Boat Building Academy Boat Building Academy
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Boat Building Academy Boat Building Academy

Keith McIlwain – Class of September 2013

keith mcillwain Golant Ketch

At age 16 Keith left school and followed his passion for sailing, moving to Southend to become a sailmaker. After five years he moved on through various sales and marketing roles. Some 34 years later, following a battle with cancer that made him think about what was important in life, Keith decided to return to his sailing roots and train to become a boat builder. Keith joined the long course in September 2013 and, as a part of his training, built a Golant Ketch. The Golant Ketch is a 20’ trailer sailer designed by Roger Dongray, built using plywood, Douglas Fir and Khaya mahogany. Keith’s boat ‘Daydream’ has been featured in ‘Wooden Boat’ in the USA and was shortlisted for a ‘Classic Boat’ magazine award.

Following the course Keith established his own business, Daydream Boats, just to the south of Bristol. His first project was the major restoration of a 1920 International Twelve dinghy ‘Waterfly’, built in North Wales. On completion ‘Waterfly’ and her restoration were featured in both ‘Watercraft’ and ‘Classic Boat’ magazines. Keith went on to make furniture, most recently an 8’ by 6’6” dining table with rounded ends.  The table put his steam bending skills, learned on the boat building course, to excellent and decorative use.

Keith is about to embark on his next major boat project, the restoration of a 1950 classic 14’ carvel planked motor launch, powered by a 2 cylinder Coventry Victor petrol engine.  Keith reports that he is “currently fit and well and doesn’t regret his career change for a moment!”  View Keith’s website

View Keith’s boat building diary
View Keith’s testimonial

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