Class of September 2011
The group started the 38 week course on a sunny 5th September 2011. First thing that morning staff and students attended a welcome presentation and introduction to life at the BBA. Some students had years of boating and/or carpentry experience, others had little or none, but everyone was here with one goal – to learn the skills they’d need to change their lives and work in boat building, restoration and repair.
Each student talked about what they were doing before joining the course; their wide variety of backgrounds included painting and decorating, automotive engineering, yacht racing, graphic design, plastering and sign writing. One student has spent the last 20 years at sea, another has travelled extensively and we are saying ‘hello’ again to two students who had previously joined us on short courses. Once again a wonderfully diverse and interesting group with a huge amount of life experience. By eleven o’clock they were at their work benches opening their tool boxes.
The group completed their first three months as the ‘Upstairs Group’ before moving down into the main workshop to build their boats and becoming the ‘Downstairs Group’ in January. Two of them, Jack Livesey and Al Bartlett, clubbed together and bought a 16′ Lewes hire boat as a restoration project, Matt Cowdery restored a battered GRP motor boat. The group also worked on a new concept coastal rowing skiff designed by Phil Morrison and their chief instructor, Justin Adkin.
While washing up skills for some of them left something to be desired the group were sunny occupants of the workshop with an exemplary attitude to learning new skills. By the end of the course the boats they had produced were outstanding.
- 12′ Glen-L “Tiny Might”
- 13′ GRP motor boat refit
- 13′ Traditional Clinker – George Herival and Will Heward
- 14’5 Iain Oughtred gunter rigged sailing dinghy – Anna Raussmuller
- 14’9 Whitehall designed by Mystic Seaport – Luke Cooper
- 15’9 Eric Hvalsoe ‘HV 16’
- 16’6 Iain Oughtred ‘Elfyn’
- Coastal rowing skiff designed by Justin Adkin
Anna is Swiss and runs her own graphic design company, producing mainly corporate design. She has rowed for many years and through rowing became friends with a racing boat builder close to her club. She restored a 50 year old wooden Stämpfli single scull racing boat and found she thoroughly enjoyed being in the workshop, which prompted her to think about taking part in the course. She is enjoying the style of teaching here and likes the way the tutors lead the course, step by step. She also enjoys walking along the beach and thinks Lyme Regis is beautiful. Anna will build a sailing dinghy for her sister while she is here.
Ben was born in London and moved to Edinburgh when he was a child, although he more recently lived in Southampton . He was brought up around boats and has a love for wood… and football. Just before the course he spent time in Ghana with the charity United Through Sport, helping coach 12-14 year olds (one of the most rewarding experiences of his life). He says the course is flying by, and is planning to build a strip planked canoe in 8 weeks, so he can then help other members of the group with their boats and learn different skills.
Casey lives near Antibes and sailed in competitions until the age of 15, mainly racing Optimists and Lasers. He then spent his holidays teaching young people at Club Nautique D’Antibes and completed his Yacht Masters qualification at the age of 18. For the last 3 years Casey has been a crew member on super yachts, and after the course he would love to work on classic boats with the aim of becoming a Captain.
Ed is from the Salisbury area and is a keen sportsman, playing football, cricket and rugby for his local teams every weekend. His family own a racing boat and he has been racing with his brother and parents for 4 years. He would like to further his career in boat building and hopes to gain more work experience after this course,set up his own business and build his own boat.
George is from Alderney but moved to Plymouth after retiring from the Army. Since then he has worked as a transport manager, a carpenter in a loft conversion company, and for Screwfix as assistant manager. His hobbies include playing and refereeing rugby, and he goes running as often as he can. After the course he wishes to continue working in the boat building industry with a view to starting a business.
Jack has had lots of hands-on practical experience – his last project was working on a friend’s coal barge, currently moored in Deptford. He lived and worked on the barge, helping fit it out so that he and 4 other people could live comfortably on it. Jack built a Canadian Canoe in which he and a friend paddled 36 days from London to Llangollen, up via canals and back through rivers. He would like to work on boats of his own design when he finishes the course.
Visit his blog ‘Too fit for firewood’ for more information on his and Alasdair’s restoration of an ex-Looe hire boat.
Luke is 18 and has just finished ‘A’ levels in Business Studies, Geography and Design Technology. He lives near Devizes and first heard about the BBA when he went to the Southampton Boat Show and spoke to an ex student (Ian Thomson who was exhibiting the range of ‘Nestaway’ boats he started developing on the course). Luke is very interested in modern classic boats and his ambition is to work for Spirit Yachts after the course.
Matt, originally from Sheffield , has worked abroad for a number of years. He was a commercial diver in Scotland , a recreational diving instructor in the Cayman Islands and has spent the last 10 years working on private yachts, where he met his wife. They now want to settle on land, hopefully somewhere on the South Coast .
Matthew was a quality engineer for the automotive industry but was made redundant in June after 20 years in his job. He spent time researching different career options on the internet and came across the BBA website – three days later he was doing the first of four short courses, after which he signed up for the 38 week course. Matthew has lived and worked in Cardiff for the last 25 years and is married with 2 grown up children. Interests include military history, preserved steam railways and rugby. He is very much looking forward to learning new skills in order to enter the marine industry.
Matthew is a member of the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers based at Thorney Island in Hampshire. He retires next April after 22 years service. Matthew has always been interested in carpentry and is using the boat building training as a way of developing his woodworking skills although he will not necessarily work with boats. The qualification will help him in his move to New Zealand. Matthew is an experienced climber and skier and also enjoys scuba diving and archery.
Richard worked for many years as a self-employed painter and decorator, but felt it was time for a career change. Originally from south London he has lived in Australia and New Zealand and has also travelled around India. Richard is new to boats and while he is on the course will also learn to sail.
Seby is from Trieste in Italy . This is his first stay in the UK and as well as learning new skills he plans to brush up on his English. He looked into two other boat building courses before he came here, one in Italy which was classroom based, and the other in France – which he chose not to take as he can’t speak French! Seby’s English is self taught and he is currently translating a book by Robert Fisk from Italian to English.
Shane is from Offaly on the River Shannon and was brought up around boats. He worked in a yard prior to the course and plans to return to Ireland on graduation to gain additional experience. In the long term he plans to use his boat building skills to travel round America. Shane says the Boat Building Academy is ‘the best place ever’.