Charlie was always a keen sailor and had competed in the Cowes, Falmouth and Yarmouth classic yacht regattas. Charlie joined us from Guernsey, wanting to take a path combining boat building with his interest in class boats. Since he graduated from the ‘Long’ course he has been working on several, mostly classic, yachts. In 2017 Charlie tells us –
“I started off as a deck hand on an 82ft graft rigged schooner built in Southampton in 1902 named Coral of Cowes which I stayed with for 2 years. We did one Mediterranean season then crossed the Atlantic and sailed through the Caribbean doing charter work and regattas (with some success!) then back across the Atlantic where we broke the bowsprit near the Azores. The boat building skills came in handy and we left for the UK five days later with a new pitch pine bowsprit.
I then got promoted from deckhand to mate to sail her down to Crete for the new owner. I worked on a 140ft classic schooner during that winter to pay for my yacht master offshore course which I did last February. When I finished in May 2016 I did a summer season on board a 1952, 72ft rebuilt motor yacht in the South of France. The captain and I maintained it and took the owner out for day trips. I’m currently in Italy working as the bosun on a 120ft classic steel schooner. We’re in the yard doing winter maintenance at the moment, getting ready for the summer season. Its nonstop down here right now.”
Charlie says that the skills he learnt at the Academy come in useful “mainly when there is a big repair such as masts and spars, and also in the winter maintenance where bits and pieces need fixing. I don’t use the skills every day, but from time to time. We spent four weeks replacing the top 23 feet of the main mast on Coral of Cowes, that was a great experience. But I also learned attention to detail at the Boat Building Academy and that helps every single day whatever I’m doing.”