Class of August 2016
On 22 August 2016 eighteen students joined us for the start of another 38 week boat building ‘long’ course. The students, as is the norm, are a wonderful mix of ages, nationalities and backgrounds. Among them there are super-cat engineers, army mechanical engineers, product design students and joiners. People who have worked in libraries, construction, dentistry, the police and one who chose not to go to university.
Meet the students on this page and see pictorial diaries of the boats they are building as part of their training. Join us on their Launch Day Thursday 1 June 2017 to celebrate their achievements on the course.
- 13ft Stand Up Paddle Board – Side project – Jerôme Borghraef
- 14′ ‘Swansong’ Paul Gartside design – Warren Riches
- 15′ ‘Jessie’ Paul Gartside Design – Gareth Lewis
- 15’8 Arthur Rogers Lobster Boat – Elena Hillier
- 17′ Northeaster Dory – Paul Coyne
- 17′ Sea Kayak – Duncan Riddle
- 18′ Version of the Deep V 16 Inboard – Simon Hawksley
- 20′ X One Design restoration – Mike Condliffe
Inspired by a book ‘Phoenix from the Ashes’ Duncan decided it was time to leave his job in the high-tech marine electronics industry and follow his passion for sailing. Already the proud owner of a wooden Canadian canoe and a 30’ sailing yacht he felt the time was right to join the 38 week boat building course and learn the skills required to restore and build wooden boats.
Elena studied joinery at college and worked for a bespoke joiner before enrolling on the 38 week boat building course. Elena is building a strip plank Lobster boat as part of the course, using plans from Mystic Seaport. The sails for the boat were made by students on the Sail Making short course, which included fellow student Gareth Lewis’s wife Annie.
Gareth discovered his love of wooden boats when, as a schoolboy, he rowed on the Thames. He was also fascinated by the skills of the school boatmen maintaining the boats. When the opportunity arose for a life-changing experience and a new direction Gareth enrolled on the 38 week boat building course at the Academy. A keen cruising sailor, he plans an Atlantic crossing later in 2017 after finishing the course. Gareth is building a cold moulded daysailer. In his spare time Gareth rows with Lyme Regis Gig Club.
Gunter from Germany has worked as a joiner and studied interior design. For twenty years he worked with architects on colour design and 3D imaging. Gunter has restored old traditional timber framed houses and made furniture. He sails a flat bottom sailing ship in the Netherlands and enjoys canoeing, diving, hiking and travelling. After being ‘computer-orientated’ for so long Gunter want to do something hands-on. He has always appreciated the beauty of wooden boats and enrolled on the 38 week course with the aim of changing career.
James loves wooden boats and working with his hands. After achieving a degree in ‘Creative Music and Sound Technology’ James spent a year in Australia working as a deckhand on a Tallship; it was a hard life, setting the sails, kayak touring and snorkeling over coral reefs. Just before joining the course at the Boat Building Academy James was navigating 20m steel motorboats carrying up to 110 people around Bristol harbour.
Jerôme from Belgium has always been passionate about constructing things, particularly in wood. After studying general woodworking Jerôme studied ‘ébénisteri’, cabinet making, in French speaking Belgium. In the evenings he has built a SUP (stand-up paddleboard) in the Academy workshops. His boat building skills will add to his already considerable woodworking skills.
As part of Joe’s level 3 diploma in 3D design he developed conceptual power stations, cigarette disposal units and novelty lighting. He went on to study product design at Brighton University. As part of his course he developed cycling safety glasses. Joe spent six weeks cycling through central Europe visiting Holland, Germany, Austria and Slovenia and has hitchhiked around the Balkans. Joe enjoys practical, hands-on projects and especially likes working with wood. Before joining the 38 week boat building course Joe was working in Brighton as a lifeguard.
After a brief stint in the Army after university Jonny worked as a copywriter. He eventually moved to Chamonix where he combined his passion for writing with his love of climbing and ski-touring.
Mark’s background is in policing, but he harboured an ambition to do something ‘meaningful’. Being accepted as a student on the 38 week boat building course is recognition of that ambition. Mark has no previous woodworking skills and says he is following Einstein’s advice ‘out of clutter, find simplicity’.
Michael recently finished ‘A’ Levels in Chemistry and Physics. He enjoyed time in the workshop and spending time on his Dad’s boat and joined the 38 week boat building course to train for a career. Michael’s many interests include cycling, kayaking, music and wood turning.
Mike spent 18 years in the Army Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. He next, following his love of motor sport, studied for an MSc in Motorsport Engineering and Management. He worked as test team manager for Williams Formula 1, specialising in composites. Mike then became an engineering consultant, working primarily for the MOD. He has now joined the 38 week boat building course. In his spare time Mike enjoys motor sport, classic bikes and cars and sailing. He owns and races an ’X’ One Design which he has brought to the Academy and is restoring as part of the course.
Paul was based in Hong Kong working in IT when he decided it was time for a change and enrolled on the 38 week boat building course. As part of his training Paul is building a Northeaster Dory using the Chesapeake Light Craft method of LapStitch™ which is the stitched version of clinker or, in the USA, lapstrake.
Simo initially planned to go to University to study fine art, but went travelling and then started work in construction. He had always dreamed of working with boats in the sun, the 38 week course is a step towards realising that dream. Simo will use his newfound skills to work with boats and develop art-based objects.
Simon worked in the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen and off-shore in the North Sea before relocating to Lyme Regis. He has always been interested in boats and is fulfilling a dream by building a boat of his own as part of the course. The boat is an 18’ version of the Donzi Sweet 16 inspired Deep V 16 Inboard. Another dream was realised when Simon became a father for the first time just a week before the start of the 38 week boat building course.
Steve was an Army radio systems operator, then joined the Parachute Regiment. After leaving the Army he took a two year course in Countryside Management, then fenced and tree planted all over the Lake District. Steve then cycled to Spain, took a plane to Norway and ended up working with 58 sled dogs in the Arctic Circle. Steve loves working with wood and is now fulfilling a five year ambition to train at the Boat Building Academy.
Warren was a professional librarian working in universities and for government when he decided to get away from a computer screen and do something totally different. A Mandarin speaker with experience in the Far East, Warren dreams of sailing to Japan on a traditional sailing boat, specifically a pilot cutter. Warren is building a Paul Gartside designed “Swansong” in glued clinker as part of the course.