Feedback is an important part of life at the Boat Building Academy. 'Long' course students have regular individual review sessions with their Instructor and the Principal's door is always open to people who would like to discuss any aspect of the course they are on or the school. Additionally all students are asked for details of their experience at the end of the course. The courses have been honed and improved over the years by the implementation of student suggestions.

We keep in touch with graduates of longer courses through our Graduates' network. The comments below are a representative selection of what people have said after completing their course.

The course was great and fully met my expectations. The tutor Mark Matthews was excellent!

Sue Hall, Traditional Sail Making (2022)

The course tutor was very experienced. Steps were broken down nicely so they were easy to understand. A relaxed environment to learn in. Fantastic tools and workshop.

…Was great to have an insight into the boat build projects.

Adam Swires, Introduction to Woodwork (2022)

The course was brilliant – thank you to everyone at the BBA.

Ben Lesser, 40-week Boat Building Class of October 2020

Excellent course… Enjoyed it all. Excellent tutors.

Luke O’ Connell, 40-week Boat Building Class of October 2020

The course was totally right for me. [Tutor] Joe brought us through from novices to the point where we were happy to continue developing our skills solo.

Fergus McDonnell, GRP Repairs (2022)

Fully met my expectations as to the materials and processes involved.

Richard Mitchell, GRP Repairs (2022)

Perfect content for me to pick up basic skills and to set me up for the 40 week Boat Building course.

Met and exceeded my expectations!

Peter Green, Woodworking 1 (2020)

A really useful week! I learned techniques and got some confidence in general woodworking, but the best thing was being able to bring my boat along for the class to work on.

I am extremely grateful for the dedicated concentration on the issues that need sorting for my boat.

Richard Palmer, Wooden Boat Restoration (2022)

The 40-week Boat Building course is by far the best thing I have ever done. The teaching is of the highest quality, both in expertise and enthusiasm for the course and the boatbuilding industry in general. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is considering a career in either woodworking or boatbuilding or even just to learn a new skillset.

George Soper, 40-week Boat Building Class of May 2021

Perfect, learned a lot.

Dirk Reinhart, Wooden Boat Restoration (2022)

All of it was perfect. Enthusiastic instructors imparting new knowledge all the time.

Mark Ruglys, Wooden Boat Restoration (2022)

Your college has set the benchmark for the future of training craftsmen, which has long been the biggest worry of traditional boat builders and repairers. You  deserve to go from strength to strength, and I for one will recommend it to anyone looking for a career in our industry.

Tom Richardson, Owner of Elephant Boatyard, Hampshire

I have built some 4000 small boats and trained around seventy apprentices on small boat construction. Many of those apprentices now work for, manage or indeed own companies building and servicing large sea-going craft. By contrast, I was never able to integrate into the system those who came to small craft from the big boat sector.

Jack Chippendale MBE 1924-2012

The course either met or exceeded my expectations in all areas. I think the fact I did it twice kind of speaks for itself. Bella Bathurst (September 2014 & January 2015).

Bella Bathhurst, award-winning journalist and writer


I have watched the Boat Building Academy grow in stature, from its inception in 1997 when, along with the late Jack Chippendale and others I was asked to help with the short courses. There are two brilliant ideas that characterise the long course training at the Academy – firstly, the involvement of professional wooden boatbuilders within the training program provides the students with direct contact with working boatbuilders, a sense of the real world of boatbuilding, and a friendly face within the industry. Secondly, the facility, within the course, to build a small boat which, along with the satisfaction of completing your own boat, gives the very real experience of working to a schedule and a deadline. This is imaginative, relevant and quality training at its very best.

Colin Henwood, Visiting Instructor and owner of Henwood and Dean, Oxfordshire.  Colin was awarded ‘Maker of the Year 2014’ by the Heritage Crafts Association.