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‘Supporting Heritage, Creating Opportunity, Embracing Social Responsibility’

Skilled craftspeople who work in the boat building industry have, in Wales, according to government figures, reduced from nearly 300 to approximately 85 between the 1990s and 2015. Of these people, few work with traditional craft but rather with GRP and other construction materials. We believe that to give the project every opportunity to succeed we need to support people to acquire the specific skills relating to the refurbishment and restoration of traditional craft.  
We began looking at the viability of funding an accredited and robust apprenticeship in June 2021 and were fortunate for a number of reasons. The Welsh Government were encouraging this and offering some contribution to 1st-year costs. John and Nina at Classic Sailboats Ltd were deciding if they could take on a new apprentice or indeed whether it was time to retire! 

Following support and advice from Gill Quine at Coleg Menai, Classic Sailboats agreed to ‘take on’ an apprentice with MSHS financially supporting all the remaining money required for the first year. A Job Description and Person Specification were drawn up and the post was advertised in August. The person needed to commence in post before 1st October to be eligible for a Government grant so interviews were held in early September 2021. Following the interviews, a young woman called Polly secured the post and commenced in post at the end of the month. 

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Polly inside the upturned MS preparing the planks for the return of the repaired ‘floor’ beam.

The boat was upside down to allow easier access to remove then relay the garboard plank (the first out from the keel) - a common point of leaks in an MS.

The crosses and question marks denote ribs that will probably require replacing or repairing.

The apprenticeship remains based with Classic Sailboats Ltd with attendance one day a week at Coleg Menai for the theoretical, academic and mechanical engineering aspects of the training.
During the first year, John was commissioned with a complete rebuild of a Mylne One Design - a deep hulled 25’ racing day boat, designed by Alfred Mylne in 1934 to sail and race either on the River Mersey or out of Treaddur Bay on Anglesey. The project took over 8 months and included the removal of deck, all planks and ribs then replacing or re-siting them; the construction of a mast and spars, repair and replacement of both stem and transom. A fantastic learning opportunity.  

Once the work on that was complete Polly began her work on the Menai Straits One designs, working on No’s 6, 8, 9 and 12.
Polly duly completed year 2 of her course and is now midway through her 3rd year. Her present project is ‘Lofting’ – preparation of plans, supports, etc so that the complete restoration of our 3rd yacht (Jetemaan ) can commence.   

A decision on whether we are able to fund a second apprenticeship will be made in early Summer 2024.  


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