If you are short of a present at any time, can I suggest you turn for help to one of the best new publishing ventures for years – Dick Wynne’s outstanding Lodestar Books?
Three new books are Martin O’Scannall’s For the Love of Sauntress,
Robb Robinson and Ian Hart’s Viola From Great War to Grytviken — The Life and Times of a Hull Steam Trawler, and Creeksailor Tony Smith’s Sea Country. They’re all paperbacks and a good price – and if you order before Christmas postage and packing is free. And, of course, you aren’t buying from Amazon!
Sea-Country is Creeksailor Tony Smith’s account of sailing the Thames Estuary from the River Blackwater in Charles Stock’s famous 16ft gaffer Shoal Waters. He takes in London, Kent, Suffolk in the east to acquaint us with those shorelines and some of the people, occupations and curiosities to be found there. Learn more and read a sample here.
The steam trawler Viola had an extraordinary working life, which is recounted in Robb Robinson and Ian Hart’s splendid book or the same name. She was first a trawler, then a U-boat hunter during WWI, then a whaler, and then a sealer before being abandoned on the shores of in South Georgia. In 1982 she became quarry for the infamous Argentine scrap metal expedition that led to the Falklands War – Robinson and Hart’s book covers all this. By the way, the latest news about Viola is perhaps the most amazing of all – she is to be rescued from the South Atlantic and returned to Hull. Find out more about the book and read a sample here.
Sauntress recounts a series of entertaining sailing adventures around North-Western Europe in a restored 28ft gaffer from the golden age of Edwardian yachting, complete with beautiful photographs taken on a single, perfect August evening off the Galician coast. Find out more and read a sample here.
Swin, Swale & Swatchway by the Victorian era sailor and author H Lewis Jones isn’t new, but it’s about my home sailing area it’s such a favourite of mine that I’d like to recommend it anyway. Jones’s book provides the kind of entertainment we’re used to from Francis B Cooke and Maurice Griffiths, yet he was writing years before them and very much created the style. And yet he is still very fresh today – through much of Swin, Swale & Swatchway’s the reader could be mistaken for thinking they were reading a book that was written last year, but for the lack of any mention of autohelms, GPS and VHF. There’s a review by Dylan Winter here. Find out more and read a sample here.
And finally… I’m absolutely delighted to learn that the rest of the world is finally catching up with Catalan Castaway, Ben Crawshaw’s excellent, dreamy little book about sailing the Western end of the Mediterranean in his little Light Trow, Onawind Blue. It has taken a while, but finally his book has started to pick up the reviews it richly deserves, first in the Dinghy Cruising Association’s magazine, and now in Yachting World – which Tom Cunliffe persuaded to devote an unheard-of three pages for a long review and an extract in this month’s issue. Find out more and read a sample here.