James comes from a fishing family but made a career in the law, becoming a partner in a leading Scottish law firm where he specialised in social and ethical finance and in funding renewable energy projects. He kept a Boat Building Academy brochure in a desk drawer for a number of years before deciding that it was time to stop looking wistfully at the pictures and to enrol in the September 2013 long course. He built a glued clinker sailing coble as part of the course. Since graduating he has volunteered as a boatbuilder at the Scottish Maritime Museum and Galgael in Glasgow as well as carrying out private commissions, most recently restoring an old rowing skiff and carrying out other repairs for the Royal West of Scotland Amateur Boat Club.
James has taught lofting to apprentice boatbuilders at the Scottish Maritime Museum and the Anchor and Sail Project , the latter involving leading apprentices and volunteers through the lofting and set up of a 20 ft Paul Gartside captain’s gig for the tall ship Glenlee. He also serves on the boards of a various charities, including Glasgow Wood recycling.
James says ‘I’m very glad I kept that brochure’.