photos of the watcher’s cottage at Worbarrow, one of which shows a boat in the background, and I wonder whether it’s the Witch of Worbarrow, a rare Dorset crab and lobster fishing boat that can be seen at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.

Witch has been getting some attention lately, as Boat Building Academy student Ian Baird has been appealing for information about her. He’s building a replica of the boat as part of his 38-week BBA course, as this earlier post and comments explain.

Sheila spotted the earlier post, and got in touch to let me know about the photos and also about a painting made from one of the shots. She says:

‘My husband’s family lived in the coast watcher’s cottage for many years. Husband Pat Leach took a photo of the area back in the 1950s or 1960s and a work colleague painted a copy. There is a boat in the background.

‘Pat’s grandfather, George Augustus Leach, is shown on the 1901 census as living at Worbarrow, and Pat’s dad, Alfred George Leach was born later that year at Warbarrow. Pat’s dad was later killed at Moreta in the 1939-1945 war.’

Thanks Sheila! Not having been to Worbarrow myself, it’s good to get a sense of place. Ian Baird will no doubt have a view about whether Witch appears in the photo.

On the subject of Witch herself, Ian has appeared on local television to appeal for information about the boat’s history. Once again, my thanks go to Chris Partridge of Rowing for Pleasure for pointing out the link.

A classic work on the beach boats of Britain is this book: Beach Boats of Britain BBA Academy students build and launch a Beer beach boat .