F B Cooke’s In Coastal Waters

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In Tidal Waters

In Coastal Waters includes some stirring illustrations by C Fleming Williams

F B Cooke wrote some interesting and entertaining and evidently popular books about the pastime of yachting in the early part of the last century – click here for some earlier posts about his boats, his books and sailing.

In Tidal Waters is a collection of tales from his sailing youth in the later part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th. I’m not entirely sure these stories should beĀ  read by anyone who might be put off sailing – but if like me you’re already hooked and there’s no escape, they’re great fun.

A few sentences from his introduction will give you some idea of what’s to come in the book, and of his very democratic views on sailing as a suitable activity for young men.

‘Those whose ideas of yachting have been derived from lounging on the deck of a large steamer at Cowes during the Regatta Week, with an obsequious steward in attendance, will probably find little to interest them in these pages, as the cruises described were for the most part carried out in what the East Coast waterman usually terms ‘little old tore-outs’. The boats were certainly inexpensive, and in some cases not even seaworthy; but in the golden days of youth all our geese are swans, and I spent in them some of the happiest days of my life. It is not by any means the man with the longest purse who gets the most fun out of yachting, and no youngster with a fancy for the sea need be deterred from taking up the sport by any mistaken ideas as to its cost. The expense will be just as he likes to make it, for it is merely a question of cutting the coat according to the cloth.’

Click here for a fine read, thanks to the Canadian Libraries Internet Archives.

My thanks to reader Paul Mullings for pointing out this gem.

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