Mashfords Yard

Also known as “The Cremyll Shipyard”, Mashfords is located on the Cornish side of the Tamar Estuary in a natural cove at the extreme north western tip of the Cremyll Peninsula.

The yard has 6 slipways that can accommodate up to 300 tonnes, with 6,000m2 of workshop, covered work area, storage and office space, 3 stone jetties, 7 deep water moorings, and a house and 2 cottages.

There is a separate workshop located to the rear of the yard which all Mashfords Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) activities are managed.

Mashfords key product or service is its ability to repair, refit and maintain vessels. The management team has over 30 years experience in engineering, ship repair and maintenance.

The boatyard has a full compliment of highly qualified and fully trained shipwrights, boat builders, engineers, glass reinforced plastic specialists, specialist painters, welders, riggers and apprentices. Very few yards can offer these traditional shipwright skills on steel, GRP and wooden vessels.

The history

Boat building was well established at Cremyll by 1774 when a lease of Frank’s quarry was advertised after the death of James Hennah, shipwright.  From 1779 – 1812 the yard was run by John Parkin, amongst the 28 vessels built by him were several revenue (customs) cutters, armed privateer boats and smuggling vessels. Parkin built new quays, a smithy, storehouses and workshops and an elegant three storey dwelling house, four labourers cottages and a count house all within the shelter of the quarry walls. Since then the Banks family took the yard in 1823 -1852. They built at least 49 vessels many of them schooners for the fruit trade to the Azores and the Mediterranean. More boat building and ownership kept the Cremyll yard busy until the Mashford family first leased it in 1930. This became soon a developing wooden boatbuilding yard of significant reputation for both quality and design. During the Second World War some of their work was building small boats for RAF Mount Batten.  The Mashfords brothers were also keen sailors. In the early 30s they were producing 18’ keelboats for day sail use. All seven brothers used to go on the water, just opposite the yard, racing each others on a Sunday.  Boats designed and built at Mashfords include a series of 27ft double-end sailing sloops, the most famous of all being the “Felicity Anne” in which Ann Davison completed the first woman single-handed trans-atlantic crossing in 1951-52. The boatyard has produced several one-design ocean going sailing boats around 50-55ft LOA such as “Lone Star” and “Nanise”  beautiful, sturdy vessels still sailing internationally today.

Cremyll Sea School

A branch of the charity EISCA (Eyemouth International Sailing Craft Association), Cremyll Sea School is operated by Dominic and Barbara Bridgman and was formed in 2010. Cremyll Sea School is an ever-evolving organisation dedicated to transmit practical conservation techniques and seamanship skills to the wider public and especially young people. Each project run by Cremyll Sea School has a youth training scheme attached to it which is personally suited to the trainee’s vocational talent. The Huff of Arklow restoration project has helped developing boat building skills for several young people in partnership with Falmouth Marine School and the support of the Mashfords management team. Since it started in 2012, two apprentices have achieved their NVQ level 2 in traditional boatbuilding techniques and 7 volunteers under 20 years of age have dedicated their time helping on the practical conservation aspect of the projects. These volunteers have gained knowledge and useful references which are helping them to determine their future careers within the marine industry. 

Parallel to the Huff of Arklow project is the 22 square metre keelboats conservation scheme. Cremyll Sea School maintains and operate commercially four 22 square metres, a classic design from one of the most successful international construction rules, the Scandinavian Square Metre Rule. These elegant and fast-moving boats are traditionally built although above deck the rule allows for modern equipment and material.  A schedule of maintenance from December to April assures that the 22s are rotated in and out of the yard. Trainees here learn about finishing and cosmetic work as well as replacing and fixing equipment and shipwrighting tasks such as warping boats, stepping masts and rigging skills.  A youth sailing scheme runs alongside the keelboats and offers trainees the opportunity to learnt to sail or better their sailing skills by further training up the RYA National Keelboat levels. Cremyll Sea School is an RYA training centre also for theory courses from Essential Navigation and Seamanship up to Yachtmaster offshore preparation. Theory courses are run each winter in the Mashfords modern classroom from December to April on a slow-track basis to allow trainees to assimilate each part of the syllabus in their own time and with plenty of revision. The launch of Huff of Arklow on 24th August 2014 will allow Cremyll Sea School to teach the RYA practical cruising scheme again. Huff will return to be a platform from where to train the skippers of the future. New projects in partnership with Mashfords boatyard and Falmouth Marine School will continue the legacy of the Huff of Arklow restoration project and help carry our maritime heritage and its skills into the future.

NEWS: Update on the 22s, July 2015

Efforts to re-commission the Huff of Arklow led to the team at Cremyll Sea School having to delay the 22 square metres refit, but work is now well underway at Mashfords.  Three 22s are currently receiving the most accurate care from the competent hands of expert craftsmen and finishers at the boatyard.  The keelboats will sail again from September 2015 onwards. Cremyll Sea School is now inviting 22s sailors to come and enjoy them in the Autumn for a series of week-end racing.

Please contact the Cremyll Sea School office to reserve your boat.

Source: Cremyll Keelboats Summer Newsletter, 2015

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