New and Neglected Nautical Writing

Essex girl through and through

I first met her in Tolles­bury and imme­di­ately fell for her. She was an ­Essex girl through and through but not like all the oth­ers, although she was shal­low. As far as I could see then there were only two prob­lems. There was a big age difference—fifty-five…

Too fast for accurate navigation

The year was 1955 and H W Tilman was under­tak­ing his first ‘sail to climb’ exped­i­tion, aim­ing to cross the Patago­ni­an ice-cap in both directions—starting from the ‘other side’. This would neces­sit­ate a trans­it of the Magel­lan Strait; as Sir Robin Knox-John­ston puts it…

In all weathers by a crew of two

Tom Cun­liffe writes:For fifty glor­i­ous years from the time of the 1861 Pilot­age Act until the Great War nailed down the coffin lid on com­mer­cial sail, the Bris­tol Chan­nel was a free-for-all for com­pet­it­ive pilot­ing. This great fun­nel of tide-swept water stood wide…

Like a box of jewels

Someone, some­where wrote that George Mil­lar was incap­able of writ­ing a dull sen­tence, and never was that more true than in his three books of sail­ing mem­oirs. Oyster River, set in the Mor­bi­han in Brit­tany, and Isa­bel and the Sea, relat­ing a voy­age through the French…

Hole Haven

Des­pite its unpre­pos­sess­ing name Hole Haven, the creek to the west side of Can­vey Island on the lower Thames, is a wel­come bolt-hole for those bound up- or down­river need­ing to get some rest or wait out a tide. It has ful­filled this ser­vice since at least the 1890s…

Cruising in Denmark

George Holmes’s illus­trated and often hand-writ­ten cruise accounts fre­quently appeared in the pages of the Hum­ber Yawl Club Year­book, and later in The Yacht­ing Monthly. Here is a cruise he made in Den­mark in 1894, and writ­ten up a few years later. He and his companion…

The shipping news

Reg­u­lars here will notice that we have at last imple­men­ted a deliv­ery cost cal­cu­lat­or which is more equit­able for the cus­tom­er — and for ourselves. Deliv­ery is now charged accord­ing to total order weight rather than our old flat rate per book, which…

read more

A sudden loss

Had we been more dili­gent with this blog you would know that in the autumn of 2019 Mar­tin O’S­can­nall, author of For the Love of Saunt­ress, and his part­ner Luis, had depar­ted their home in Galicia, the wet & windy north-west corner of Spain, to cross…

read more

Sailing by the stars: David Lewis

Ben Low­ings, author of our David Lewis bio­graphy The Dol­phin, joined Lewis’s son, accom­plished sail­or Barry Lewis, and Dr Christina Thompson – Edit­or of Har­vard Review and writer on Poly­ne­sian sea­far­ing – in a recent BBC World Ser­vice Forum programme,…

read more

More stor­ies »

More news »

Words written on water

Our first book had sold out a few years before, and we had the feel­ing it was time for a new edi­tion in our now-stand­ard robust soft­cov­er format, and that there remained an unplumbed audi­ence among people who, though per­haps not habitu­al read­ers of sail­ing books,…

My last cruise in ‘Cherub II

Albert Strange had a gift for what might be styled ‘com­pan­ion­able writ­ing;’ the abil­ity to take the read­er with him, in ima­gin­a­tion, on his voy­aging remin­is­cences. One of these exper­i­ences is related here, a cruise in the Cher­ub II, “My most beloved boat” as Strange…

Cruising in Denmark

George Holmes’s illus­trated and often hand-writ­ten cruise accounts fre­quently appeared in the pages of the Hum­ber Yawl Club Year­book, and later in The Yacht­ing Monthly. Here is a cruise he made in Den­mark in 1894, and writ­ten up a few years later. He and his companion…

That unique engagement

For most of my life my sail­ing was of the arm­chair kind, and in the mid-1970s much of it was in the delight­ful com­pany of Ken Duxbury, a writer whose light touch belies the skill and resource­ful­ness which under­pinned the voy­ages made by him and his wife B. in their…