The Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth recently hosted a talented group of South Devon Marine Academy (SDMA) students to present their impressive work as part of the ongoing Mayflower 400 project.

Due for completion by 2020, the Mayflower 400 project has provided SDMA students with a great challenge to produce the half-hull of a three metre scale replica model of the Mayflower ship. To mark the 400th anniversary of the original Mayflower ship departing from Dartmouth, the model vessel is to be on display during the celebrations for the future event, before finding its permanent home at the nearby Dartmouth Museum.

Over the last few months, a dedicated team of SDMA Level 2 and 3 Boat Building apprentices have been working hard to construct the model, with only historical pictures and designs of the famous vessel available to hand as guidance.

To start making the formers of the boats hull, students first sketched and created their full size templates on ply wood before laminating into measured oak strips. The students then began to create the skeleton frame of the model, also producing the stern post, keel and laminating the vessels stem.

Joining the apprentices, a selection of the FdSc Marine Technologies students from University Centre South Devon helped in the production of the CAD drawings, with the Mayflower 400 project forming parts of the students final assessments in their ‘Producing External Boat Components’ degree unit.

South Devon College Boat Building Apprentice Ben Fowler (18 from Brixham) said, “The project has been a great experience for us all, we have learnt lots of practical skills. It’s a chance to get on the tools and work together on something we hope to be shown in the museum for years to come. The staff have been brilliant, they really helped us when we had a few challenges such as drawing the initial sketches”.

Fellow Boat Building Apprentice James Yalland (18 from Dartmouth) adds, “It’s been brilliant to get involved with everyone on this project. We’ve worked hard alongside the team at the workshop in Dartmouth, sharing ideas and shaping the parts. I can’t wait to see the finished piece”.

Planned for 2020, the Mayflower 400 commemoration will be of enormous significance both nationally and internationally with Dartmouth playing a central role in the history of the original vessel. Famously, Dartmouth was a point of departure for the Pilgrims who set sail on the Mayflower and Speedwell in 1620 to start a colony in the ‘New World’, with 2020 marking the 400th year anniversary of the initial depart.

Steeped in history, it’s estimated over 25 million Americans today can trace their ancestry directly to descendants of the Mayflower. Dartmouth is ready in anticipation for the final reveal in 2020 with many tourists from around the world expected to visit and witness the student’s great work.

To find out more about wide variety of courses the College offers from apprenticeships to full-time courses or university degrees, visit our next Open Evening on Thursday 24th January 2019, 4pm-7pm at the Vantage Point Campus, Long Road, Paignton, TQ4 7EJ. Alternatively, you can call our Helpzone team on 08000 380 123 or email enquiries@southdevon.ac.uk