Wednesday 4 December sees the end of the 40-week Boat Building course for the Class of February 2019 with the launching of their boats into Lyme Regis Harbour. Six boats will be launched in total, as well as two paddle boards – both built as student projects towards the end of the course.
The boats range from a 16’ traditional clinker sailing boat, an 8’ sailing dinghy, a 16’ lug-rigged sailing boat, a 16’ traditional coble fishing boat and two canoes (one traditional clinker, the other strip-planked). All the boats have been built by the students as part of their training over the last six months; the class spend around 12 weeks working on their foundation skills before moving down to the main workshop to start work on their boat projects.
The Class of February 2019 are a diverse group; most have come from all corners of the UK, with some even hailing from as far as Switzerland and Greece. Regardless of their backgrounds, they have all come together for one reason – to learn how to build boats.
The students work on the boats every step of the way: from sourcing plans and lofting (drawing the boats to full-size in cross-sectional views), laying the backbone and planking to fit-out and finishing. Though comprehensive and challenging in scope, the course is open to anyone over the age of 18. There is no skill requirement or entry exam; all that is asked for is enthusiasm and determination.
Men and women from all different backgrounds and occupations come to the Academy for the training. For most, enrolling on the course is the first step into a new career direction – perhaps to work as a boat builder or to start up a business of their own. For others, the course might serve as a sabbatical from a comfortable desk job or perhaps to brush up on practical skills – even just for the sheer enjoyment.
All are welcome to join them in celebrating the achievements of the students as they launch their boats. The first boat is due in the water at 10.00 after congratulatory speeches.