Class of March 2008
At 0900 hours on Monday 17th March 2008 an architect, a labourer, a journalist, the MD of a special effects company, a carpenter and a Doctor of Oceanography (to mention but a few of the 16) met each other for the first time. They spent the following 38 weeks working together in a common endeavour; learning the craft of boat building.
As with all the courses, the students had many different reasons for joining the Academy; to gain the skills and City & Guilds qualification that will find them employment in the marine industry; to fulfil a lifelong ambition to build a boat; to develop their joinery skills and build boats along the way; to take a ‘gap year’ from their real lives.
The Class of September 2007 moved out of the workshop on Friday 13th June, boats launched and exams taken. The March course moved down on 15th and started building their boats.
- 10′ Restoration, traditional clinker tender – TK
- 12′ clinker stem dinghy – Joe Blathwayt
- 12′ Northumberland Coble, glued clinker – Neil Bailey
- 13′ traditional Pilot Cutter’s tender – Mark Chivers
- 14′ V hull stitch and glue boat – Jamie Poynton
- 14′ Whitehall skiff, glued clinker – Chris Old
- 20′ Bangor Packet rowing wherry – Matt Stiles
- 20′ day sailing boat – Bob Hinks
- Wee Rob Canoe – Dan Stone
Bob has always built things, restored things, sculpted and designed. After retiring from a hugely successful career (as MD of a modelmaking and special effects company in London) he passed his Yachtmaster exams last year then, bored by retirement, decided he would like to build a boat. He is building a 20′ day sailer, designed by Instructor Mike Broome, while on the course.
All the way from New Zealand, Chris has now been living in the UK for six and a half years. With a PhD in Oceanography and after 6 years working behind a computer screen Chris wanted something to occupy his hands and his mind. After a week boat building in Skye and with a keen interest in boats and sailing he decided to make a complete change and then see what he wants to do at the end of the course.
Fresh from a computer engineering career in the aerospace industry Chris has sailed extensively and is interested in all marine opportunities. Chris’s other hobbies include cooking, DIY and rusty sports cars.
Jamie lived near Lyme Regis in Axmouth, Devon, but commuted weekly to Eel Pie Island in London to work with his Grandad, renovating a 1950s tug. City & Guilds were so impressed by his obvious dedication and enthusiasm that they awarded him a full bursary to enable him to join the course.
Jim Robson lives in Lyme Regis and was a Royal Marine for 28 years. He is keen to learn the traditional craft of boat building and looks forward to applying his skills on the boats he has grown up around.
Joe trained as an architect and lived in central London for 6 years, working individually on small scale residential projects and as part of an architectural practise on larger projects. He grew up in Exmoor National Park; the landscape and sea have always been close to his heart. Joe has a passion for trees and working with wood and has joined the course to expand his practical knowledge and understanding beyond design.
Kevin has worked predominantly as a labourer, assisting trades on building sites, forestry work and tree planting. He has always enjoyed canoeing and kayaking and working with wood. He chose boatbuilding as a trade because it requires knowledge of many materials and skills as well as very high quality woodwork. He would like to work in a boatyard after the course.
Marc worked in the National Health Service, firstly as a nurse but most recently as Training and Education Manager for Somerset Primary Care Trust. He has always liked boats and sailing and wants to eventually build a Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter with his partner and sail around the world.
Matt from Buckinghamshire is the youngest student on this course. He is a fully qualified RYA Dinghy Instructor and is pursuing his love for sailing and woodwork. After the course Matt aims to work in the boat renovating/building business.
Mike was born in the fishing community of Arbroath, Angus. After working for British Rail as an operations manager he became Director of Tourism of the Aviemore and Spey Valley Tourist Board which launched a wide-ranging career in PR and latterly as a journalist with a major Scottish daily newspaper. Mike’s sailing interest has led to various restoration projects including a Skipper 14 dinghy, a 17-foot SeaHawk trailer-sailer and a 40 year old carvel Folkboat now patiently awaiting his return to north Scotland after the course to set up his own boatbuilding/repair business.
Neil was a Royal Marine for 22 years. He joined the course because he wants to do something creative, working with wood, and sees boat building as a creative craft. He lives in Arbroath in Scotland.
Ray was an electronics engineer by trade and technical director of a small manufacturing company in Sussex. He took a year out to work in electronics design, went on to work in marine electronics in Sussex then decided to make a complete change and join the Academy and learn how to build boats.
The tide turned for Rob one evening in the pub when he decided he wanted a change. He was working as a carpenter, and had fallen out of boats, so the course seemed appropriate. Already a craftsman, Rob makes and plays his own guitars.
After completing an HND in Boat Design, Seb decided that he wanted to follow a more practical career path. He ultimately hopes to work in designing and building his own traditional craft.
TK worked in the international civil service and has spent a number of years in Asia and Africa. He wanted a change in direction and, as he has always enjoyed working with wood and sailing, the Academy and a boat building course seemed to fit the bill. Rather than build a boat, TK wanted to complete a restoration project while on the course, and is the driving force behind the Academy’s first major ‘student’ boat restoration