The hard work and dedication of students paid off when they launched their hand-made boats for the first time in front of family and friends.

The class of August 2018 at the Lyme Regis Boat Building Academy spent 40 weeks learning how to build a boat and putting their skills to use and making their own.

After several late nights earlier in the week, launch day began with a few last-minute tweaks and finishes before the boats were ready to enter the water.

The procession of boats made its way down to Lyme Regis harbour with cheers for the assembled crowd, and after a few congratulatory words from the boat build academy’s director, Tim Gedge, and mayor of Lyme Regis, Cllr Brian Larcombe MBE, the first boat went in.

In total, six boats were launched into the harbour - a traditional and contemporary rowing boat, a speed boat, a clinker sailing boat, a 21’ fishing boat and a sailing tender.

After a couple of hours of rowing, sailing and even water skiing across Lyme Bay, the class returned to the workshop for the awarding of the certificates. The class thanked instructors Will Reed and Mike Broome for their expert tuition and dedication to the course.

After the certificates were handed out, they all enjoyed a drink at the Lyme Regis Power Club.

A spokesperson for the academy said: “The class of August 2018 was made up of a wide array of people of differing ages, backgrounds and nationalities. Some joined us from as close as Dorchester, whilst others faired from Denmark, Austria and as far as New Zealand.

“Before joining the academy, the occupations of students ranged from a photography lecturer, a tree surgeon, a chemical scientist and a pair of school leavers.

“All who graduate from the 40-week course leave the academy with the essential skills needed for today’s changing marine industry.

“For Heike and Andy, the course has allowed them to retain for a career in the marine industry. The pair of them will be working at the prestigious luxury yacht firm Spirit Yachts in Ipswich. For others, the course is a way of fulfilling a lifelong passion that can act as a retirement gift or a sabbatical from a demanding job.

“The course brings together people from all walks of life and it is a privilege to see them start a new life as boat builders.”

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