Tag Archives: cruising

Two new volumes from Lodestar Books – just in time for Christmas!

Lodestar Books Conor O'Brien Lodestar books Ernest Dade

++++ Check the bargain at the bottom of this post! ++++

East Coast cruising sailor Richard Wynne’s wonderful Lodestar Books has two smashing books coming out in the first week of December – just in time for Christmas!

Both titles are published at £12, including UK delivery—slightly more to other countries.

Sea-Boats, Oars and Sails is Conor O’Brien’s guide to sail-and-oar cruising. The new new edition is illustrated with South-West Ireland cruising sailor Tim Cooke’s photos of his small lugger An Suire (The Sea-Nymph).

An Suire is built to François Vivier’s Ilur design, which is said to epitomise the characteristics recommended by O’Brien.

Popular author, Marine Quarterly editor and Conor O’Brien enthusiast Sam Llewellyn has chipped in with a splendid foreword. However, I’d like to quote Conor O’Brien’s own description of his book:

‘Most of what is written about boats is naturally based on the orthodox view, and the man who wants a boat neither for class racing nor as a harbour ornament, but to go to sea in, gets little guidance from it. This book of mine is frankly unorthodox, in that I hold nothing sacred and take nothing for granted.’

Sail and Oar presents 100 historically and technically accurate drawings of the Yorkshire sea fishery in the late nineteenth century by the artist Ernest Dade.

Dade was a sailor and worked out of doors most of the time, so his drawings from the era before steam are both immediate and authoritative.

The book comes with a preface by author Peter F Anson and foreword by fisherman Frank Wheeler. Writing in the 1930s, Anson has this to say:

‘No maritime library will be complete without a copy of this volume on its shelves, for the Yorkshire fishing coble and the Yorkshire smack of the past century were among the finest examples of English sea-going craft ever devised, and none more fitted for the rugged coast to which they belonged or for the stormy seas on which they used to sail.’

While in the same decade Wheeler makes the following remarks:

‘Not only do the sketches portray the boats and their gear accurately and in great detail, but they also show the fishermen at their work both offshore and inshore from most of the fishing centres of the Yorkshire coast. The facility of Dade’s pen work can only be admired and most certainly enjoyed.

‘These pictures show all this and are true in every way. Mr. Ernest Dade lived the life, knew the men, and sailed in the various craft he draws so well. It is a record of things passed away.

PS – Those looking for a pre-Christmas bargain might like to snap up a copy of Francis B Cooke’s Cruising Hints, which is now available at a good discount from Lodestar – for customers in the UK the hardback is down from £35 to £20 and the paperback from £20 to £12, for other countries the price is a little higher to take account of mailing costs.

 

Bill Serjeant visits Oare Creek and Faversham

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I see from Bill’s Log that small boat cruiser and gentleman of the waves Bill Serjeant is spending a little time at Oare Creek and visiting Faversham, where he seems to be enjoying himself. Here’s his description of Oare Creek:

‘I alighted at the head of Oare Creek and ambled along the footpath where late Spring blossoms scented the air. I deeply breathed in and savoured the beauty of the countryside…

‘I was saddened to see so many forsaken yachts no longer cherished by their owners… but in between, snuggled into the mud awaiting the return of the tide there were the most glorious of sailing vessels, Thames barges and classic yachts of all kinds.’

He’s sailing a West Wight Potter these days – for many years he has taken a particular pleasure in changing boats regularly, often building the smaller ones himself. He has travelled over from Burnham and Leigh, hopes to make Ramsgate tomorrow before the wind rises later in the day. Great good luck Bill!

Francis B Cooke’s writing republished in blockbuster manual of traditional yachting

Cruising Hints FB Cooke 450 pixels

Francis B Cooke was one of the great yachting writers of the 20th century and more – a long-lived man, he was first published in 1883 and was still writing in the early 1970s, by which time he was in his early 100s .

He has been one of my favourite authors for many years, and so I’m delighted that Lodestar Books led by Dick Wynne have brought out a compendium of his writing.

I think it’s high time Cooke was rediscovered – a very popular sailing author for many decades, his books are full of practical information and advice peppered with beautifully told stories about his experiences and descriptions of the East Coast areas of Essex, Kent and Suffolk. However they are now rare in the second-hand bookshops.

Cruising Hints: The Traditional Yachtsman’s Compendium is a big book of 686 pages including the index priced at £30 from the Lodestar website – or something around 5p/page. I will make a great Christmas present for many Intheboatshed.net readers. (That’s a hint, but the way!)

What you get is a very complete manual of old-fashioned small boat cruising, that’s still relevant for traditional boat owners and enthusiasts today, intermingled with pieces of writing that demonstrate a deep and abiding enthusiasm. For example, the section ‘The boat’ includes chapters with titles such as ‘Yachting with economy’, ‘Selecting a yacht’ and ‘Size for the single-hander’, but it also includes a chapter headed ‘A perfect love of a boat’ that turns out to have been drawn by Harrison Butler.

This quotation from ‘A perfect love of a boat’ encapsulates several of Cooke’s regular themes of economy and practicality, enthusiasm, adventurous single-handed sailing (in contrast to many of his 19th and early 20th century cruising contemporaries, who required the help of a hired man) and of course his beloved East Coast:

‘She is a perfect love of a boat, and when my ship comes home, I shall be tempted to have her built. That is of course if I still remain in the same frame of mind… The design I am in love with for the moment comes from the board of that enthusiastic yachtsman Dr T Harrison Butler, and was published in the Yachting Monthly of November 1915… an exceedingly pretty and comfortable little cruiser. The boat has a very nice sheer and a bow that reminds me of the excellent small cruisers designed by Mr J Pain Clark. The underwater lines suggest weatherliness, and with a good length of keel she should be very steady on her helm… Length over all, 18 feet 6 inches… Of course, the boat is very small but it is astonishing what a lot of fun one can have even in a ‘tabloid’ cruiser. She strikes me as being just the thing for knocking about on the estuaries and creeks of the East Coast at weekends, whilst a trip up to Lowestoft would be quite within her capabilities in any ordinary summer weather.’

The phrase ‘when my ship comes in’ is mildly amusing – Cooke was a successful merchant banker, so I’d be surprise if he was short of a bob or two.

The new book Cruising Hints includes chapters and sections describing the classic East Coast sailing area, a substantial collection of Cooke’s design commentaries often describing craft that are now considered classics, and an extraordinary number of beautiful lines and layout drawings – it’s a real feast of the draftsman’s art.

There are also sections on sailing cruiser equipment, the ‘Domestic economy’, ‘Maintenance’ and ‘Seamanship’, and ‘Desirable East Coast anchorages’ – just the stuff to read while waiting for the tide, or in peaceful moments at home, if there ever are any…

Have I persuaded you it’s a good buy yet? I hope so! If not, there’s more information at the Lodestar Books website including this pdf including samples from the book.

PS – I’m reminded that the wonderful compendium of George Holmes’ writing and drawing that Lodestar published in 2009 been reprinted. See a review here.