Class of September 2013

The Class of September 2013 had a lot to live up to… the group that finished in December achieved a huge amount and are now launched on interesting careers working for a range of different employers. But so far the Class of 9/13 are more than worthy successors. From backgrounds as diverse as IT, aircraft maintenance, the law, professional golf, sales and marketing and deck hand they all have one thing in common – they work hard and are enjoying every minute on the workshop floor. They are building seven boats, using a range of construction methods from traditional clinker to modern wood to composites. They are also a delight to work with… if only they were as dedicated to washing-up as they are building boats…

Adam Smith

Adam Smith

Originally from Canada, Adam has lived in the UK since 2007. With a degree in Computer Science Adam has worked in Canada, Ireland and England.  Adam build a Selway Fisher dinghy in his spare time and enjoyed the process so much he decided it was time for a career change.  He is looking for a hands-on job in the marine industry after the course.

Andy Jones

Andy Jones

Andy joined the Academy from London where he worked for Babcock Critical Services in partnership with the London and Lincolnshire fire and rescue brigades. He dealt with the supply and maintenance of all the equipment used by both fleets.  Andy was also part of a project which successfully replaced all thermal image camera equipment across London Fire Brigade.  After the course, Andy would like to start his own boat building business.

Ask Serk-Hanssen

Ask Serk-Hanssen

Ask, from Norway, has been interested in boat building since he was a child and built a plywood dinghy with his father.  A keen sailor, he has participated in various sailing courses and regattas and repairs and maintains his own fibreglass dinghy.  He speaks English, Norwegian and German and is a certified Padi advanced open water diver.

Brent Pyle

Brent Pyle

Brent, originally from South Africa, moved to the UK with his family in 2005.  During a gap year he travelled and worked as a volunteer in Swaziland at an Orphanage for children affected by AIDS.   He worked for an aircraft maintenance company and gained his RYA Competent Crew Certificate.  He wanted to learn woodworking skills and work in the yachting industry.  Boat building seemed the ideal career and after the course Brent will get a job in a boatyard.

Dan Curgenven

Dan Curgenven

Keen snowboarder Dan joined the Academy from Liskeard in Cornwall and has spent three of the last four winters in the French Alps. He enjoys playing and watching Rugby and during the summer months he is always on or near the sea surfing or fishing. He has spent time working and travelling in New Zealand and Australia and has worked a variety of roles including night club doorman, tree surgeon’s groundsman (gaining a LANTRA tree climbers certificate in the process), chainsaw operator in Germany and Sweden and a land surveyors technician.

David Rainbow

David Rainbow

David joined the Academy from Middlesex.  For the last 20 years he has worked at Heathrow Airport in various roles, most recently as Baggage Operational Assurance Manager.  David has a Bsc Honours degree in Industrial Design from Brunel University and a Professional Certificate in Management with Distinction from the Open University.  In his spare time he enjoys growing his own vegetables and loves walking, especially by the coast.  He recently passed his RYA Level II double-handed sailing course in a Wayfarer dinghy and is a member of the Amateur Yacht Research Association.

David Rotheram

David Rotheram

David was an Aircraft Technician in the RAF working on helicopters before he decided that a change in career was needed. In his spare time he enjoys collecting tools.

George Le Gallais

George Le Gallais

After leaving school at 16 George set off to work as a Deck Hand/Engineers Mate on sailing yachts and superyachts in the in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and Atlantic.  Since 2006 he has accumulated more than 30,000 sea miles and has also worked in boat yards in Falmouth and Portsmouth.  Time spent working closely with experienced shipwrights aboard the yachts and in the yards inspired George to join the Academy to learn their skills. He has also worked as a painter, decorator and fishmonger and loves to cook, surf and travel.

James Dickson

James Dickson

From a long line of Eyemouth Fishermen, James studied law and became a partner in BTO, a prominent Scottish law firm.  His areas of expertise were renewable energy and ethical/social finance, retail, commercial property and property finance.  He has been a board member of charities in the building preservation, sailing and regeneration sectors.  But the call of the sea and wooden boats was strong and boatbuilding was the inevitable answer to that call.  In his spare time he likes to sail ‘Alatash’ his Sadler 34 on Loch Fyne.

Keith McIlwain

Keith McIlwain

Keith, from Bristol, started off his working life as a Sail Maker for dinghies, cruising and racing yachts.  After working his way up to Loft Manager for a premier sail company, he started a career in sales and marketing and has 34 years experience in these roles.  Seeking a complete career change because ‘you only live once’, Keith decided to return to the boating industry.  He is building a Golant Ketch as part of the course.  When he leaves the Academy he will start his own boatbuilding/restoration business.

View Keith’s case study
View Keith’s testimonial

Reuben Thompson

Reuben Thompson

At 18 the youngest member of the class, Reuben’s ambition in life is to make and sail traditional wooden boats. Before joining the Academy he designed and built a sailing dinghy which was entered into the Amateur Boat Building competition at Beale Park.  Wanting to build boats professionally, he joined the Academy to get ‘some advice on how to get there’.  He has been a sailing instructor at Frampton Sailing Club and has become involved with instructing and coaching at Lyme Regis Sailing Club.  In 2013 he enjoyed a week’s work experience with Henwood and Dean.

Richard Lyford

Richard Lyford

Richard is taking a career break from his role as a submarine systems engineer to complete the 38 week course here at the Academy.  After developing an active interest in the portability and seaworthiness offered by sailing canoes, Richard is working with Solway Dory to develop a new type of composite sailing canoe.  This will be prototyped on the course, subsequently becoming an addition to the Solway Dory range.

Simon Swindells

Simon Swindells

Simon worked in sales for the past 20 years, first selling cars and then hearing aids.  Tired of ‘only being as good as your last month in sales’, Simon joined the Academy to gain a new and hands-on career.  He has a BSc in Countryside Management and an MSc in Marine Resource Management.  After the course he would like to combine his previous sales experience with his new practical skills to set up his own business in the marine industry.

Steven Roberts

Steven Roberts

Water sports enthusiast Steve joined the Academy from the Royal Navy where he worked as a Mine Clearance Diver completing recovery and repair operations often in harsh environments.  He loves sailing, paddle boarding and windsurfing and has competed for the Navy in windsurfing competitions.  When he’s not on or underneath the water, he enjoys keeping fit and has converted a van into a fully functioning campervan.

Tony Corke

Tony Corke

Tony left school in 2010 with nine A grade GCSE’s and an A* A-Level in Business Studies.  He then went onto work as an Activity Instructor/Group Leader at PGL Travel Ltd where he lead groups of various ages and abilities on outdoor education/adventure courses at a centre in Wiltshire.  Tony enjoys rock climbing, slack lining and kayaking and is currently working on achieving a two star canoe and kayak qualification with the British Canoe Union.

Will Brogden

Will Brogden

Brought up in Kuwait and educated in England, Will has been a professional golfer for the past 39 years at Tournament, Club and Director Level. He played the European tour on four consecutive years and has owned and managed his own golf course in Hertfordshire.  He has been the Director of golf clubs in Turkey, Greece and Spain and speaks four languages.  In his spare time, Will enjoys writing (he is a member of the Association of Freelance Writers), fly fishing, sailing, squash and tennis.