Home Events Second Tuesday Talks Gail McGarva – From Tree to Sea

Gail McGarva – From Tree to Sea


Date: Tuesday December 12 2023

Time: 19:00-20:15 (GMT)

Location: Online (Zoom)

Image © Gail McGarva


Gail McGarva is a traditional wooden boat builder who is passionate about taking the wood on a journey from ‘tree to sea’. Her talk will be a celebration of the beautiful interweaving of form and function in traditional working boats. She will share the stories of endangered motherboats and the preserving of their lines in the building of her ‘daughter boats’, breathing life into a new generation of the craft.

About the Speaker

Having spent many years residing on boats in Bristol docks and along the River Avon while working as a British Sign Language interpreter,  Gail felt a profound calling in 2003 to make boats the focal point of her life. The journey led her to the Boat Building Academy in Lyme Regis, Dorset, where entering the workshop felt like a homecoming.

Trained at The Boat Building Academy in 2004-2005, Gail crafted her first boat as a daughterboat to the oldest surviving Shetland boat of 1882, guided by mentor Willie Mouat from the Shetland Isles. The daughterboat, named Georgie McDonald, was launched from Unst, the northernmost isle of Britain, echoing the historic launch of its motherboat in 1882.

Since that inaugural project, Gail has continued to build several other daughterboats, each with its own captivating narrative. Drawn to the allure of traditional wooden boats and their skeletal, sculptural forms, Gail is deeply passionate about involving the community in the boat-building process. Through this, she aims to cultivate a sense of belonging to the boats and foster a profound connection to the sea.



12 December 2024


7:00 pm - 8:15 pm


Online (Zoom)

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