Marine apprentices to put more wind in the sails of Testwood Lakes Sailability with dinghy repair project

Marine apprentices to put more wind in the sails of Testwood Lakes Sailability with dinghy repair project

Testwood Lakes SailabilityMarine apprentices from Brockenhurst College’s Marchwood Skills Centre will work to repair and recondition THREE dinghies belonging to Totton disabled sailing charity Testwood Lakes Sailability.

The aim is to improve sailing experiences for people with disabilities who benefit from the charity while giving learners extra hands-on experience of working with boats, materials and clients.

Five boatbuilding, one rigging and three painting apprentices have accepted the challenge, all of whom are apprentices at Lymington’s Berthon Boat Company.

The three craft will undergo a full re-rigging, fibregass repair and gel reconditioning service by the learners, who have used the opportunity as an exercise in diagnostics and business administration as well.

They have even set up a mock company, produced detailed reports, tendered a formal quote and will liaise directly with the client, although no actual money is set to change hands.

Boat building apprentice Maria Jenssen said: “It feels great to take charge of the whole starboard side of a boat and see the project through from beginning to end.

“It’s also very helpful in enabling me to get to grips with the business side of things such as diagnostic testing and quoting,” she added.

Phil Rawdon from Testwood Lakes Sailability said of the boats: “Some of them are getting a bit old. We’ve got cracks in some of the hulls, we’ve got one of the rudders that needs repairing; in fact, they’re going to rebuild the actual casing for the rudder, which is good.”

Phil explained how he was keen on getting local people involved in the charity’s work, adding: “To use a college with young people learning a trade, it’s good – it makes it worthwhile even more.”

All repair works are timetabled to be completed in time for the spring/summer season, so users can experience the benefits as soon as possible.

Brockenhurst College Marine Engineering teacher, Matt Rolph, said: “We’re looking to give back to the community, and it’s great for the learners… it’s a win-win for everybody.”