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Boatbuilding college hopes for a fair wind with projects up for two national awards

PUBLISHED: 10:00 23 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:07 23 February 2018

Seb Scarr and Lewis Phillips, from the International Boatbuilding Training College in Lowestoft, with the Walberswick Ferry 'Boy Charlie' - nominated for a Classic Boat Award. 
Picture: Nick Butcher

Seb Scarr and Lewis Phillips, from the International Boatbuilding Training College in Lowestoft, with the Walberswick Ferry 'Boy Charlie' - nominated for a Classic Boat Award. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

A college that endeavours to keep the craft of boatbuilding alive is crossing its fingers after being nominated for two national awards.

The new Walberswick Ferry, 'Boy Charlie', was launched in July 2017. Photo: Steve AdamsThe new Walberswick Ferry, 'Boy Charlie', was launched in July 2017. Photo: Steve Adams

Against the backdrop of the area’s rich maritime history, the International Boatbuilding Training College (IBTC) Lowestoft offers courses for anyone interested in an industry career or simply looking to supplement their hobby.

A huge variety of projects are undertaken at the college, based in Oulton Broad, and two of its latest products have been recognised by Classic Boat Magazine as part of their annual Classic Boat Awards.

The ‘James Caird’ is a replica of the 23’6” lug yawl in which Ernest Shackleton made his epic Antarctic voyage in 1916. Picture: Courtesy of Lyn TupperThe ‘James Caird’ is a replica of the 23’6” lug yawl in which Ernest Shackleton made his epic Antarctic voyage in 1916. Picture: Courtesy of Lyn Tupper

Both of the nominations come in the ‘Traditional New Build’ category, for which vessels must be unpowered and launched in the last 12 months.

The ‘James Caird’ is a replica of the 23’6” lug yawl in which Ernest Shackleton made his epic Antarctic voyage in 1916, while ‘Boy Charlie’ is the new Walberswick Ferry, a rowing boat that has been transporting people across the River Blyth for more than 800 years.

The Walsberwick Ferry has been nominated in the 'Traditional New Build' category. Picture: Nick ButcherThe Walsberwick Ferry has been nominated in the 'Traditional New Build' category. Picture: Nick Butcher

Lyn Tupper, who has co-owned the site alongside her husband Mike since 2015, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to receive two nominations in the awards.

“The James Caird project lasted four to five months and involved replicating all kinds of modifications that Shackleton had on his boat; it was something everybody enjoyed working on.”

The ferry has been transporting people from Southwold to Walberswick for more than 800 years. Photo: Steve AdamsThe ferry has been transporting people from Southwold to Walberswick for more than 800 years. Photo: Steve Adams

The Southwold to Walberswick ferry has been run by the same family since 1885 and fifth generation operator Daniella Church decided last year that it was time to launch their first new vessel for two decades.

IBTC’s Lewis Phillips and Seb Scarr worked on an exact replica of former boat ‘Halcyon Days’, before Sharon Vingoe applied the finishing touches.

Walberswick Ferry has been operated by the same family since 1885. Photo : Steve AdamsWalberswick Ferry has been operated by the same family since 1885. Photo : Steve Adams

Mr Phillips said: “I’ve been boatbuilding since I left school and when I saw a job advertised at the college a few years ago I thought I’d give it a shot.

“The Walberswick Ferry project started in February 2017, before it was eventually launched in July. It’s nice to be nominated for a Classic Boat Award after so much hard work.”

'Boy Charlie' is an exact replica of its predecessor 'Halcyon Days'.
Picture: Nick Butcher'Boy Charlie' is an exact replica of its predecessor 'Halcyon Days'. Picture: Nick Butcher

The deadline for voting in the Classic Boat Awards is 11.59pm on Wednesday, February 28. Winners will be announced in the May issue of Classic Boat Magazine.

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