Tag Archives: lodestar books

Sea-Boats, Oars and Sails by Conor O’Brien

DSC02938

Many readers will know that gun-runner, naval officer and circumnavigator Conor O’Brien’s book Sea-Boats Oars and Sails is a classic of small boat sailing and cruising – the good news is that it is now available again in an elegant paperback format from the Lodestar Books.

The prices are £12 sent to the UK, £13 to Europe, and £15 to areas of the world beyond Europe.

The photo above is of a François Vivier-designed Ilur, which is said to embody the qualities advanced by O’Brien in this book – the boat in the shot belongs to Tim Cooke and is sailed by him in the waters of south-west Ireland.

If you’re not convinced you need a copy, perhaps the following few sentences (and the link to a chapter below) will help demonstrate why it deserves a place on the bookshelf.

Just in these few lines, you’ll likely find he’s dogmatic about something he has experience of, reveals a little sense (on luffing) that may not be as common as it should be and, of course, in his spare style, he draws a picture that’s only too easy to conjure in your imagination. (He was writing in 1941, a time when taut writing was coming much more into fashion.)

‘The sailing boat referred to in this book, which excludes all racing craft, is not a miniature yacht. Their functions are different; the boatman is dependent on the shore, and has to make his port in good time, the yachtsman can keep the sea as long as he likes. But a sailing boat, as I define the term, is not merely a small yacht stripped for action; the significant difference is in the method of handling them. The yacht is almost uncapsizable, and, if luffed head to wind, heavy enough to carry her headway for some little time after the sails have ceased to draw. The boat stops immediately the propelling force fails. In a yacht the main sheet is belayed, keeping the sail at a constant angle with her keel, and to spill the wind out of the sail in a squall she is luffed, or turned towards the wind’s eye with the helm. In a boat the main sheet must be held in the hand, and with it she is played through a squall as a fish is played with rod and line, while she is kept sailing smartly all the time. It is fatal to luff, for if she loses headway she will not recover it till she has fallen off broadside to the wind, and if she is caught in that position with no way on she is easily capsized. Then, if the boat’s sails have to be taken in, they must come in at once, while in a yacht there is never great hurry about reducing canvas. These considerations limit the size of a boat’s mainsail and enjoin simplicity and certainty in working on her gear. As a set-off it should be remembered that the crew can get about their work with far more ease and safety in an open boat than on a small yacht’s deck.’

Read more on this topic in a chapter from Sea-Boats, Oars and Sails here.

 

Ernest Dade’s book of drawings Sail and Oar reprinted by Lodestar Books

Ernest Dade 3

 

Ernest Dade 1 Ernest Dade 2

These lovely drawings by the artist Ernest Dade feature in a new volume from Lodestar Books – and if you’re in need of a gift or two it’s available in time for Christmas at a very reasonable £12!

As an artist, Dade trained with Albert Strange and shared his master’s passion for sailing and sailing craft. First published in 1933, the book Sail and Oar contains 100 of his lively and also historically accurate sketches, accompanied by some striking captions.

I particularly like one that reads: ‘The old smacks brought a very powerful odour with them when they returned after six or eight weeks at sea. They could be smelt some miles away.’

One of the local fishermen of the time said this of Dade’s collection of drawings: ‘These pictures… 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.’

Read more about Ernest Dade’s Sail and Oar at the Lodestar Books website.

 

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.

 

Ben Crawshaw’s book Catalan Castaway is available to order

Product-Shot-Castaway-768x1024

I’m delighted to be able to announce that Ben’s colourfully illustrated 224-page book will be available from Lodestar Books in a few days and is now available to order, priced at £15 in the UK, £17 Europe and £20 outside Europe. [NB - this book is now debing delivered!]

It tells an amazing and exciting story, as the publisher’s notes make clear:

‘A sail-and-oar adventure in our own boat, one having the inevitable beauty of a form which accurately meets function – this is the dream of many of us. But Ben Crawshaw shows us that the dream is nearer to our grasp than we may think.

‘In Gavin Atkin’s Light Trow design he found an affordable boatbuilding project which would require the most simple and accessible of materials, and just basic woodworking ability.

‘Within months he was afloat in Onawind Blue, and his book Catalan Castaway recounts his day-sails, beach-camping cruises and a challenging longer voyage, over a five year period on the Catalan coast of Spain, where he lives with his partner and young family.

Onawind Blue has been Ben’s passport to the traditional maritime community of the region, so in addition to her own exploits we learn of the indigenous boat types, many now endangered, and the dedicated band of people who keep them alive.

‘Ben’s increasingly ambitious adventures have sometimes made him draw on deep reserves of physical and mental strength, as has his personal battle with the ‘giant octopus’ of serious illness, happily now at bay.’

Read a sample chapter of Catalan Castaway here.

For more posts about Ben Crawshaw and his boat Onawind Blue, click here. Also see Ben’s excellent weblog, Theinvisibleworkshop.

