Gail McGarva
Traditional Wooden Boatbuilding
Wood Work
Spring | 2009

Gail McGarva is a traditional wooden boat builder based in Lyme Regis in Dorset. Her specialist area is the building of replicas or as Gail prefers to call them 'daughter boats', breathing life into a new generation of traditional craft.

The QEST scholarship in 2009 enabled Gail to build a daughter boat to an historic Dorset fishing vessel the 'Lerret' that was in danger of extinction, preserving the lineage of this craft and the art of boat building 'by eye' .

Since the QEST scholarship, Gail has continued building daughter boats to other traditional working boats of Britain, passionate in her endeavours to the preserve the lineage of these vessels. She believes all boats have their own unique story to tell about their communities and their shores. 

Gail is currently planning a new project that will preserve the maritime memories of the people who have worked our shores. This project 'The Story Boat'  will give a new lease of life on land to the retired Lerret mother boat, by up-turning her and transforming her into an intimate mobile maritime oral history ' museum' where people's memories will be preserved and shared. This year in the Queen's Birthday Honours List, Gail was awarded a British Empire Medal for her services to traditional clinker boat building and to heritage crafts. Gail would like to thank the Heritage Crafts Association who nominated her for the medal, for their dedicated work in shining a light on the traditional crafts of Britain.


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