Class of March 2014
The class of March 2014 is diverse in age and background. They have joined the course from Bridport (10 miles up the road), from Brazil (6375 nautical miles up the road) and places in between, including Maryland (the student from Maryland is training to take up a job at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum when he finishes the course). They finished their three months as the ‘Upstairs Group’ and are now the ‘Downstairs Group’ in command of the main workshop, building a range of boats. Despite their differences the main workshop floor is buzzing with everyone working together to make sure they hit the launch deadline of Wednesday 3 December. it’s not that far away…
Alex joined the Academy from Surrey. He is a qualified RYA Sailing and Powerboat Instructor and has taught RYA courses in Egypt, Greece and Sardinia with tour operator Mark Warner Ltd. He also has qualifications in safety and first aid. Alex also skis to a high standard, with a ski instruction BASI level 2 certificate. After the course Alex will work in the marine industry.
Boycie the Bullmastiff is popular with the Class of March 2014, not so popular with the BBA dogs. Boycie’s intentions are honourable, but he is a two and a half year old rescue dog learning how to play. Picardy and Maddy took no chances when Boycie’s 70 kilos bounced full speed toward them… Maddy ran off howling, Picardy bit Boycie’s tail to stop him chasing Maddy, Boycie playfully jumped on Picardy, flattened her, so Maddy bit Boycie. No blood spilt but Boycie, innocent victim, is now kept on the lead when the other dogs are around.
Brooke relocated from Chesapeake Bay in Maryland to Dorset with his British wife and two children. He was General Manager of Switching Operations for Inter-Rail Transport, USA for 10 years before deciding it was time for a change. With a passion for trains and boats he started a shipwright apprenticeship at Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) and then decided to join the Academy to further develop his skills. After the course he will return to CBMM.
Fred joined the Academy from Brazil where he worked as field engineer and manager on heavy infrastructure projects. Fred wanted to get back to working with his hands and to learn a skill to further develop his already very respectable professional path. His decision to join the course was influenced by his love of the sea. Becoming a boat builder seemed like the perfect link between reality and dream.
Before coming to the Academy Graeme worked as a child protection social worker, but wanted a complete change doing something practical. Graeme enjoys sailing and owns an 8 tonne double-ended carvel Hillyard from Littlehampton. Boat building seemed the perfect craft to learn. With time to fill before the 38 week course started, Graeme joined the 12 week Woodworking Skills course for the first 8 weeks. As his personal project piece he built a new hatch cover for his boat. When the Class of March 2014 started he moved workbench and became part of the ‘Upstairs’ group. Once Graeme has gained the skills he will work as a boat builder, building and restoring wooden boats.
Joe has a degree in Ecology and grew up visiting Lyme Regis for holidays. In 2012 he completed the Academy’s Basic Woodworking Skills 5 day course which gave him a taste for woodworking and boat building. This year he came back to enrol on the 38 week course. He plans to move to Australia after the course, working as a Scuba Instructor and boat builder, but sees himself living and working in the British marine industry in the long term.
Joe, from Staffordshire, is a qualified Mechanic who most recently specialised in Land Rover repairs. He is a member of the Derbyshire Caving Association and also takes part in Wormhough 4×4 club’s off road trailing days when he drives a Land Rover Defender 90. Joe joined the Academy for a career change and wants to build wooden boats when he graduates.
Lawrence from Twickenham has fished, rowed and raced boats on the Thames all his life. After a career in the London Fire Brigade spanning 30 years, he joined the Academy to learn new skills. He will build and sell small boats after the course. Lawrence heard about the 38 week course when he moved to Dorset some years ago. When his son Will left the Armed Forces last year, Lawrence suggested Will train as a boat builder. When Will came to the Academy for interview, Lawrence accompanied him. Within two weeks they had both decided to join. It is the first time that the BBA has had a father and son training on the same long course.
Nigel worked as an engineer on the National Grid for 29 years. Before joining the course he was working as a self-employed carpenter and joiner with a property developer and had also worked building houses and fitting out shops. Nigel has friends who are boat builders. Seeing them enjoy the work they do decided him to refine and develop his carpentry skills and perhaps work alongside them after the course.
Sam, at 22, is the youngest member of the Class of March 2014. Before joining the Academy he worked for an artist, producing carpentry for installation pieces. He has a vision of designing and building elegant sail boats, starting off with an Alden 18 designed sloop as part of the course.
For the past 40 years Stuart has worked in the Water Industry, with over 34 years’ experience as a Professional Chartered Engineer. Originally from Portsmouth, he has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and his work has taken him all over the world. Stuart has sailed all his life and has always been interested in traditional sail boats. He joined the course to further his knowledge of the boat building industry and to develop skills to enable him to complete repair work on a part time basis during his retirement.
Will left the Armed Forces in September 2013. As an Armourer in the Royal Mechanical Engineers he had served in Germany, Afghanistan and Canada. He enjoys boxing, running and team sports and wants a career in the marine industry. Will’s dog, Boycie, is part of the team.