 

AC Stock’s final book ‘In Shoal Waters’ available 1st March

In Shoal Waters by A C Stock

Fans of East Coast small boat sailing legend AC Stock will be delighted to know that when ill health forced the wise navigator off the water, he got down to writing a memoir of his sailing life.

That book is about to appear in both hardback and paperback editions from Lodestar Books. The paperback version is particularly inexpensive at just £10 a copy.

I must say it’s a very great shame old Charles didn’t live to see his book published, because he clearly put his heart and soul into this volume. Read a sample here.

Perhaps his most important point is made right at the beginning of the introduction:

‘My original aim was to sail round the world, but three things prevented me from doing so: I never had the money; I never had the time; and I had a wife and four children. Sailing the wide oceans, visiting the palm-fringed atolls and sweltering tropic ports where the jungle drops down the mountainside to kiss the warm seas remains a pastime for winter evenings, in the comfort of an armchair and with an endless number of books on the subject.

‘Before retirement, and thanks to an understanding wife, I did for a dozen or so weekends a year find time enough to sail as far as I liked, provided I was back in good time to go to work on Monday morning. Did this mean just pottering about in the river, with all my year’s hopes pinned on fine weather for the precious summer holiday, or could I, year in and year out, still find some real sailing? Did I have to race to get some sort of interest, challenge and excitement? Did my modest means compel me to crew on larger craft to enjoy offshore and night sailing? The answer is set out in this recollection of my sailing years, and I hope illustrates the wonderful adventure playground that lays just a couple of hours from our crowded roads and railway stations.’

In short, a large part of Stock’s answer to the problem of how to sail while holding down a job and not neglecting his responsibilities was to sail a small cabin boat, Shoal Waters, as far as he could in the time available. I think that makes him a model for the rest of us…

In his foreword, author Robert Simper explains a little more:

‘The sight of Shoal Waters quietly sailing along the side of an estuary and then suddenly vanishing up some secluded creek has been part of the East Coast scene for almost half a century. Charlie has always been very happy to tell you the details of his latest jaunt down the Blackwater or, if it was spring, along the Norfolk Broads to glimpse the birdlife among the reeds.

‘A glance at Shoal Waters tells you how these trips have been achieved. The boat was always very tidy and the gear carefully stowed. The voyages were clearly and painstakingly planned and his close knowledge of the way tides behave on the coast was undeniable. He kept out of trouble by knowing when not to go to sea and knowing where to tuck in when the weather turned foul.’

Get the Lodestar Books catalogue now – there’s just time to place an order before Christmas

Lodestar Books catalogue

I’m loving the Lodestar Books catalogue – partly because it’s a lovely piece of work, but also because of what it contains.

First of all there are the books Lodestar has already published, including artist Tony Watts’ collection An Eye for a Boat; the H Alker Tripp collection Tripp Under Sail; the Ken Duxbury collection The Lugworm ChroniclesFrancis B Cooke’s superb Cruising Hints; 7th edition; Tony Watts’ magnificent volume Holmes of the Humber; H Lewis Jones’ wonderful Swin, Swale and Swatchway; WE Sinclair’s half-crazy Cruises of the Joan, and Conor O’Brien’s instructive but splenetic On Going to Sea in Yachts.

And then there are the volumes to come in 2013: In Shoal Waters by East Coast small boat sailing guru Charles Stock (February 2013);  Under the Cabin Lamp by Alker Tripp (March 2013); Catalan Castaway by Ben Crawshaw (April 2013); Sheila in the Wind by Adrian Hayter (May 2013); Racing the Seas by Ahto Walter and Tom Olsen (May 2013); Sea-Boats, Oars and Sails by Conor O’Brien (May 2013); and a new book from Will Stirling, Details of Dinghy Building.

Congratulations to Lodestar’s Dick Wynne for establishing such an impressive collection of published in an amazingly short few years!

Albert Strange sailing yacht Charm for sale

Dick Wynne is selling the lovely Albert Strange-designed yacht Charm, which was built 1922 (Intheboatshed.net attended her 90th birthday party this year) and lovingly restored 2000-2005 by Russell Read.

There are various posts and reports mentioning Charm on the Albert Strange Association site.

It’s what you might call a reluctant sale – it’s difficult to imagine parting with with a boat like Charm - Dick has struggled to find the time to get the good use from her while still keeping up the day job and managing his other commitments, which include running the wonderful Lodestar Books , and so is planning to return to sail-and-oar boating.

Charm’s condition is superb, she has five sails including a new topsail, a 20hp Beta diesel, Taylor’s paraffin cooking & heating, the usual electronics, and a brand new tailored over-the-boom winter deck cover to protect all her brightwork.

She’s 33ft LOA, has a beam 7ft 6in and a draught 5ft, and two comfortable berths. Contact Dick via the Albert Strange Association website’s contact page.