All posts by Gavin Atkin

How the Franklin expedition ships were found

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and columnist Paul Watson has taken a close interest in the search for the 1840s Franklin expedition’s two lost ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, and has sailed with the marine archaeologists who have found the ships in recent years. Here he talks on the USA’s National Public Radio service about the experience and what has been learned so far.

Of one of the wrecks he says ‘It’s chilling really to look at it. ‘The ship is almost completely intact. The only thing that’s missing is her three masts, which presumably had been sheared off by moving ice over the years.’

The expedition led by John Franklin was lost while seeking the North West Passage – a route that is now routinely used by shipping, but which in the days long before global warming was more of an idea than a reality.

Subsequent expeditions from Britain and America searched for the missing ships and interviewed Inuit hunters who told an odd tale of a a ghost ship that floated on ice southward, separated from where the two ships had been abandoned, imprisoned in ice.

Photos of cobles under sail from the Bridlington folks

These photos of cobles sailing shared by members of the Bridlington Sailing Coble Preservation Society are a delight. Cobles under sail have been a pretty rare sight for many decades and require particular skills – and I’ve seen only a fairly small number of photographs depicting them taken in the modern era.

Coble enthusiasts are looking forward to the town’s second Sailing Coble Festival on the 1st and 2nd July.

Facebookers might like to know that the society also has a Facebook page that has some very good photos.

Robert Manry and his extraordinary tale of small boat-big ocean survival

Robert Manry’s amazing West-East Atlantic crossing in a heavily overloaded 13ft 6in boat and his subsequent fame was now so long ago, I feel pretty sure even most sailing types have probably forgotten about his remarkable achievement.

So hats off to Steve Wystrach and colleagues for his efforts to produce a crowd-funded film designed to remind the world and to commemorate the event.

Manry was a sub-editor in his working life, so looking at the project website I was tickled to be reminded that the lone sailor had taken a copy of Strunk’s The Elements of Style with him, presumably to keep him on the straight and narrow as he wrote his log. Or was it to keep him company?

I read and was fascinated by Manry’s book a couple of decades ago, after finding a second hand copy in a shop somewhere. If you’re inspired to read it there are various e-book editions available via the Robert Manry Project site.

My thanks to John Simpson for reminding me about this story.