Tag Archives: Claudia Myatt

How to live afloat in winter, by Claudia Myatt

river-girl

Life on board in winter. The birds keep you company…

‘Summer afloat is a glorious, expansive picnic. The entire river is my living space, into which friends ebb and flow with boats, music and wine. Earning a living still means long hours indoors of course, but apart from that there are light evenings, maintenance sessions on the boat, voyages to plan, dinghies to play around with, all sorts of shippy business going on. Above all else in the summer, there is light – abundant, endless, late and early, helpful daylight.

Winters are a different matter altogether…

How often have you thought of living afloat? No doubt, like me, it was the thought of winter that put you off the idea – the cold, the condensation, the lack of shelter, the likely lack of near neighbours the fear of falling off the gangplank, and anxiety about emergencies with mooring lines on a cold and stormy night are all enough to worry a person.

So I was intrigued to read renowned maritime illustrator Claudia Myatt’s observations and advice on the subject. A lot of it seems to centre around keeping your firewood and your feet dry, and always having a torch. But she also argues for making the most of the situation rather than waiting for conditions to become perfect – which will often seem pretty remote in the depths of a wet, cold,  windy and darki winter.

 

Advertisements

The latest issue of the wonderful The Marine Quarterly and two books: Mike Smylie’s Traditional Fishing Boats of Europe and an account of cruising in canoes in the 19th Century

flyer-big

Novelist Sam Llewellyn’s other project, the unfailingly beautifully edited The Marine Quarterly,  continues to impress, and I’m enjoying the new edition as much as I have each of the previous nine editions. I say it’s essential reading, and that a full set – if one could keep them together – would be an asset when waiting for the tide.

This issue includes an illuminating history of pilots and piloting by Tom Cunliffe, Ken Duxbury’s account of visiting his first Greek island aboard his Drascombe Lugger Lugworm,   and an introduction to the story of pier-head painting by artist and illustrator Claudia Myatt.

In fact, if anything it gives me even greater pleasure because it includes a piece from Ben Crawshaw. Ben, as regular readers may remember, built one of my small boat designs, the Light Trow, and his book Catalan Castaway recounts his remarkable adventures. (See the ad at the top right of this weblog.)

Mike Smylie Traditional Fishing Boats of Europe

I’m also just beginning to read Mike Smylie’s latest book, Traditional Fishing Boats of Europe, which aims to tell the story of how the various types of fishing boats evolved over hundreds of years in line with the catches they were built to chase, the seas and climates in which they must work, and of course the cultural influences involved.

It’s a complicated story and clearly an important project, and I’ll be fascinated to find out just how he can cram all of that information between two covers! No doubt he can, though, because he’s done this kind of thing before and knows what he’s doing…

Those Magnificent Men in Their Roy-Roy Canoes

Jim Parnell’s Those Magnificent Men in Their Roy-Roy Canoes is clearly a must for  anyone interested in the remarkable story of sailing in these little boats.

It’s really a historical record of the adventures of the three New Zealand canoeing Park brothers, George, William  and James, who were active in the late 19th and early 20th Century, and includes material from their logs and from newspaper cuttings, and is written very much in the quite formal, slightly detached style of that era.

Still, the adventures they describe are quite something, and include crossing South Island (including a long portage, naturally) and crossing Cook Strait on a night with no moon. I needn’t mention how dangerous the Southern Ocean can be – but the Parks, particularly George Park, seem to have been indomitable.

National Historic Ships Photo Competition 2013 opens on 1 April

National Historic Ships photo competition

National Historic Ships has fired the starting gun on its fourth photo competition aimed at photographers of all ages and dedicated to encouraging everyone to engage with historic vessels or maritime themes in their local area – but the organisers are particularly keen to interest the young.

There are prizes, including an overall prize of £1,000 to be awarded on a theme or activity involving a vessel from the National Register of Historic Vessels – good themes might include, restoration and repair, sailing, racing, coming into a mooring, or generally working around or enjoying the vessel.

Competition entries will be accepted online from 1 April to 31 August 2013.

For the first time, the competition this year includes a new category, ‘Faces of the sea’ in which the public will vote online.

Entrants also stand to win a small prize if their image is selected as one of a series of favourite images.

The competition’s ‘Young photographer’ category is supported by downloads aimed at younger children, including a whale-based wordsearch and a printable colouring page featuring classic sailing craft, both provided by the well known illustrator Claudia Myatt, who is also a competition sponsor. (See an earlier post about Claudia’s tips for drawing boats here.)

Schools and teachers are invited to get involved with the aim of inspiring children and families to find out more about maritime history. Posters for schools can be obtained from National Historic Ships via email at info@nationalhisotircships.org.uk or by phone 020 8312 8558.