Luke Powell’s Working Sail is back!

The success of Christian Topf’s epic production From the Loft Floor to the Sea shows that interest in traditional wooden boatbuilding, and the pilot cutter as an exemplar of it, is unabated. We’ve now reissued Luke’s 2012 account of his life in wooden boats – covering the entire bevy of his earlier pilot cutters.

You can learn more and secure a copy here.

Truly, a place apart

It’s not just about the boats, but their presence is strong in the North Yorkshire fishing village of Staithes. We had a lovely weekend in November accompanying author Gloria Wilson – who was brought up here – to local signing sessions. Local historian James Stoker gave us a grand walking tour of this hardy, self-reliant, eccentric, and now much changed settlement, for which the term ‘higgledy-piggledy’ might have been invented.

Let Gloria guide you too on a stroll around the village she loves; start here.

How it all began

George Holmes was an influential figure in the design and sailing of small boats from the late nineteenth century until well into the twentieth. His prolific writings, drawings, etchings, and designs had never been collected when, in 2009, my friend Tony Watts of the Humber Yawl Club agreed to take on this task, and incorporate a biography of Holmes. The success of Holmes of the Humber, our first book, got Lodestar Books off the ground.

Holmes is finally out of print, but you can now enjoy a copy in PDF form – click here.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Handy with a toolbox

Handy with a toolbox

Martin O'Scannall has enjoyed a love affair of more than forty years with his 1913 gaff cutter Sauntress, beginning with her rebuild and culminating in the glories pictured here. Below is his account of her sojourn in a boatyard at Brentford on the Thames in west...

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Tangaroa

Tangaroa

By March of 1954 we had enough money for me to stop working and begin building in the farm loft. I cleared the chicken shit out, blocked up the gaps in the walls and levelled the floor. Building a small boat alone is like an exercise in meditation; throughout the...

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Like a box of jewels

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...

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Ghost ship of Grytviken

Ghost ship of Grytviken

The Albert Strange Association (bear with me), in which I am heavily implicated, held its Annual General Meeting in Lincoln a few years ago, and our very engaging guest speaker was Dr Robb Robinson, a maritime historian at the University of Hull. His subject was...

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The Yorkshire Coble

The Yorkshire Coble

Perhaps the most curious craft which is found in use by the fishermen round the coasts of Britain is the Yorkshire coble [writes George Holmes in 1912]. Along with the Sheringham boat—referred to and described in a former number—this type is used for crabbing by the...

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