Wednesday, 25 June 2014


ORIGINALLY from a village in the Mendips, near Bristol, Andy Jones, 30, was recently attracted to Lyme Regis by the town’s world-renowned Boat Building Academy on Monmouth Beach, enrolling in a nine month course which covered a wide range of techniques. He previously worked for Babcock International in London, on behalf of the London Fire Brigade, covering the supply and maintenance of operational equipment, and he now hopes to put his new skills to use working with wood.

WHAT attracted you to the Boat Building Academy? 
Firstly to learn and new skills and gain a recognised qualification that will allow me to hopefully always find work anywhere in the world. Also to have a better understanding of boat building and working with wood and composites, and thirdly the location!

DID you have any previous experience in boat building? 
I have no previous experience, the course was totally new to me. I have been sailing before but was a rarity.

WHAT did your course entail? 
I enrolled up the full-time, nine-month boat building course, covering a wide range of areas. The main areas were lofting, key woodworking skills and joint understanding, boat construction methods, boat fit outs and rigging, painting and finishing, GRP and FRP methods, marine adhesive and methods for glueing up with the aid of vacuum pumps, to name a few.

WHAT did you hope to achieve from it? 
As boat building was new to me prior to the course starting, I hoped to understand all matters of boat building but also how to operate the machinery and tools in the workshop, which is a vital part of traditional and modern boat building. I have always wanted a hands-on skill and a skill that can be versatile and be used for all matters of woodwork, not just boat building.

WHAT did you enjoy about the course? 
To be honest, I have enjoyed the whole course and all areas covered. The course is laid out extremely well, I have enjoyed so much of it and the teachers make learning interesting and fun. I guess I enjoyed putting my new skills to the test when we advanced from the basic woodworking skills part of the course, onto the construction of the variety of boats built at the academy. The group breakfasts and lunches are pretty epic too!

WHAT do you plan to do after the course? 
I hope to take my new knowledge of boat building into a boat yard and expand with experience. Eventually I hope to start my own business but possibly not building boats, but most definitely working with wood. 

WHAT are your other personal interests? 
DJing and music production, stand-up paddle boarding, wood craft, going to the gym, martial arts, travelling, fishing and, of cours,e now sailing is a clear interest of late and I have done much of it since I moved to Lyme Regis.

WHAT do you like about Lyme Regis? 
It’s a friendly town with lots going on. I started stand-up paddle boarding just before the course and it’s fantastic to get out of the water of the Jurassic Coast. The academy is a stone’s throw from the water’s edge, which just makes it so much more of an attractive place to come and learn. I was living in London before the course started and my job was pretty full on, so moving down to Lyme was the ultimate de-stresser and I have always been made to feel welcome. The pubs are fun and the local ale from the brewery in Bridport goes down well.

IF you could own any kind of boat, what would it be and why? 
It would have to be a tall ship as I am fascinated by the history and the old maritime tales of pirates. I’ve always fancied setting sail and exploring the world, and what better way to do it than the way it always used to be done?

WHERE’S your ideal holiday destination, and why? 
I am most definitely a beach bum so would probably say the Philippines. A dream job for me would be a restoration of a fishing boat on a secluded beach some where in the tropics. 

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