Radio 4 interview – Gail McGarva

Wooden boat-builder who builds “by eye”

Hear Gail’s interview on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.

Gail McGarva is one of the few remaining wooden boat builders able to build “by eye”. Originally working as a qualified sign language interpreter, at aged 39, Gail decided to change career after living on a houseboat,. Repairing this and sailing it to the source of the Thames, she discovered her passion for boats. She trained at the Boat Building Academy in Lyme Regis, building a replica of the oldest remaining Shetland boat of 1882 and was awarded the British Marine Federation Trainee of the Year in 2005. She went on an apprenticeship in Ireland, before returning to the Academy a year later to work as an assistant instructor and project leader. Gail was awarded membership of The British Wooden Boat Trade Association in 2008 and recently received a £13,500 award from the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust to enable her to build “by eye” a boat of historical resonance to Dorset. She joins Sheila to discuss her specialist craft and change of career.