Class of March 2007

They came from careers as diverse as Policeman and Nursery Nurse, Tree Surgeon and Mechanical Engineer. Their average age was just over 31, but they ranged from 18 to fifty three. Many came on the course to gain the skills and City & Guilds qualification that would set them up to work in the marine industry and/or travel, some came to set themselves free from jobs they no longer wished to do, one or two just wanted a bit of a break from their ‘real’ lives.

They built traditional and glued clinker, cold molded, ply on frame and strip plank boats. Some boats were built upside down, some right way up, but all were built under the watchful eye of course Instructor Justin Adkin.

The students took their final exam on 6th December and then put the final touches to their boats. Five boats were launched on Friday 14th December, the last day of the course. It was a splendid achievement and a proud day. ITV Westcountry News were there to celebrate with us. You can see their report on YouTube

Brendan Tye

Brendan Tye

Brendan was working for the Post Office ‘answering complaints from computers’,  with no background in boats or boat building but wanting to totally change his working life.  He decided he wanted to learn skills and gain knowledge in a practical field and decided on boat building.

Edward Anderson

Edward Anderson

Ed was a partner/manager in a retail jewellers in Warwick, working with his Mother.  When she retired Ed decided he wanted to work with his hands and do something that would enable him to earn money while travelling.  Boat building ticked all the boxes

Henry Wragg

Henry Wragg

Henry finished school in 2005 and worked as a chef for 18 months.  In the summer of 2006 he helped a friend build a boat in his garage and loved it.  He travelled round Europe, and when he returned decided he wanted to explore a possible future in boat building.  He had heard the Boat Building Academy was the best in the country, and as it was only a few hours from home decided to apply.  Eventually he would love to start his own business, but recognises that after the course he should go to work in the marine industry for a number of years to gain the experience he will need to set up on his own.

Matthew Cowlbeck

Matthew Cowlbeck

Matthew, originally from Hull, was working in Spain for a builder when he applied for the course.  He has always been interested in woodwork, and owns his own lathe.  As he also owned and maintained a Mirror Dinghy, the course seemed a natural progression when he was looking for a career.  While on the course he is building a glued clinker Wee Rob canoe.

Merry Turnbull

Merry Turnbull

Merry has never been interested in the academic side of things, but is eminently practical.  She completed a two year course in 3D design and craft and has travelled extensively, working along the way.  She has some experience of the marine industry, working at a boat yard in Bridgend, cabinet-making and fitting out.  While on the course she is building a double-ended, glued clinker Arctic Tern, designed by Iain Oughtred..

Michael Kerton-Johnson

Michael Kerton-Johnson

Michael worked in engineering and vehicle maintenance, but wanted to go in a different direction and chose boat building.  Also, ideally, in the long term, it is a skill he can take back to South Africa.  While on the course he is building a strip planked, cold moulded 8 foot Portland Yawl Boat.

Naomi Wood

Naomi Wood

Naomi worked for Sunsail in Turkey for four seasons as an NNEB nursery nurse and has worked as a nursery nurse and special needs assistant in Guernsey and England.  She decided to do something different, and went to work in a Yorkshire upholstery factory ‘staining legs and stripping out smelly old furniture’ for 18 months.  But she wanted to learn how to build things, and so contacted the Academy about our short course programme, but after discussing the 38 week course Naomi decided it was the challenge she was looking for – and, the clincher, she could live and work by the sea.  Naomi is building a ply on frame Thames Punt.

Nicholas Gifford

Nicholas Gifford

Nick was doing a ‘site carpentry’ diploma and working at Poole dockyard part-time.  He decided to do the course because it combined his carpentry skills with his love of boats.  After the course he wants to pay off his loan and travel the world getting as much knowledge as possible on different styles and methods of boat building.

Peter Heselgrave

Peter Heselgrave

Peter has done ‘random’ jobs for the last two years but wants to move abroad and work on a beach somewhere – so a boat building training course on a beach seemed appropriate

Richard Laing

Richard Laing

Richard worked for Lloyds TSB as Project Manager in their head office.  Then last July left to work on yachts in the Med and Caribbean as a deckhand; cleaning and polishing, driving tenders and standing watch.  The course was something he’d always thought about doing, and he happened to have the time and the money – it was a case of now or never.  Richard’s not sure what he’s going to do after the course, he may go and carry out woodwork on superyachts, go back into yachting as crew, do something with property or a combination of things.  He says ‘The course has opened a lot of options for me, because so many of the skills are transferrable.

Robert Jennings

Robert Jennings

Bob graduated as a biochemist and worked for the same laboratory supplies company for 32 years – in laboratories, human resources, IT management and European marketing.  When the offices in Poole closed he took the opportunity of early retirement and built a Swallowboat’s Storm 15 ‘stitch and glue’ boat; enjoyed the experience and wanted to learn more about traditional boat building techniques.  Being able to do this in beautiful Lyme Regis was an added advantage.  While on the course Bob is building a 10 foot traditional clinker rowing/sailing boat, but intends building a 25′-30′ gaff rigged wooden coastal cruiser and, with his wife Gill, sailing around the British Isles.  Maybe further afield after that…

Scott Robinson

Scott Robinson

Scott and his wife Sarah both gave up their jobs in Luton so that Scott could do the course.  Their lives have changed completely; they now live in the middle of the countryside near Lyme and are no longer working the shifts that made them ‘ships in the night’.  Their long term goal is to move to New Zealand.  Over the next six months Scott will build a traditional clinker 14 foot Beer Beach Boat, which will be lug rigged.

Tim Walkup

Tim Walkup

Tim has a background in Mechanical Engineering.  He crewed in the 2002 Clipper Race and worked for them for the following five years in maintenance.  He wanted to learn skills that would build on his experience and broaden his abilities and after the course…who knows?