The Female Boat Builders

In January this year,  I wrote an article about my search for female boat builders.  At the time, I was amazed that I could not find a massive amount of information about women who are interested or trained in boat building. Looking at Boat Renovation Peoples’ own demographic I could see that 100% of my readers were male; leading me to believe that perhaps there just aren’t many female boat builders out there!

It’s safe to say that restoring, renovating and building boats seemed at first glance to be a profession and hobby dominated by men. My search for women in the field brought back stories which were few and far between; although I did have the pleasure of speaking to Abbey who also writes about her escapades. It wasn’t until I published my article and it spread across social media that I realised that I was wrong.  In January I began to receive amazing responses from female boat builders all over the world!

One thought provoking response was from a reader named Anne, who is a cruiser as well as a writer for a successful wooden boat publication and forum.  Anne spoke about how her all-female crew is still seen as she put it; “somehow gusty”. She went on to say:

“I figured we were past that by now, and have learned how much extra work, not in skills or capacity but by the estimation of our male peers, we still need to do on the water. The more we’re seen, the more we’re normalised.”

Anne’s point made me think about the all-female sailing team I used to see every weekend whilst I was doing up my Hurley 22 in Brighton. They looked more organised than the majority of people around my mooring.  They looked professional; like they were training for a race or something else of importance. Every time they moored up it changed the atmosphere on the marina from bearded loner land to something a lot more sociable and fun. Although I’m sure there are also bearded loner women, it made me happy not to be working in a male-only club and I now realise the importance of keeping things balanced!

Below is just a few examples of the boat builders, renovators and restorers that  got in touch;

CHRISTINE FUSS

Boat Renovator, Restorer 
Location: Canada, Hamilton, Ontario  

Christina has been restoring and repairing boats since 1985. She began work at a small boat shop based in Toronto. Although Christina had no official training she now owns her own boat repair business ‘Hole In the Water Boat Repairs and Restoration’. Her work (seen below) on fibreglass composite boats is stunning and shows that she is not afraid to get stuck into the structural as well as aesthetic aspects of fibreglass.

INKA PETERSEN

Boat Builder, Repairer and Interior Modeller
Location: USA, California

Trained as a cabinet maker and with a full apprenticeship from a German Shipyard, Inka has been working on boats since 2003. Inka has taught boat building to youth groups as well as building boat replicas for a maritime museum. Inka is now fully qualified and works at a boatyard based in Sausalito, California.

JEN BOYLE

Apprentice Boatwright
Location: USA, California 

Jen is currently helping restore a Cal-40 sailing yacht and has been working at Berkeley Marine Center in California for the past 8 months. Jen is also a part-time blogger at Tight Little Tribe: you can hear all about her adventures and escapades on her blog.

Visit The Tight Little Tribe Blog >>

MICHAELLE PETERS

Self-taught Boat Renovator And Artist
Location: USA, Park City, Utah

Michaelle is a keen sailor and artist in the process of restoring a 1975 Islander 32′ yacht and is madly in love with all the agony of restoring her!  Self-taught,  Michaelle is now planning the last of the interior restoration.

Check out Michaelle’s artwork here >>

AMY STRINGFELLOW

Joiner And Shipwright
Location: United Kingdom, Cornwall

Amy is a shipwright living in Cornwall currently restoring a 28ft Falmouth quay punt as a commission. Amy studied yacht fitting-out and composites at Falmouth Marine School before working as a joiner and shipwright for the yacht manufacturer Rustler Yachts.

 

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5 thoughts on “The Female Boat Builders”

  1. I’ve a small, but significant number of women among my plans customers, busy building themselves boats.
    They’re an interesting bunch who have widely varied backgrounds, and they bring a lot to “the scene”.
    I’d encourage any woman who wants to build her own boat to get stuck in and do it, learn the skills along the way and enjoy the adventures when the boats in and sailing.

    John Welsford

    1. Hey Dave- thank you for your comment – glad to hear you’ve got some good feedback. I agree Christine’s work looks amazing from what I’ve seen!

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