to the Boat Building Academy
centre for excellence'
Director General City & Guilds
professional or purely for pleasure - come and learn boatbuilding
or woodworking skills at the Boat Building Academy in Lyme Regis.
you want a professionally recognised boatbuilding qualification,
a few days by the sea learning practical skills, or to build your
own boat, there is a course for you here in Lyme Regis.
Our experts teach the widest range of hands-on boat building courses in the world, specialising in composite, modern and traditional wooden construction, restoration and repair. Students on the intensive 38 week course gain practical experience of a wider range of construction types than found in most boatyards or on any other boat building course.
Students learn by building and working on a wide range of real boats selected for their educational value. We do not undertake commercial work but do work to marine industry standards. Our intensive and highly practical courses vary in length from 5 days to 38 weeks.
The Academy also offers woodworking courses, from 5 days to 12 weeks. Based on our boat building training philosophy courses are hands-on, intensive and the 12 week course offers people the opportunity to design and make a piece of furniture in addition to gaining City & Guilds certification and a Level 3 diploma.
Based on Lyme Regis's famous Monmouth beach in
Dorset the Academy lies at the heart of the UK's most breathtaking
scenery, the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Our students come from
every profession and from all over the world. Many will go on to
work in the marine industries but our courses also appeal to those
taking a sabbatical from their 'real' lives or simply escaping the
rat race. See page 18 of our prospectus for examples of what our students have gone on to do.
visit to the Academy was truly inspirational. I found the energy
and commitment of the staff to be second to none. Their dedication
to their craft and the students, and their passion for excellence
in design and technical skills, clearly explains the success rates
that the Academy has, and the very high level of results achieved
by the students. You truly are a centre for excellence in
Director General of City & Guilds
the Academy on 13th April 2007
college has set the benchmark for the future of training craftsmen
which has long been the biggest worry of traditional boat builders
and repairers. Your college deserves to go from strength to strength
and I for one will recommend it to anyone looking for a career in
Owner of Elephant
Boatyard, Hampshire, 14 June 2011
of two Academy graduates
Beale Park Boat Show 2013 was, as usual, a great venue for students to exhibit their boats. Our thanks to graduate John Harris for the sterling work he and wife Mary did in the Academy's marquee. John started his company Tavy Wooden Boats after leaving the Academy in 2008 and has exhibited with us at Beale Park ever since.
Instructor Will Reed was an expert maker during the workshop phase of the RCA project 'The Lives and Loves of Hardwood Chairs' outlined here and the subject of a short film. The 12 chairs produced were exhibited at the V & A in September 2012 with an accompanying talk by industry and academic experts.
ITV visited the Academy as part of Lynda Bellingham's 'My Tasty Travels' (we didn't cook). The programme can be seen here (the section on the Academy starts around 13 minutes in...) featuring Mike Broome, now known as wood turner to the stars. Last year John Craven and Jules Hudson filmed at the Academy as part of the 'Heritage Heroes' series, focussing on the traditional element of our training, rather than the modern wood or composite elements. For a glimpse of the Academy through BBC2's camera lense click here
After his time as Chief Instructor at the Academy Jack was a tireless adviser, supporter and friend whose knowledge and enthusiasm lit up the workshops and illuminated us all. His enormous contribution to British boat building, dinghy racing and teaching was detailed in his Daily Telegraph obituary and on Radio 4's 'Last Word'. We are setting up a 'Remembering Jack' website, please contact us if you have any memories you would like to share. We will also award an annual Jack Chippendale prize.
BBC interviewed Ian Baird, class of March 2010, and Roy Gollop
on the build of Ian's traditional clinker boat 'Witch of Weymouth'
replica of the 1902 Weymouth-built crab and lobster fishing boat
'Witch of Worbarrow'. Click here
to see the BBC report. 'Witch of Weymouth' is on exhibit in Falmouth National
Maritime Museum with 'Witch of Worbarrow' from the middle of October 2011.
National Maritime Museum at Greenwich featured 'Defiant of
Regis', one of the boats built by Marc Chivers and the class of
March 2008, as the centrepiece
of their 'Boats
That Built Britain' exhibition, which ran alongside the BBC4
series of the same name.
to to hear Marc Chivers' interview on the building of 'Defiant',
a replica of a 13 foot Pilot Punt.
