NICK SMITH specialises in beautiful classic clinker built boats, launches, pulling dinghies and sailing boats.
Aged 14: Nick was in charge of the hire fleet at Edgar Cove Ltd Salcombe, all clinker in those days and not an outboard in sight, (well apart from an odd oily Seagull) and that’s where his love of boats and being on the water started.
At 16: Nick left school and started a 4 year traditional apprenticeship at the same yard.
When Nick came out of his time he left to further his experience of life and of boatbuilding, as his boss Edward Cove said ‘ its only when you have done your time do you begin to start learning ‘ and ‘you will learn something every day for the rest of your life’. ‘He was right’ Nick says.
Nick Smiths’ boats are of course mostly influenced by west country design, mostly pre 1950 and using predominantly the original materials methods and scantlings, ‘the old boys were right for generations so why change it ?’ but also Nick does embrace some new technologies and materials, polysulphide sealant/ adhesive and epoxy resin for example, after all ‘if they had it then they would have used it !, although I do avoid plywood’. If Nick needs it for a bulkhead for example he makes it himself from 2 layers of solid timber.
Since the age of 20, Nick says, he hasn’t met anyone younger than him who went through the old style 4 year apprenticeship, ‘so it seems a waste not to use that training and subsequent experience, apart from the fact I just love the work’.
‘I build on my own ,anything from 8 foot to 28 foot, I prefer clinker as its quick to build , light and very strong, and of course if I’ve made a good job of it looks beautiful, a joy forever!’.