Maritime & Marine

‘The course has been amazing!’ Boat Building Academy grads launch their boats at Lyme Regis

Andrew Streeter's 14' glued carvel Crosby catboat hits the water. All images: Max Willcock / BNPS

By Daniel Face [email protected]

Published: June 6, 2024 | Updated: 6th June 2024

The latest wooden boats, hand-built by students at the Boat Building Academy (BBA) in Lyme Regis, have been launched in the town’s historic harbour.

Boat Building Academy logoAs is custom, the craft were wheeled the short distance from the academy to the harbour slipway, where they were greeted by the town’s Mayor Cllr David Ruffle – before ceremoniously taking to the water for the first time.

The spectacle attracted hundreds of well-wishers, including friends, family, BBA trustees, volunteers and local townspeople.

Sixteen students undertook the BBA’s latest 40-week wooden boatbuilding course, spending the first 20 weeks learning skills such as joinery, lofting, traditional, modern and fibre reinforced plastic boatbuilding, and sail making.

Andrew’s 14′ carvel (left) with Tom Thorley’s cold moulded Riva Scoiattolo (right)

In the last 20 weeks, they’ve come together to build three boats and renovate a fourth.

It’s put all their new skills to the test and involved plenty of gruelling days, often working long into the night.

The boats were commissioned by course members Ginny Harvey, Andrew Streeter, Tom Thorley and Ben Short, with all the projects overseen by the BBA’s expert tutors.

Ginny Harvey built a 14 ft 4 Glued Clinker Welsford Walkabout Lug Yawl.

Andrew, a 14 ft Glued Carvel Cobby Catboat Trio.

Tom, an outboard powered, 14 ft Carvel & Cold Moulded Riva Scoiattolo.

And Ben’s been on a mission to restore a 20 ft Looe Traditional Clinker Diesel Launch, once used as a passenger ferry, to its former glory.

The boat had been in a barn for some years prior to restoration and its engine had been submerged in a creek.

Ben’s 20′ Looe traditional clinker diesel launch

Tom said: “The course has been amazing.

“Very tough at times, but the tutors are incredibly knowledgeable, supportive and inspiring, and the experience has reached all my expectations, 100 per cent.

“I now look forward to spending as much time as I can in my beautiful boat.”

The Boat Building Academy and Furniture School is situated on Monmouth Beach and is the first port of call for trainee professional boat builders, furniture makers and woodworking enthusiasts from across the UK.

Many graduates of the 40-week course go on to work at the UK’s leading boatyards.

Will ReedBBA director Will Reed said: “I’m immensely proud of the students and staff who’ve all worked so incredibly hard to get their boats to where they are today.

“I never tire of our launch days – they’re always truly inspiring events and todays was no exception.

“For many of the students, this is just the beginning of their journey into the exciting world of boat building, and I wish them all the best of luck.”

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