Class of September 2014
Ben, from Brighton, worked as a photographer’s assistant before joining the Academy. He has a degree in Marine Biology from Portsmouth. While at University Ben joined the Atlantic Whale Foundation conservation programme in Honduras, where he focussed on Whale Shark and Coral Reef conservation. He has PADI Diving certificates and is also a qualified Ski Instructor. Ben wants a creative and hands-on career.
Chris joined the Academy from the Scottish Highlands where he worked as a Senior Instructor at the Outward Bound Trust. The Trust is an educational charity using outdoor challenging courses to help develop young people from all walks of life. He has qualifications in mountain leading, climbing, sea kayaking and open canoe leading. He has also taken RYA powerboat and day skipper courses. After 8 years of working in outdoor education, Chris decided to join the Academy to learn woodworking and boat building.
Danielle loves to sail. She joined the course after a gap year volunteering as a Second Mate for the Morning Star Trust. Taking part in the winter maintenance of a 62 foot Ferro-cement training ship she sailed around 4,000 miles in that year. In 2013 she took part in the Tall Ships Race aboard Morning Star of Revelation where, in Race 1, her crew won their class and overall trophy for the race. After the course Danielle will work in the marine industry and will also continue to maintain and sail the Morning Star.
Gary worked primarily as a Maritime Military Aviator for 37 years serving in both the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. He has MCA/RYA Yacht Master Ocean instructor and examiner qualifications along with those for power boat and dinghy. As a trustee for Atlantic Challenge GB, he is involved with the running of their charity Bantry Bay Gigs, ‘Intégrité’ and ‘Bien Trouvé’ (Moray Gig). Atlantic Challenge is an international organisation dedicated to the education and personal development of young people through involving them in the rowing and sailing of the gigs. A member of Inverness Rowing Club, Gary enjoys coastal rowing with Lyme Regis Gig Club whilst at the BBA.
Geoff, from Weymouth, recently retired from a 35 year career as an Air Traffic Controller in the Royal Navy. He is a watersports enthusiast, keen diver, wood turner and qualified Small Craft Yacht Surveyor. Geoff first came to the Academy on a short course before deciding to commit to the 38 week course. Geoff tweets every day about life at the Academy as @Navyatco and his wood turning as @GBwoodturners. He has a never ending supply of jokes (‘This one really is funny, promise’). After the course Geoff will build and restore boats in Weymouth. He has used Enhanced Learning Credits to part fund his training.
Harry is one of the youngest members of the Class of September 2014. He joined the course from Cornwall, with twelve GCSEs, an ‘AS’ Level, an ‘A’ Level in Geography, a Chief Scout’s Gold Award and a long list of outdoor pursuits; mountaineering, surfing, rowing, kayaking, mountain biking, caving and coasteering. Harry will start a career in the marine industry at the end of the course.
Jonathan first joined the Academy 5 years ago on the 8 week Woodworking Skills course. While on that course he designed and built a beautiful oak chest… and watched the boat building students at work. He decided that one day he would come back. One day has arrived and Jonathan, who worked at the BBC for 30 years, will work as a boat builder and furniture maker with his freshly honed skills.
For the past 10 years Jörg has lived and worked in Germany, New Zealand and most recently in Chile as a software engineer. He enjoys the outdoors and likes rock climbing, hiking and mountain biking. Using the Academy workshop in the evenings, he has made a beautiful guitar using boat building offcuts. After the course Jörg would like to start his own woodworking business building small boats and musical instruments whilst continuing to work as a software engineer until the business takes off.
Lee was in 7th Parachute Regiment R.H.A. He went on to work for eleven years in Iraq, Afghanistan and the UK as a security manager. Now it’s time for a total career change. As part of the 38 week course Lee is building a carvel Seabird half rater, the oldest class 1 design still sailing.
Max joined the course from Hampshire just after passing his ‘A’ Levels. For his Design Technology ‘A’ Level Max built a pop-up roof tent for his VW Beetle. He has just finished restoring a Triumph Tiger Club motorbike. Boat building does run in the Stembridge family, Max’s father Peter is Naval Architect and his company, Seawing Europe, work with Sunseeker and similar. Max has been sailing since he was eight. One of the boats the Class of September 2014 are building is designed by Max’s Dad.
Miles joined the Academy from Torquay. With a love of travel and outdoor pursuits, Miles has worked around South East Asia, New Zealand and South Africa on dairy and livestock farms, as a climbing instructor and as a mountain guide. Interested in the applications of technology in traditional skills Miles used Rhino software to produce the Nordlands boat hull and scanned the timber for the keel to ensure most efficient use was made of the oak. While on the course Miles is working at Rob Perry Marine and will be working with Gail McGarva on the restoration of ‘Intégrité’, the England Atlantic Challenge gig.
Neil from Northampton is an engineer. He worked for ten years in Mechanical Handling Equipment maintenance. Deciding it was time for a change, he relocated to Lyme Regis with his partner, Nina. Nina’s Norwegian roots have inspired Neil to build a 22’ traditional clinker Nordland’s boat as part of the course. Nina and Neil’s first baby, Ellinor, was launched into the world shortly after Neil started the course.
Nick has a degree in Politics and Political History from London Guildhall University and a master’s degree in Politics. For thirteen years he worked in the Civil Service in project and programme manager roles. In his spare time Nick spent three years renovating his home, removing and repositioning stud walls, laying new flooring and installing a new kitchen. He realised that he thoroughly enjoyed working with his hands and building things so joined the Academy to learn the skills for a new and practical career.
Peter, from the Isle of Wight, worked for a major global logistics company for 25 years as a Programme Manager. He had a ‘light bulb moment’ when he read an article about the Academy in ‘Coast’ magazine. After the course Peter will combine his existing project management experience with his new practical skills to begin a fresh career in the marine industry.
Tom has a BSc in Applied Geology. Before joining the course he worked as an Exploration Geologist in Zambia and Australia analysing extracted coal, copper and gold. He has RYA Level 2 Powerboat training and joined the 38 week course to train for a new career in the marine industry.