Charles Stock making his customary good use of his wellies. Image copyright Tony Smith (aka Creeksailor) and used with permission
I’ve stumbled across a series of short Youtube videos featuring Charles Stock, a legend among small boat sailors, particularly on the Thames Estuary and East Coast of England.
An enthusiastic sailor since he was a kid, in 1963 Stock created a new cutter-rigged boat for himself using a 16ft Uffa Fox-designed hull made by Fairey and the rigging from an old half-decker he bought in 1948. The result was Shoal Waters, a small wooden boat in which he has sailed regularly ever since without an engine and without a tender – instead, he follows the tides, moors in shallow water and, if he wishes to do so, goes ashore in a pair of rubber wellie boots.
He’s kept meticulous logs and accounts ever since, travelled over 70,000 nautical miles in his boat, written countless articles, taught sailing and navigation to evening classes for decades and wrote an excellent book, Sailing Just for Fun: High Adventure on a Small Budget, which has sold well over 4000 copies.
He also has his own website: http://shoal-waters.moonfruit.com.
Here are the Youtube videos:
Charles Stock 1
Charles Stock 2
Charles Stock 3
Charles Stock 4
Charles Stock 5
Charles Stock 6
Charles Stock 7
Charles Stock 8
Charles Stock 9
Charles Stock 10
Charles Stock 11
Charles Stock 12
Charles Stock talks about choosing the hull for Shoal Waters
Youtube tends to encourage anonymity, so at this stage I don’t really know who recorded and put the clips – but his Youtube home page and extensive collection of videos are here: http://www.youtube.com/user/creeksailor
Creeksailor also has a weblog here: http://creeksailor.blogspot.com
More photos of Shoal Waters in action appear here: http://www.saileastcoast.co.uk/shoalwaters.htm
I’ve also pasted a photo below from Paul Mullings, who has this to say:
As a young man sailing with my family on the magical East Coast rivers we often came across Charles Stock and Shoal Waters. It was a big thrill on a visit back to the Old Country last summer to see her looking as trim as ever – photo attached.
Sailing Just For Fun is also a terrific read and should be on all cruising sailors’ bookshelves.
Shoal Waters, photographed last summer. Click on the photo for a larger image