Projects: Starting an artisan fishing business by Simon and Cat Holman
Business and life partners, Simon and Cat Holman, began their artisan fishing business by designing and building Kensa, an unpowered fishing boat. With Kensa complete, and an integral part of the business, we speak to the couple about their venture and the creation of Kensa.
Firstly, tell us about yourselves.
Cat: Simon began his career at Southampton Solent University studying Yacht Manufacture and Surveying. He then went on to teach Boat Design and Production at Falmouth Marine School. He and I decided to start an artisan fishing business together, and as part of this we designed and built an unpowered fishing boat. We named her Kensa. Since the completion of Kensa, Simon works as a fisherman and small craft designer. I studied Spanish and Italian at university and now I’m a freelance writer and translator, alongside fishing work of course.
How did the project come about?
Cat: During a two year voyage on our 28ft gaff cutter, we came up with the idea of starting a small scale artisan fishing business. Simon designed Kensa as a general purpose sail and oar fishing vessel to work in the under 10 metre unpowered fishing category – with no need for licence or registration.
What was the most rewarding part of the project?
Simon: In terms of the build, turning over the completed hull was a real landmark. Seeing our hardwork and determination brought to life with such results was a moment we won’t forget. In terms of the overall project, the launch, our first sail and the first lot of fish we caught are particular highligts.
Cat: It’s realising that not only does Kensa look good, she fufills the requirements we set ourselves at the beginning of this project.
The couple tell use more about their exciting project, the future of Kensa and some top tips on boat building in the follow up to this article.
In Part I, Simon and Cat Holman gave us an insight into the creation of their unpowered fishing boat, Kensa. They’ve joined us again to tell us about their future plans with Kensa and their artisan fishing business which they established together. We also hear about how WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy helped them through the project and the excellent results they’ve achieved.
Which WEST SYSTEM or PRO-SET epoxy products did you use? How did they contribute to the build?
Simon: For the creation of Kensa we used the following WEST SYSTEM products: 105 Epoxy Resin®, 205 Fast Hardener®, 301 Mini Pumps, 405 Filleting Blend, 406 Colloidal Silica, 407 Low Density Filler, peel ply and assorted application products. The system is simple and fool proof, it was ideal for beginners like us.
Cat: Despite some technical knowledge on Simon’s part, this was the first time we’d used these products. We were delighted with the products and the system, we had excellent results and followed a straightforward application process which made the project a little less stressful.
What do you hope to do with the boat in the future? How has your future been changed by the boat?
Cat: Kensa is used regularly for fishing in Gerrans Bay and the Carrick Roads, which are both located in Cornwall. She is integral to our business; we literally couldn’t do it without her.
Finally, what are your top tips for others looking to start a similar project?
Cat: Always wear two pairs of gloves when handling epoxy so you can always take one pair off to do things, like answer the phone, and then easily put another pair on afterwards.
Simon: Keep your workshop tidy and clean, working in clutter is never good. Also, ensure you have everything ready and to hand before you start a job, this makes things quicker and easier.
Cat: And make sure you don’t run out of coffee!
We wish Cat and Simon all the best with their fishing business and their future with Kensa. If you’ve been inspired by their story, click here to find out where you can buy the products to begin your artisan future.
If you’ve been inspired by their story, click here to find out where you can buy the products to begin your artisan future.