From education to employment

Boat launches mark course success for Falmouth Marine School students

Boatbuilding students from Falmouth Marine School launched their impressive range of boat building projects this week.

An impressive nine boats were launched on the slip at Ponsharden, marking a celebratory end to the term and for the second years the start of a new chapter in their lives as qualified boatbuilders.

Six of the boats were restoration projects and included two sailing dinghies, a wooden clinker construction fishing boat, a lug rigged day sailor and a punt.

The three new builds included a Paul Gartside designed tortured ply skiff, a wooden carvel constructed Cornish skiff and a fibre reinforced plastic skiff.

One of the skiffs was purchased by Jerry Gould for Looe gig rowing club.  Jerry purchased the boat after seeing photos of her being built on the College Facebook page and took the opportunity to have a naming ceremony at the event.

“I bought her unseen, only from photos and she has surpassed my expectations,” he said.

“They have done a grand job; she is a beautiful looking boat.”

The boat has been named White Rose after the Cornish song, and will be used by the club to introduce the younger generation to rowing in Looe. 

“We had had the gig club for many years, but the youth of the town haven’t had the opportunity to row in smaller boats for about 15 years, so my grandchildren and others with have their first taste of rowing in White Rose,” continued Jerry.  

Also in attendance at the launches was current Cornish Skiff Champion, Mark Hignatt.

“The students have done a great job. It’s been wonderful to see the heart of boatbuilding education in the region in action,” he said.

“Going forward, it’s about the young children and giving them the opportunity to learn to row and the rowing skiff will aid with that.” 

The students were joined by boatbuilding applicants that will begin their career journey this September.

Mark Hill, aged 46, was one of those applicants. 

“I really enjoyed the event today,” he said.

“Seeing what I will be doing in the next few months and the achievements of the current students is really inspiring.”

Mark was a song writer and music producer before moving to Cornwall with his young family.  “I decided to try something new and the boatbuilding course really appealed to me,” he continued 

Falmouth Marine School has been delivering training to the boatbuilding, ship repair and shipbuilding industries since 1920, and has run full-time boatbuilding courses since the early 1970s.

Located in the heart of the boatbuilding industry at Ponshardon, the boatbuilding courses and apprenticeships equip students with both traditional and modern boatbuilding techniques.

“It is the only state funded establishment where students can gain specialist training with access to dedicated workshops in both traditional and modern wooden boatbuilding techniques, as well as in the latest range of composites,” commented Boatbuilding Programme Manager Chris Bosanko-Green.

“It is their achievements and stories that showcase the value of the courses to the community and around the world,” he added.

Falmouth local Ben Davis secured the position of wing manager for Ben Ainslie’s America Cup team thanks to his expertise in boat technology gained at Falmouth Marine School.

He said the course “provided me with a fantastic stepping stone for my career”. 

“The most important thing I learnt is laminating epoxy systems, which is now what I’m using every day as wing manager,” he added.

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