Ordinary men stretched to the limit at sea

J. P. W. 'Curly' Mallalieu's raw and gripping novelisation of his own wartime experience—from basic training to action and danger in a convoy to Arctic Russia, sold tens of thousands of copies within months of publication in 1944. Everything recounted here actually happened to him or one of his shipmates, and Very Ordinary Seaman, out of print for many years, remains the finest account of naval life below decks in World War II. Read more.

Functional beauty in timber

Forthright and Steadfast were two of many wooden fishing boats created by the Peterhead firm of Richard Irvin & Sons from the 1950s to the 1970s, and their names characterise the entire output of the yard. In Forthright & Steadfast artist, photographer and fishing industry journalist Gloria Wilson gives us her appreciation, in words and some one hundred photos and drawings, of the boats themselves and some of the individuals who designed, built and operated them. Read more.

The story of a much-loved book and its Good Little Ship

Good Little Ship is a blend of literary criticism, maritime history and sheer celebration. Author and journalist Peter Willis analyses a classic of maritime literature – Arthur Ransome’s We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea – and recounts the story of the Nancy Blackett, Ransome’s own boat which appears as the Goblin in his story and continues to give pleasure to many young sailors. Read more

Deservedly back in print...

...is this charming and evocative book by Surgeon Rear Admiral John Muir on his times afloat betwixt and between his Royal Navy service. Here are first-hand accounts of work afloat before the Great War—in the North Sea fishery, and aboard a working Pilot Cutter. Read more...

To the ends of the earth

Half a century ago a band of young men set out to climb, for the first time, one of the world’s most inaccessible mountains, deep in the Southern Ocean. Just getting there would be a challenge in itself, and this is where the redoubtable sailor and navigator H W ‘Bill’ Tilman came in. Read more...

The ideal small sailing cruiser?

Rick Powell thinks so, and in The Canoe Yawl he describes and illustrates its Victorian origins, why we should consider it for estuary and coastal cruising, some of the personalities associated with it, some notable surviving examples, and a twenty-first century approach to building one. Read more...

Holmes is back...

...Yes the book which started this enterprise back in 2009—the complete George Holmes. And for this edition we're delighted that the Yorkshire poet, writer and broadcaster Ian McMillan, the 'Bard of Barnsley' with a soft spot for Humberside, has contributed a Foreword. Read more...

‘Affordable English Classics’

Thomas Harrison Butler designed small to medium sized family yachts of a classical beauty, and their owners today are an enthusiastic and far-flung family themselves. Here is a long-awaited and redesigned Fifth Edition of HB's book on design and fitting out, including a new colour gallery of HB yachts. Read more...

'No pay, no prospects, not much pleasure'

So, he claimed (perhaps in jest), wrote H. W. Tilman in a crew recruitment advertisement in The Times circa 1960. We however offer you the prospect of considerable pleasure (but still no pay) in reading a new Collected Edition of every one of Tilman’s 15 books, and his biography. Read more...

'Comely and exemplary...'

Is how artist Gloria Wilson describes the fishing boat Delightful which adorns the cover of her new book; it might apply to all 48 crystal-clear line drawings distilled from her lifetime association with Britain's fishing industry. A fine record of a distinctive regional maritime tradition. Read more...

'Incapable of writing a dull sentence...'

George Millar trained as an architect, worked as a journalist, and in the Second World War became a soldier much-decorated by both France and the United Kingdom; all this experience is brought to bear in this long-unavailable account of a cruise around post-war France and Iberia. Read more...

Albert Strange

Albert Strange leaves us agape at his assured grasp of the fields of painting, writing, sailing and of course the yacht design for which he is perhaps best remembered today. We're delighted to bring you our new, revised edition of this book by John Leather and The Albert Strange Association. Read more.

‘Catalan Castaway’ gets a wonderful review…

… from two writers who really know what they’re talking about. Both Keith Muscott and Paul Constantine put pen to paper for the latest issue of Dinghy Cruising, the quarterly journal of the Dinghy Cruising Association, and we thank them profusely for their... read more

The Falmouth Raid

Well, we got to the Raid, via the End of the Road Festival, where Teal rested in a field for a few days! Our thanks to Keith and Marion Mosley in my ‘ex’, Bunny, for this snap of us, in which the sail was hoisted not quite high enough for good visibility... read more

Strangers in the bight*

* [Sorry!] A large (and often only slightly receding) bay. Some readers will know that I am heavily implicated in The Albert Strange Association, a body which celebrates the life and work of that artist, writer and yacht designer. There are not that many Strange boats... read more

We’re all over CB like a rash!

Last year Classic Boat magazine’s Editor, Dan Houston, called to ask if I’d mind the magazine running some material from our encyclopaedic Cruising Hints by Francis B. Cooke. Well of course not! I sent over the book and thought no more about it until the... read more

Introducing TEAL

After being the keeper of a number of classic wooden craft from 13ft to 33, I have come full-circle and returned to ‘sail & oar’ as the best fit for my current rather busy circumstances. TEAL is a superb build by Fabian Bush of Rowhedge in Essex (and... read more

I love the smell of printer’s ink in the morning!

Apologies for the length of this our inaugural blog post—it will not be typical! The five-year experiment that has been Lodestar Books has reached a watershed lately, with the adoption of a new look and feel for most of our output. By moving from short-run digital... read more

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