Cornwall Marine Network Takes European Partners to Visit Cornish Traditional Boatbuilders

Cornwall Marine Network (CMN) hosted partners from Belgium and the Netherlands last week to visit key Cornish traditional boat builders and discuss how they can benefit from the EU funded Traditional Maritime Skills project.

Mashfords in Cremyll, and Mylor Yacht harbour, both boatyards involved in building, repairing and maintaining wooden vessels were visited as well as the National Maritime Museum Cornwall (NMMC), Falmouth Marine School and Cotehele Quay in Saltash. The fact-finding tour was part of a three year trans-national project aimed at preserving specific traditional boatbuilding skills and techniques currently known only to a reducing group of experts.

The feedback from all participating partners confirmed that the key outputs of the project would be invaluable to the industry. Creating a free training resource encompassing movie clips, step-by-step guides, images and an online community would be highly beneficial to all those interested in learning or refreshing their knowledge of traditional boat building techniques.

Jos Denis, project lead partner from Maritime Institute de Ruyter in Vlissingen, Holland said “We were able to see a complete scope of traditional boatbuilding in Cornwall. We now have more than a thousand photographs from the three study visits either side of the English Channel illustrating the differences between traditional boatbuilding across the regions. These images will help us provide better content and visualisations for the project website.”

This training package will be widely available and promoted across Europe in both English and Dutch translations to encourage people, businesses and organisations to engage in and with the traditional boatbuilding sector and to encourage people to pursue a career in boatbuilding.

The programme, called ‘2 Seas’, is worth a total of £1m and is funded through the European Regional Development Fund. The area it covers includes the North Sea and Channel coastal areas in Belgium (Flanders), England, France and the Netherlands.

Skilled workers are becoming increasingly scarce so the Traditional Maritime Skills project aims to address this problem by promoting training and apprenticeships that will create a steady workforce of multi-skilled boat builders. And the project will benefit both historic and modern boatbuilding since many of the skills in short supply today are closely related to the traditional boatbuilding skills.


August 2011


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