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Meet our team


Our tutors are selected not only for their excellence in boat building and craftsmanship but also for their outstanding communication and teaching skill.

‘I have taught and studied in many professional courses throughout my working life and the training I have had at the BBA is some of the very best’

– Bijan Nabavi, 2023 40-week Boat Building student

Will Reed

Director / Co-chair

As Director, Will runs the Boat Building Academy day-to-day. He also co-chairs the board of trustees. Having started woodwork as a child, Will remains a passionate maker and has spent many years working professionally as a furniture designer/maker and boat builder. Teaching has always been an important part of life and through the BBA Will helps to pass on the knowledge through first class training. On a good day, Will can be seen sailing his Lateen daysailer in Lyme Bay.

Paul Dyer

Operations Manager

Paul Dyer worked in IT management before completely changing career and becoming a student on the 38-week course here at the Academy, where he gained Distinctions at Levels II and III. He worked as a boat builder and as Accommodation Manager at Lyme Regis Marine Centre before being promoted to his present role of Operations Manager.

Mike Broome

Boat Building Tutor

Mike Broome spent six years as a marine engine fitter before becoming a designer of special-purpose machinery. He left engineering to train in traditional boat building skills in Lyme Regis.On graduating he set up Simmons & Broome Ltd with a fellow student, building and restoring wooden boats. Mike has been teaching at the BBA since 2005 (part-time), joining as a full-time tutor in January 2008. Mike is a member of the Institute for Learning, having gained QTLS status.

Matthew Law

Boat Building Tutor

Before taking the City & Guilds course at the BBA in 1999, Matthew worked in education and research at Trinity College, Dublin. Prior to that he worked in emergency relief and development in East Africa, running displaced people centres for NGOs and United Nations. After deciding to completely change his career Matthew joined the ‘long’ course at the Academy. He served as a shipwright in Lathams Boatyard in Poole afterwards, but we persuaded him to teach at the BBA in 2004. He’s been here ever since.

Joe Blathwayt

Boat Building Tutor

Before training as boat builder in 2008, Joe worked as an architect in London. He has continued to be involved with a number of building design projects concerned with engineering in timber and has been teaching on and off at the BBA since 2012. Joe is now a part-time turor on the 40-week Boat Building course.

Rob Hounslow

Boat Building Tutor

Rob grew up around water, his father runs a fish farm on the River Kennet. Over the years Rob covered almost every job on the farm, including working with green oak and making bridges and jetties. Wanting to master a craft, Rob attended the Academy’s boat building Class of March 2012.

Karen Hansen

Furniture Making Tutor

Karen has worked with wood since her early childhood in Denmark. Her professional career began in carpentry and grew to encompass joinery and conservation of historic interiors. Since graduating from Hooke Park College in the early 90’s she has been based in Dorset and developed her own sustainable design and make business in furniture and sculptural construction. Recently gaining a masters in the teaching of material culture, she is passionate about ‘learning through doing’ and working to acknowledge the connection to our environment. Her experience in timberframe and strawbale-building has in recent years lead to her running courses in the construction of Tiny-houses. She joined the BBA in 2023 and teaches the 12-week furniture making course.

Poppy Booth

Furniture Making Tutor

Poppy joined us in 2024 and teaches the 12-week Furniture Making course. Having grown up in her Dad’s workshop watching him work, she developed an inherent love for making. She is interested in how and why we make things and the tools and rules we use. In 2013 Poppy was a student on the 12-week furniture making course. Since then, she took on her own workshop opposite her Dad’s and has been working on furniture & kitchen commissions.

Mark Matthews

Visiting Tutor (Sail Making)

Mark has 28 years experience in all aspects of sail making including construction, design and repairs. He lives locally, just across the bay in Portland. Mark teaches all sail making training at the BBA.

