PRESS RELEASE – Shipwright Lectures 2014

Gerry Hughes; the inspirational profoundly deaf, round-the-world sailor to speak at the Shipwrights Lectures 2014


Gerry Hughes; the world’s first deaf yachtsman to sail single handed round the world

A University professor, composites yacht builder, inspirational single-handed deaf yachtsman, joiner shipwright and panel of experts chaired by an experienced journalist are among the eclectic line-up of personalities who will be presenting at the 2014 Shipwrights Lectures.  The lecture series, now in its fourth year, promises to be a riveting occasion for marine apprentices, young shipwrights and students. The event takes place on Wednesday 15th October 2014 at the Turner Sims, University of Southampton at 14.30.

The year’s lectures will be opened by Professor Ajit R Shenoi, FIMechE, FRINA, The Lloyds Register/Royal Academy of Engineering Research Professor in Lightweight Structures and the first Director of the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute. Professor Shenoi has been a lecturer at the University of Southampton since 1981 and is a specialist in lightweight composites and ship science design. This will be followed by a panel discussion entitled, ‘Marine Electronics – ‘Past, Present and the Future’ chaired by the well-known yachting journalist and broadcaster, Matt Sheahan, Technical Editor of Yachting World. The discussion will focus on electronics, electrics and related power management requirements on yachts, both sail and power; a particularly relevant topic for all marine apprentices.

Oyster Yachts Joiner Shipwright, Alice le Good will talk about her apprenticeship and subsequent experiences at the world-class yacht builder Oyster Yachts and will be followed by Richard Acland, CEO of Green Marine who will give his perspective on the latest developments in state-of-the-art composites and super-fast racing yachts.

To bring the event to a close we are delighted to announce that the award-winning Gerry Hughes, the first profoundly deaf person to sail single-handed around the world will talk about his inspirational voyage. Gerry received the RYA Sailability Personal Endeavour Award for his 32,000 mile circumnavigation via the Five Great Capes in Quest III, his Beneteau 42s7.

The aim of the Shipwrights Lectures is to inform, inspire and show apprentices and students how careers in the immensely wide-ranging marine industry can develop from learning skills in engineering, laminating, wiring, joinery and outfitting to design, naval architecture and management. Attendance is free for apprentices nominated by their employers and young people under the age of 25 who are studying in the marine sector. Each apprentice receives a certificate of attendance.

Michael Derrick, Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights commented, “Once again we have a truly inspirational and immensely experienced and interesting range of speakers at this year’s Shipwrights Lectures; it promises to be another memorable afternoon which we hope will inspire and enthuse the three hundred or so marine apprentices, shipwrights and graduates who attend.”

The UK hosts an internationally recognised leisure marine industry of some 35,000 employees with 1,400 companies generating £3 billion pa of which some 30% is export. Positive economic news in the UK has seen a growing order book after the difficulties of the past 5 years. Orders are picking up at all levels. The annual Shipwrights’ Lectures provide a unique opportunity for young people in training to hear speakers who are internationally recognised in their fields.

The event, sponsored by the BMT Group, which is organised by the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights, in conjunction with the University of Southampton, last year attracted apprentices from a host of well-known British boatbuilders and training establishments including Princess, Sunseeker, Pendennis, Fairline, Discovery Yachts, Oyster Yachts, Berthon, Lyme Regis Boat Building Academy and Rustler Yachts.  UK universities, colleges and industry bodies including the British Marine Federation will again be supporting the 2014 lectures.

Notes                                                                                                                                                                                    September 2014

The Worshipful Company of Shipwrights was formed in 1387 as a Trade Guild to safeguard the quality of shipbuilding in London. Many of its current members work and employ young people in the marine leisure sector today. The Shipwrights have a long standing commitment to support education and charity in the maritime sector, with initiatives such as their annual Queen’s Silver Medal Award for marine apprentices. This closely fought competition takes 20 finalists on a five day outward bound course at Kielder each year, choosing winners from those who have demonstrated excellence in their written submissions, and allows many more to benefit from the charitable work of the Shipwrights.

For media enquiries please contact Sarah Johnson, 01243 370847; For other enquiries please contact Michael Derrick

For more information and to register your attendance please visit: