Tag Archives: Light Trow

Onawind Blue, back on the water and sailing joyfully

Onawindblue at sea again


It’s great to see Light Trow builder, adventurer, weblogger and author Ben Crawshaw back on the water in his Light TrowOnawind Blue – and having a damned good time sailing in company with his pal Ricardo in his Dudley Dix-designed Argie, Red Wine.

As well as Ben’s celebration of sailing and life, I’m struck by the (slightly unfair) comparisons between the two rather different boats, and reminded of my view that sailing in company is best done in identical or at least well matched boats. Read all about it here.

Btw, check Ben’s successful experiment with a staysail!


Ben Crawshaw’s book Catalan Castaway gets a splendid review from the Dinghy Cruising Association newsletter


Light Trow sailor Ben Crawshaw’s book Catalan Castaway published by the excellent Lodestar Books has just received splendid reviews from not one but two writers in the latest edition of the Dinghy Cruising Association’s quarterly journal.

I must say I’m delighted – recognition for Ben and his book has been slow, so it’s great to see this glowing endorsement of his book.

Paul Constantine sums up Ben’s story like this:

‘Ben, with no previous building experience, builds the first 15ft 4ins Light Trow, Onawind Blue, from free online plans drawn by Gavin Atkin.

‘He sails it from an open beach on the Costa Brava and learns from experience. His love of his boat, the sea and solitude is dripping from every page… there are few dinghy cruisers more deserving of recognition than Ben.’

I don’t know Paul that I can remember, but I have had dealings with Keith Muscott over the years, and he’s a knowledgeable, experienced chap, who is unlikely to be won over without reason. Here, then, is a quotation from his review:

‘… I am sure that this book will find its way into the sailing canon eventually, where this young man’s love of life and his enthusiasm for recording his ideas, his experience and his practical achievements will always mark him out as a true individual – whether they be photographs of his beautifully presented meals, or well crafted boat parts, or written records of wonderful days spend at sea.’

See the review here. Read a sample of Ben’s book here.

PS – This may be the right moment to link to a charming illustrated article published by Duckworks Magazine about another of my designs, the easy and simple MicroMouse paddler. It was written by Mouseboat enthusiast Josh Withe, and, fittingly for a little paddler designed for small people, it’s in the style of a children’s story: Seagull the Mouseboat.


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


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.