Geoff Bowker

Visiting Tutor (Boat Building)

Geoff graduated from BBA in the summer of 2014, following a thirty-five-year career in the Royal Navy. While qualified as a Yacht & Small Craft Marine Surveyor, Geoff pursued boat building and secured a workshop near Dorchester to set up Bowker Marine Services. Projects have been some new builds but mostly renovation, restoration and repair of wooden boats and particularly of clinker vessels.

Justin Adkin

Visiting Tutor

Justin Adkin was brought up on boats in the fishing village of Beer. He built his first boat in his spare time during an engineering apprenticeship, then went to Rowsell and Morrison to build rowing dinghies and ocean rowing boats. In 2003 Justin set up his own business building Salcombe Yawls and ocean rowing boats, including the boat he built for himself and in which, with his brother and two cousins as a four-man crew, he won the ’05-’06 Atlantic Rowing Race.

Colin Henwood

Visiting Tutor (Renovation & Finishing)

Colin Henwood, Founder of ‘Henwood & Dean’ on the Thames, has been restoring and maintaining traditional Thames boats over 25 years, as well as using traditional methods and techniques to design and build new boats. Craft restored by Henwood and Dean have won many prestigious awards, including the Classic Boat Magazine trophy for ‘Best Professional Boatbuilder’ for the stunning 13′ electric launch, Polly, in addition to the ‘Thamesis’ Trophy for best new boat built to a traditional design. Henwood & Dean boats are often featured in Thames-based events and on TV. Colin instructs our 5-day Renovation and Finishing short course. Find out more about Colin in a Profile written by Classic Boats.

Christopher Booth

Visiting Tutor (Furniture Restoration)

Christopher Booth has been involved in the care of antique furniture for over forty years. After completing his training at West Dean and in Paris he worked for Jeremy’s on the King’s Road, before setting up his own restoration business, Ballantyne Booth, in Notting Hill.
Chris then moved to West Dorset where he still works as a master restorer. He is a specialist in all aspects of period property maintenance, including gilding, picture hanging, textile and fabrics, french polishing, stone masonry, veneer matching, furniture making and wax polishing.

In 1987 Christopher established Christopher Booth Furniture Restoration in Dorset, specialising in 18th century English and French furniture. In 2010 he took on the restoration and conservation of all furniture at Hoglands, former home of Henry Moore and continues with the ongoing annual maintenance for the Henry Moore Foundation.

Chris instructs our Antique Furniture Restoration short course, details can be found here.

Roy Gollop

Visiting Tutor

Roy began as an apprentice boat builder in 1946 before enlisting in the Royal Marines where he was responsible for landing craft operations and later senior instructor of seamanship, craft handling and navigation. He returned to Lyme Regis to manage the family fishing business for several years until he finally reopened the toolbox – building clinker dinghies and working boats for local use. He is a visiting Instructor and mentor at the Academy and produces wooden sculptures and carvings from home – examples of Roy’s work can be seen on his website


Tim Gedge

Honorary Life President

Commander Tim Gedge founded the school of boat building in 1997 after a career in the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy. After a two-year break from the school he returned in January 2006 as a Director. For some years a Yacht Master examiner he has sailed and raced extensively; more recently he was a member of the Council of the Marine South West group within the South West Regional Development Agency and of other marine business associations in the region.

Janine Cashin


Janine has been apart of the BBA team for over 10 years and is the first point of contact for anybody interested in our courses. She runs the office day-to-day, managing all bookings and student accommodation.

Alex Weatherall

Marketing & Digital Administrator

Alex joined the Academy in 2023. He is responsible for the BBA’s advertising and marketing, managing the day-to-day handling of all our social media channels and website.

Graham Pickett

Voluntary Accountant

Graham was a vice chair and senior partner of Deloitte LLP before he retired in the Spring of 2019. As part of his wind-down into retirement he enrolled onto the boat building 40 week course in Summer 2019 where he built a 14 foot Yachting World dayboat which is called ‘Mrs P’ and which is regularly seen sailing in Lyme Bay.
Graham is married to Lynne (as well as their working cocker spaniel Daisy!) and lives at the top of Sidmouth Road overlooking the Jurassic coast, and has twin daughters who live in London between regular visits to Lyme Regis. He’s currently completing a complete refurbishment of his house where his new found woodworking skills are coming into very good use.

