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The University of Southampton
Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

Annual Shipwrights' Lecture 2016 - A great success

Published: 19 October 2016
Shipwrights Panel of Experts
Shipwrights Panel of Experts

A record number of apprentices attended the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights’ 2016 Annual Lectures on Wednesday 19 October at the University of Southampton.

Shipwright and lectures organiser Sarah Fraser, who officiated throughout the event, welcomed the audience and thanked Employer and College principals for their tremendous support this year. The programme would include internationally respected panellists speaking on construction materials; two recently graduated Pendennis Shipyard apprentices; the Minister of State for Transport and finally the “Queen of the J class” and founder of the IYRS in Newport, Rhode Island. The afternoon would conclude by Prime Warden Rear Admiral Sir Jeremy de Halpert KCVO CB and a presentation to the Shipwrights Prize 2016 winner Miss Kate Deveraux.

To start the proceedings Sarah introduced Matt Sheahan, the Head of Performance Sailing Sunset+Vine PLC to chair the Panel Discussion on “Construction Materials”. The panelists outlined their own career experiences then highlighted the strengths of their respective materials looking into how GRP and carbon composite manufacture has revolutionised the leisure marine sector, how relevant and important wood still is when building boats and how steel boats have no idea they are superyachts until they are fit out.

It was a privilege to have the Rt Hon John Hayes MP Minister of State at the Department of Transport address the audience. As a former minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong learning, he highlighted his deep appreciation for apprenticeships and the value of practical learning, commenting: “The passing-on of skill from one generation to the next, [is] proof that learning by doing is just as demanding and praiseworthy as learning from a book. So I am honoured to speak with you today. No one should overlook the importance of your task – of carrying on our country’s tradition of maritime achievement, innovation and leadership.”

This address was followed by a very polished and informative presentation by two recently graduated Pendennis Shipyard apprentices, Molly Ransom and Adam Hall who gave an excellent and amusing account of their experiences and the skills learned during their four year apprenticeship.

It was a honour to have Elizabeth Meyer give the Keynote lecture who had travelled from Boston to adress the apprentices. Her presentation, an  account of her restoration of the J class yachts ‘Endeavour’ (built in 1934) and ‘Shamrock V’ (built in 1930), gripped everyone’s attention.


The afternoon was closed by Prime Warden, Rear Admiral Sir Jeremy de Halpert who thanked all the speakers for their very special addresses and all the time and effort freely given for the benefit of the attending apprentices and students.

Sir Jeremy gave a brief background to the Shipwrights Livery and details of the various charitable activities including the Shipwrights’ Apprenticeship Scheme, promoting by financial support, SME’s wishing to take on apprentices.’ and The Queens Silver Medal Award.

Finally, Sir Jeremy called on Kate Devereaux, to receive this year’s ‘Shipwrights Prize’ in recognition of her achieving the highest overall mark in her third year at the University. Kate now embarks on her fourth (Master’s) year studying Ship Science specialising in Yacht and High Performance craft.

Thanks were given to the organisers, contributors, sponsors; Southampton Marine & Maritime Institute at the University of Southampton & BMT Nigel Gee, employers, apprentices and students for making this another fantastic Shipwrights Lectures.


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