STUDENTS of Lyme Regis Boat Building Academy celebrated the completion of their 40-week course by launching three hand-crafted boats into the harbour last week.
Despite the particularly blustery conditions, the launch events went ahead although students were only able to test out their vessels in the confines of the sheltered harbour, rather than out in the bay.
Celebrations started inside the Boat Building Academy on Monmouth Beach, where a large crowd of supporters gathered for songs by shanty singing group the Lyme Bay Moonrakers, followed by speeches from academy director Will Reed and the Mayor of the Lyme Regis, Cllr Brian Larcombe MBE.
A procession of the hand-crafted boats was then led from the academy down to the slipway. They included a strip-planked sailing boat, a traditional clinker outboard motorboat, and a heritage Orkney sailing boat.
Students were helped and cheered on as they launched them into the harbour, many celebrating with Champagne on board.
The academy’s May 2021 class consisted of 11 men and women aged between 18 to 64, with wide varying backgrounds, who worked together on the three boats during the 40-week course.
Most of the students came to the academy in the hope to retrain for a career in the marine sector; an industry that has seen rapid growth and expansion in the UK over the last few years.
Emily, a former fundraising manager, describes her time at the Boat Building Academy: “I first came to the academy as part of a week-long short course in 2016, I enjoyed my time there so much that I knew it was the place for me.
“So, I joined the 40-week boat building course with the aim of retraining as a boat builder, now I have secured a job at one of the country’s leading boatyards.”
For further information about the Boat Building Academy and future courses, visit www.boatbuildingacademy.com