The Boat Building Academy in Lyme Regis,teaches the widest range of hands-on boat building courses in the world, specialising in composite, modern and traditional wooden construction, restoration and repair.
Students of our flagship intensive 38 week course 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.
Students of all ages, from all walks of life join the Academy either wanting a first time career in the marine or woodworking industries, looking for a career change or wanting to take a hobby to a higher level of skill. The boats that you will see here today at MADE London have been built by past and present students of the 38 week, level 3 course.
‘Tee Mu’ an Andrew Wolstenholme designed 13’ cold moulded motor launch
Phil Ambler and fellow students built this launch as part of their 38 week boat building course at the Academy in Lyme Regis, Dorset, in 2011.
The original Andrew Wolstenholme design for this boat was altered only slightly by fitting a 10hp Nanni diesel engine rather than electric motor specified by the designer.
Phil who has been a keen sailor all his life joined the Academy after retiring from his career as a GP in Oxfordshire. He first visited the Academy in 2006 with his son, who was thinking of joining the long course. His son decided to go to University but Phil never forgot the Academy and when he retired he decided to join the course himself.
After the course Phil relocated to Dorset. He enjoys spending time in ‘Tee Mu’ with friends and family and is a regular visitor to the Academy collecting supplies for his boat and other woodworking projects.
‘Wally’ 10ft traditional clinker dinghy
Ollie worked as a labourer building oak barns and homes and had been thinking of taking a woodworking course for a few years. He initially joined the long Woodworking Skills course at the Academy, which focuses on making furniture. Being in close contact with the boat building students and the boats they were building inspired him to take his new woodworking skills to another level and he joined the boat building course when the furniture making course finished. Since leaving the Academy Ollie has worked as a woodworker both making boats and in general carpentry, including a season as Ship’s Carpenter on The Caravan Stage Company’s (described as the ‘indescribable theatre of the arts’ but ‘amazing’ comes somewhere close) boat in Italy
14’ glued clinker Whitehall Skiff
On launch day Matt added to the emotion of the occasion by going down on one knee and proposing to his girlfriend during ‘Nicky Nacky Noo’s’ maiden voyage, offering a wooden ring he had made himself. Yvette said ‘yes’ and, while they didn’t sail into the sunset, they could have done if the tide had been right. Since leaving the course Matt, among other projects, built a beautiful mahogany tender for a superyacht.
18’ 'Arctic Tern' Designed by Iain Oughtred
Merry was not academic but is eminently practical. Before joining the Academy in 2007 she completed a two year course in 3D design and craft and travelled extensively, working along the way. After gaining some experience of the marine industry, working at a boat yard in Bridgend, cabinet-making and fitting out, she decided that the Academy’s 38 week course was the next step for her.
Merry, who is originally from Scotland fell in love with Lyme Regis, where the Academy is based and still lives here today.
10’ Traditional clinker rowing boat. Lawton Tender
George has worked as a self employed builder for the past three years, mainly undertaking property renovation projects. He has also worked in New Zealand re-fitting boats and as a fabricator for Princess Yachts. George has always had a keen interest in design and creating objects that are useful and enjoyable to use – he has created two surfboards and has spent the last two years renovating a sailing boat, which led him to enrol on the long course with us.
Khaya mahogany planking has been fitting onto oak timbers using the traditional clinker method to form the hull of this rowing boat, the design for which was taken from the book ‘Building Classic Small Craft: Complete Plans and Instructions for 47 Boats’.
This boat along with 8 others, all of varying size and construction method currently being built at the Academy in Lyme Regis, will be launched into Lyme Regis harbour on 9th December for the very first time.
‘Ack-Emma’ 7 ½ ‘ traditional clinker dinghy
She is a replica of Pip Emma, a 7 • foot clinker dinghy which is currently housed at the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth. She was originally designed and built by Morgan Giles in 1916 for his children. Ben visited the museum to take the lines of Pip Emma in order to draw full sized plans for his replica at the Academy, in a process known as lofting.
The name Pip Emma is taken from the phonetic alphabet used by Royal Air Force signallers in World War 1 and means PM, or afternoon. In keeping with this, Ben chose to name his replica (the only replica of Pip Emma), Ack Emma, meaning AM.
Ben grew up just down the road from the Academy in the seaside town of Sidmouth, Devon, and before joining the course, worked far from home as a deckhand and bosun in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and crossing the Atlantic.
After graduating from the Academy in June this year, he returned to the Mediterranean as a Ships Carpenter, using the skills learned as part of his training in Lyme Regis, aboard Eleonora, a 50 metre replica of a 1910 Herreshoff yacht