Who are our heroes?
Erm? They're Clive and Les aren't they?
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Read more about Quintet, the boat that will carry our adventurers on their journey.
New: See the boys in action sailing Quintet outside Poole
Exmouth 22nd July
22nd July, 2005
Around 9.30am we rowed ashore, and tied our dinghy to a ring on the harbour wall, being careful to leave enough length on the painter to allow for the falling tide. We walked across the beach and past the Lifeboat station as we had been directed and within minutes were outside the Boat Building Academy at Lyme Regis. We pushed open the door and entered a magical place.
All around there were small boats under construction, two cold-moulded dinghies, one still at the mould preparation stage and one starting its second layer of skin, a canoe just having its formers set up and faired, an elderly dinghy being restored, and the vessel we had come to see, a Shetland 'foureen'.
Based on Lyme Regis's Monmouth beach, the Boat Building Academy teaches men and women to build boats to professional standards.
The academy offers a number of training options. The long course includes the City and Guilds course 'Yacht and Boat Building at level 3'. Some students take the opportunity to build their own boat while on this course. Short courses offer beginners and more experienced, practise in the essential skills of boat building, maintenance and repair. For more information see their website on www.boatbuildingacademy.com
Gail's boat is a traditional Shetland boat, an eela, meaning literally a baby fish and therefore intended for shorter voyages, not too far from home. She is a foureen, that is 4 oared. She is double ended, eighteen feet over all and of clinker construction, larch planks on oak frames. The whole is held together by beautiful rose headed copper nails.
She is based on an 1882 boat; the 'Gardie Boat' which can be found in the Unst Boat Haven Museum at Haroldswick. And that is where Gail is taking her boat to launch her officially. Now that is romantic.
We joined staff and students for tea and biscuits, tea break heralded by loud ringing of the bell in the workshop. It was inspiring to hear the enthusiasm from both teachers and students alike.
We had to do some basic shopping for bread and cider for lunch before we were to set off on the next leg to Dartmouth so we walked up into town, along the Marine Parade. May I suggest that Lyme Regis beach is not the most picturesque beach I have ever seen. The dullness of the day did it no favours mind.
We rowed back to Quintet, restowed the dinghy on the deck and set off for Dartmouth. Would we actually get there this time?
As we lunched on fresh bread and elderly Brie (we had bought it in Limehouse!) we sailed parallel to Monmouth Beach and there was Gail, standing at the waters edge and waving us goodbye. Gail is so very excited about her beautiful boat and the skills that she has learned in her year at the BBA. We wish her and all her fellow students well with their new found skills and their plans to use them.
We sailed in the afternoon gloom until the wind died at 7.00 o'clock. We hadn't got very far, so we started the engine and headed for Exmouth. And having started the engine, of course, the wind came back but perfectly for the course into Exmouth.
Even though we were sailing at a good speed, it was still 10.00pm when we finally dropped anchor off Dawlish. We went to bed with the distant sounds of a fairground drifting across the water.
I wonder if we will finally get to Dartmouth tomorrow?