Class of March 2009

The students in the class of March 2009 came to Lyme Regis from South Georgia, Belgium, Germany and England. They had trained as sculptors, teachers, in disaster management and learnt African languages. One owned ‘The Christmas Store’ in Texas. But however diverse their backgrounds and homes they all had one common goal – to learn how to build boats to the best of their ability.

Some of the students had no boat building or woodworking skills, others brought half a lifetime of experience to the course. One brought ‘Fang the Untouchable’ (hamster)…

Their Course Instructor, Mike Broome, was giving his first lesson at the workbenches by 1100 on their first morning, and the pace didn’t slacken for the rest of the course.

David Snelling

David Snelling

David developed a keen interest in boats while studying at Indefatigable nautical training school on the banks of the Menai Straits. After working for Stena Line at Holyhead, he made the move to London and has been contracting in IT ever since. The recession has prompted him to implement phase one of a long term plan, build a boat and sail around the world.

David Taper

David Taper

While Dave was a Design Technology teacher in Teignmouth his students were overall winners of the 2008 Schools Marine Challenge with their radio-controlled power boats.  Winning the prize stimulated Dave’s interest in boats and he decided to train as a boat builder, with a view to applying both his design and practical skills to new challenges in the marine industry after the course.

Jeroen Porters

Jeroen Porters

Jeoen has dreamt of building boats for a long time, but in Belgium it’s an unusual career to choose.  He started different courses of study, from African Languages to History and Interior Design, but finished none of them.  He began his working life in sales and worked for the last six years as an administrative assistant in health care before finally finding the courage to realise his dream.  After the course Jeroen will move to Sweden and find a job in the marine industry there.  Click here to see Jeroen’s blog (in Dutch with photographs).

John Watson

John Watson

By joining the March 2009 class John is fulfilling a lifetime ambition to be involved in the boat building industry.  For the last 30 years John has lived in the United States working in corporate law and owning ‘The Christmas Store’ in Fredericksburg, Texas.  On completing the course John intends to pursue opportunities to build traditional wooden vessels used on Britain’s canals and inland waterways.

Joseph Flynn

Joseph Flynn

Joe, the youngest student on the course, has worked in a variety of industrial areas including garage door fitting, plant maintenance and construction. He took a break to travel the world and while travelling became very interested in boats. On his return to England Joe enlisted on the course here. He is looking to find employment in the marine industry when he leaves the academy in December.

Lars Herfeldt

Lars Herfeldt

After spending 32 years in the window and door industry Lars decided, at 60, to leave his job as a product manager.  Boats and building boats has always been his passion.  He is building a 1925 vintage motorboat designed by C G Pettersson of Sweden as part of the course, but he is also finishing a dory skiff donated by Peter Watson, a student on a previous long course.  Lars says there are a lot of boats for him to build during his life.  Click here for Lars’s blog (in German with photographs)

Mairi Macleod

Mairi Macleod

At 18 Mairi left Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis for the Highlands to work as a site engineer in construction.  Much travel followed: NGO work in Africa, a degree in Disaster Management, emergency aid work, a spell as a logistician in South Sudan and, shifting to colder climes, she followed in her Father’s footsteps (he was a Radio Officer at Leith Harbour) and became Base Commander with the British Antarctic Survey in South Georgia.  On the course Mairi is building a replica half-size Sgoth Niseach, from the Ness area of Lewis which, after a long time away, is connecting Mairi back to the islands, their culture and history.  She hopes to continue and develop her connection to island boat building on completing the course.

Nathan Richie

Nathan Richie

Nathan is an IT consultant and also owns a chain of clothing shops. After 10 years in retail, he is trying to get out of women’s clothing (Nathan insisted we put that in).  He has always wanted to get into the marine industry and has already gained his RYA yachtmaster and TDI diver. Nathan joined the course to gain more knowledge of the commercial marine industry and hopes to build a boat and join three facets into one.  Nathan’s son Craig was also part of the Academy from May until July, as a student on the ‘Woodworking Skills’ course.

Nigel Sabin

Nigel Sabin

Nigel’s son said Nigel could be described as ‘aged 57, grumpy at times,’ but having trained initially as an Architect before switching to sculpture, with a Fine Art degree from Goldsmiths, Nigel could also be described as interesting.  After spending the last 33 years in the packaging industry Nigel felt that a boat building course was the next logical step.  He says ‘Quite where it fits in with this progression is a bit more of a mystery!’  He is building a traditional clinker dinghy without using adhesives or metal fixings, but made a conscious decision to set out on the course without any preconceived goals.  Nigel eagerly awaits to see where it takes him.

Paul Braker

Paul Braker

Paul is a strategic-level IT professional whose CV is incomprehensible to anyone who doesn’t understand ITese.  He has sailed since young and recently bought a boat needing a fair amount of work, for which he paid someone else. After being made redundant twice in the last 18 months Paul decided the time had come for a change.  Repairing and building boats looked like a good way of life and so he has come on the course to train to work in the marine industry.