Classic Sailing teams up with the Boat Building Academy

Did you know you can now book 2-5 day boat building courses through Classic Sailing?

The Boat Building Academy is on Monmouth Beach in Lyme Regis, only a stones throw from the famous Cobb harbour and fossil beaches. It is hard to imagine a more salty spot to learn new skills, without going to sea.

On Classic Sailing website is now a tempting array of short and long courses for budding woodworkers or boat builders. The short courses are typically £295 for 2 days or £695 for a Mon-Friday course.

Everything from traditional sail making to modern or traditional wooden boat building options, wooden boat restoration to GRP repairs, setting up templates to build a boat, clinker to carvel construction, laminating wood and strip plank construction, ropework to painting and varnishing professionally.


We can also tell you, from first hand experience, about the 40 week professional career course in Boat Building at Lyme Regis.

Classic Sailing co-founder Debbie Purser was a student there in 2020-21, exploring a new career direction. Whilst Debbie had maintained wooden boats through trial and error in the past, she was new to woodwork joinery and many of the construction techniques both modern and traditional. Debbie benefited hugely from this highly intensive course, and she was part of a team that built 6 boats. If you want to know more from  students perspective, you can book an evening chat with her by phone or video call, via the application form.

If you are at the point when you want to reserve a space on a long course, and go visit the college to be absolutely sure, then fill in our application form and book a visit. The college principal Will Reid, or one of the tutors, can show you around the workshops.


There is a 5% discount if you book more than one course. You can also book courses in furniture making, marquetry, bench and green wood chair making because we think many of our website audience appreciates craftmanship (and craftwomanship) and aesthetics in many forms. Wood is good for the soul.

So why this new partnership with the Boat Building Academy in Lyme Regis? read on beyond the gallery.

Learning to Sail is only part of the journey

It is quite possible to enjoy sailing holidays on our stunning traditional fleet without feeling the need to contribute to the maintenance of a vessel, or even acquire a boat of your own.

However, if you do start to get bit obsessed about boats, then these courses are there for you to take things further. We can’t think of a nicer place to delve into the fascinating world of boat building, add to your practical skills, or simply feed a dream you have to build or restore your own boat and sail off into the sunset.

If you suffer from wanderlust, then being a sailor and a boat builder is a pretty useful skillset to take travelling. As you travel the world, you are more likely to be able to earn a casual wage from woodwork, joinery, GRP boat repair skills, sail and canvas work, than by being a sailor. You can also meet some great local artisans along the way, with technical topics of conversation you can now share.

The short courses also make great gifts, whether you are beginner or keen woodworker.

Own Your Own Boat

It doesn’t matter if the boat you desire is made of wood, steel, carbon, GRP. It will still need maintaining. If you have sails, oars or an engine, they will need maintaining. You can chuck money at it and hire professional to do the work, or you can learn the skills to do it yourself (or a bit of both).

These courses will help give you those skills, make sensible choices about materials and give you tool confidence.

If you want a wooden boat….read on.

Recycle a Wooden Boat

One of the reasons Debbie at Classic Sailing wanted to learn some wooden boat building skills during the covid pandemic is she felt it was time to encourage more people to recycle existing wooden boats. You need deep pockets financially to restore a fife or a 100 year old historic working boat, but there are also a lot of good wooden boats for sale at lesser prices that have been built in the last 20 years.

The sheer amount of labour that goes into a building a sweet clinker dinghy or a modern pilot cutter replica, is mind blowing. Even a handmade wooden gig oar is a sculpture in wood.

The fear and responsibility of maintaining a wooden beauty is what holds most mere mortals back from buying a wooden boat. With a smattering of skills, it soon becomes apparent that a wooden boat is made of parts that can be replaced. All you need is time, hard work and confidence.

Build your own boat

  • If you have a dream to build your own boat, then a short course won’t give you all the answers, but it is a great catalyst to get started.
  • There are boat building kits or boat design plans you can buy. Purists can learn to take the lines off a historic boat and build a replica.
  • You can build a boat on your own in a garage as therapy from your day job.
  • You can build a boat with your children or grandchildren as a perfect family bonding challenge.
  • You can set up a community project to build a boat for a multitude of social objectives.
  • There are many groups on social media, based all over the world, that build boats and offer each other advice. Find a new tribe of like minded sailors and makers.
Students of the Boat building Academy
Classic Sailing Skipper Debbie & HER 40 week boatbuilding colleagues

Launch a New Career

The 40 week Boat Building, Maintenance and Support course, incorporating City & Guilds 2463 Level 3 Diploma in Marine Construction, Systems Engineering and Maintenance (the technical certificate of an apprenticeship) is the flagship course at Lyme Regis.

 It gives students the skills to find jobs in the marine industry or establish themselves as boat builders in their own right, although some students join the course for a sabbatical or on retirement and have no plans to work in the marine industry.

Apart from the Christmas Break, this is an intensive course for 40 weeks without half terms or summer vacations. Many students choose to work in their weekends and evenings as well. The overall course cost looks a lot, but I would say it is equivalent in value to 2 years tuition fees of university learning.

Over the next few months Classic Sailing will catch up with some of the students and you can hear where their new found skills have led….

The short courses are ideal for testing out whether the long course is the career move for you. If your work situation means the long course is a pipe dream, then you can cherry pick the best short courses to create your own version. There is 5% off if you book more than one short course.

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