The Marine Quarterly, summer 2014

The Marine Quarterly summer 2014

The summer edition of the excellent The Marine Quarterly came out a couple of weeks ago. If you have almost any interest in the sea, it’s well worth reading for its solid, informative and often entertaining articles on sailing, fisheries, adventuring, merchant shipping, conservation, natural history, culture and heritage, trade, naval matters, nautical books, and anything else that relates to life on salt water. Subscribe here.

In the latest The Marine Quarterly, you’ll find:

  • Richard Hopton describing the Tai-Mo-Shan’s 1933-4 voyage from Hong Kong to Falmouth via Japan,  where the unfortunate crew were suspected of spying because officials did not find women or drink on board
  • Nigel Sharp penetrates the mysteries of oyster dredging in the Carrick Roads on the River Fal, a place where oysters have been harvested since the middle of the nineteenth century, and where in order to preserve the stocks and protect the beds from overfishing, a bye-law prevents oyster fishermen from using engines while dredging
  • Rudyard Kipling describes fishing on the Grand Banks ‘The dories gathered in clusters, separated, reformed, and broke again, all heading one way; while men hailed and whistled and cat-called and sang and the water was speckled with rubbish… ‘
  • MQ editor Sam Llewellyn editor crosses the Pacific on a container ship and is woken by the shock of a big wave a thousand miles from land
  • Philip Marsden debates Marine Conservation Zones with Britain’s biggest trawler owner.
  • Roger Barnes writes a paean to the joys of small-boat cruising
  • Douglas Lindsay brings an antique across the Atlantic – the replica galleon Golden Hinde
  • Rod Heikell outlines the early history of yachting
  • Sophia Kingshill navigates in the general direction of the mythical island Hy Brasil, which somehow remained on the charts until 1853
  • Jonathon Green goes looking for linguistic lowlife and discovers the influence of the 19th century American merchant marine.
  • Oscar Branson goes us deep under some very cold water ‘At around three hundred metres there is no light at all. It is an ice-cold world, and it feels stone dead. Nothing could be further from the truth.’
  • And there is the usual The Marine Quarterly departments – North Sea News, Flotsam and Jetsam, book reviews, items on seamanship, eccentricity, and even the odd poem, all edited by the meticulous Sam Llewellyn and decorated with the drawings of Claudia Myatt
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The Marine Quarterly, summer 2012 edition

The latest Marine Quarterly arrived a couple of weeks ago, and I must say that once again the ‘the thinking sailor’s sea journal’ does not disappoint.

In fact it’s full of interesting surprises. A 1912 account of a Cowes Week involving Meteor, the Kaiser’s huge racing schooner, reveals some comically dreadful seamanship from the skippers and crews.

It also provides a reminder that before 1914 relations between the German leader and important and rich British and American figures were sufficiently amicable that they were competing regularly. It will always be a mystery to me that the horrors of World War I that followed were allowed to take place – but I guess the scary answer is that once the world embarks on a particular track, the momentum can quickly become unstoppable. I’m sure we all hope today’s leaders are listening.

There’s a well researched piece on Scottish sea monsters, an article describing the history and joys of gig racing in the Scillies and Cornwall (I didn’t know that gigs were developed for racing as much as for the piloting trade); a description of the strengths and weaknesses of the Falkland Islands’ defences (I’m sure the Argentinians will examine this closely); and an explanation of the techniques used by amateur lobster fishermen.

Keep the numbers of lobsters you catch very small, and you don’t need a licence, it seems.

But the article that amazed me more than any other is a superb piece about the sailing events of the 1948 Olympics, which took place off Torquay. For those who know me well, the simple fact that I studied an article about a sporting event from beginning to end and declared myself rapt will be powerful evidence that this is worth reading.

Subscribe today, I say: www.marinequarterly.com .