Sam Robinson


Sam grew up in North East Essex where his family have been building boats for generations (his great grandfather was yacht designer and naval architect William Robinson). After attending the BBA in 2015 Sam went on to work in North Wales and Cornwall, building and restoring traditional boats before returning to West Dorset where he specialised in repairing Cornish Pilot Gigs as well as taking on bespoke woodworking projects. Sam returned to the BBA as a member of staff in April 2021.

Tim Clayton


After a 27 year career in sales, Tim relocated from Buckinghamshire to West Dorset and joined the 12 week Woodworking Skills (now Furniture Making) course.

Tim also teaches the 5-day Marquetry short course.

Luke O'Connell


Luke is our machinist at the Academy three days a week. He graduated from the BBA in 2021 and was given the 'Student Of The Year Award'. Since finishing the 40-week course he has started his own company 'Bluetree Boatbuilders' with two other former students.

Geoff Barrett


Geoff worked in electronics manufacturing for 30 years, mostly in production planning and integrating and supporting accounting and manufacturing systems. Geoff joined the Academy in November 2015 and works two days per week.

Wendy Sartin


Originally from Leatherhead in Surrey, Wendy moved to Lyme Regis over 30 years ago. She is the mother of four children, and Housekeeper at the Lyme Regis Marine Centre.

Mark Kingsley


Mark works in maintenance at the Academy two days a week. In his spare time, he restores classic cars and vintage motorcycles and is also a recording musician


Will Reed


As Director, Will runs the Boat Building Academy day-to-day. He also co-chairs the board of trustees. Having started woodwork as a child, Will remains a passionate maker and has spent many years working professionally as a furniture designer/maker and boat builder. Teaching has always been an important part of life and through the BBA Will helps to pass on the knowledge through first class training. On a good day, Will can be seen sailing his Lateen daysailer in Lyme Bay.

Jon Lloyd-Davies


Jon worked for a leading multinational financial services company in London for 29 years. His last role was as a Senior Global Manager in the Insurance division, working with a number of countries to develop their insurance businesses. Seeking a change of direction Jon enrolled at the Boat Building Academy in September 2015, and built a 20 foot daysailer designed by Paul Gartside.

He was delighted to take on the role of trustee for the BBA and spends the rest of his time working on boats and his house in Lyme Regis, seeing family and friends and travelling. He is currently restoring a small clinker launch.

Rob Aylott

Rob Aylott trained as a student apprentice to become an aircraft design engineer; but in his 20’s he moved into management science as an internal consultant with Philips Industries and then ran the Information Technology arm of ITT in the UK.
He left to set up a technology management company while he and his late wife also ran the family retail furniture business in London’s West End.
Rob was then invited to join the management consultancy arm of KPMG and became the global leader of their sourcing advisory business until he retired.
In retirement, Rob turned his energy to set up a local enterprise to create resources and activities that develop community engagement.
He also works with the church at parish to diocesan levels but, most of all, he uses his craft skills in restoring and using historic vehicles and his 400-year-old home and working with the BBA to realise their charitable objectives.

Bob Jennings

Bob graduated as a biochemist and worked for the same laboratory supplies company for 32 years – in laboratories, human resources, IT management and European marketing. He joined the 38-week course in March 2007. Bob then gained a PGCE and QTLLS status and set up boat building apprenticeships at Bournemouth and Poole College, working with Sunseeker.

Bob is looking into sustainability and safeguarding policies at the BBA.

Bella Bathurst

Bella Bathurst took the BBA’s furniture-making course in 2014/15. She loved it so much she did it twice, and now as a BBA trustee is partly responsible for looking after the interests of the furniture-makers. The rest of the time she writes books and builds houses.