Graduate and former Instructor, Gail
McGarva, having launched Cornish Pilot Gig 'Black Ven', then built a Lerret (traditional
Dorset fishing boat) 'by eye' at the Academy as a Queen Elizabeth Scholar. Gail talked about the build
on Radio 4 Woman's Hour (to hear the interview click here).
BBC News filmed a short interview, see that here
(There seems to be some confusion at the BBC around gigs and Lerrets...)
Gail's talk at the V & A about her boat building career can be seen here. Thanks to everyone who bought a ticket in the raffle
to raise funds for Gail's workshop. She is now in residence
and building a traditional Cornish skiff for Lyme Regis Gig Club's youth section. The boat is based on 'Mandarin', the oldest surviving skiff built by prolific skiff builder John Badger. 'Mandarin' was brought to the Academy and Instructor Mike Broome taught a group of six, joined for the first day by John Badger's son Phil and including Jan Wilkins, Chair of the Cornwall Rowing Association, how to take measurements off the boat, loft and adapt the lines so that Gail can build a new generation of skiff suitable for Lyme Bay. The course was funded by the Transport Trust, National Historic Ships and Lyme Regis Gig Club.
Gail started the build at the end of March... once she'd been to Buckingham Palace to pick up her recent 'Highly Commended' for the Prince Philip Medal from the Princess Royal, details here. The skiff was launched on Sunday 29 September and the young people of Lyme Regis have been queueing up to row ever since.
Daily Telegraph magazine published a story about the Academy
written by journalist, Sophie Campbell,
who spent a day at the Academy with a photographer. To read the
story click here.
first 12 week Woodworking Skills course will run in September 2013. The course is based on our 8 week course, but carries a Level 3 Diploma. The course is exclusive to the Boat Building Academy. Click here to see personal project pieces produced by students on the eight week course and here for details of the 12 week course. The box photographed was the personal project piece produced by one of the September 2012 group.
The next launch is on 9 December at 1030 when the Class of March 2013 will be launching the seven boats they have built as part of the 38 week course.
|June 2013 launch
Despite grey skies, wind and rain, friends, family and supporters joined the Class of September 2012 when they launched their boats. A number of graduates joined the celebrations, including Rob Murphy, working at T Nielsen & Co, foreman on the Victory, Louis Rhodes, working at Elephant and Paddy Uniacke, working at Avocet Yacht Services to name a few. The sea was as steely as the sky, but the boats were beautiful and the rain held off.
In addition to the boats, Charlie Goodwin exhibited the wooden bicycle he designed and built as part of the 8 week Woodworking course that finished recently. Bicycle Building Academy?
|December 2012 launch
About two hundred people watched the launch of the eight boats built by the Class of March 2012. Water Craft, Classic Boat and Sailing Today will be publishing articles, with mentions and photographs in other magazines, including the social pages of 'Dorset' magazine (wellies and waders rather than black tie). The BBC and ITV were there. But the launch remained very much a 'family' affair and for the students a celebration of the skills they have gained over the last nine months.
For more photographs of what was a spectacular launch day click here.
June 2012 launch
The Class of September 2011 hoped for a last minute reprieve from the rain but it persisted. Not that it mattered once the boats were on the water. The group have now dispersed: AnnA is working at Stampfli Racing Boats in Switzerland, Matt Cowdery is renovating classic cars, Casey Milburn is starting a small business in the south of France, Matt McGlade is making final preparations to go to New Zealand, Al Bartlett starts work at Freebodys next month, Rob Murphy is building shepherd's huts and Will Heward is starting at Spirit in August... but back to launch day. More photographs on the 'Events' page.
December 2011 Launch
Gail McGarva said come howling wind or storms she would be in the harbour in her waders at 1400 on 9 December 2011. The sun struggled to shine at times but the Class of March 2011 launched their boats and careers watched by hundreds of people without umbrellas, including the growing group of BBA babies...
Please click here for photographs of the launch and here for boat build diaries and student profiles.
|June 2011 launch
||Tuesday 7 June 2011 was dark and overcast but the 18 students who launched their boats hardly noticed. Hundreds of wellwishers celebrated with the class of September 2010. We also got news that Ross Doherty (class of March 2010) and Elizabet's baby girl had launched into the world at 4am that morning.
|December 2010 launch
The class of March 2010 launched their boats on Thursday 9th December 2010. It was another fantastic day, with the added surprise of a marriage proposal on the water.
Click here for more information and photographs of the day.
diaries of boats being built on the courses are linked to
the Student Profile
pages for the most recent, and from our Boats
page for those from earlier courses.