Fabulous new publications from Lodestar Books include classic yachting authors Conor O’Brien, H Alker Tripp, H Lewis Jones and WE Sinclair

Inshore of the Goodwins sample

Shoalwater and Fairway - H Alker Tripp - Christmas gifts from Lodestar Books Swin, Swale and Swatchway  - H Lewis Jones - Christmas gifts from Lodestar Books On Going to Sea in Yachts - Conor O'Brien - Christmas gifts from Lodestar Books Cruises of the Joan - W E Sinclair - Christmas gifts from Lodestar Books

I have good news as we come up to the Christmas season – Dick Wynne’s wonderful Lodestar Books is republishing four more sailing classics that will make great gifts for the sailing man or woman:

  • Shoalwater and Fairway – The casual explorations of a sailing main in the shoal seas and tidal waters of Essex and Kent by H Alker Tripp, illustrated by the author. Click on a the image at the top of this post for a sample chapter
  • Swin, Swale and Swatchway by H Lewis Jones – Jones pre-dates both Maurice Griffiths and Francis B Cooke, and gives us the the Thames Estuary and the boats and characters inhabiting it in late Victorian times. His charming adventures and human encounters have an engaging immediacy, and are enhanced by the author’s many photographs, which provide a priceless glimpse of a time long gone
  • Cruises of the Joan by WE Sinclair – the cruises of an engineless, 22-ft Falmouth quay punt in the 1920s, first around Britain, then to Madeira and to the Baltic, and finally across the North Atlantic to Iceland and Greenland. Sinclair’s dry, phlegmatic humour and observation makes his accounts highly entertaining account – and one we might not have today if luck had not played its part
  • On Going to Sea in YachtsConor O’Brien’s distilled experience in selecting, equipping and handling sailing craft from the smallest beach cruiser to the ocean-going yacht. The author’s choice of topics and anecdotes, all related in a characteristically down-to-earth manner, makes valuable and engaging reading. His many clear drawings leave us in no doubt as to the practical details, which are born of his own experience over many years and many thousands of sea miles

If these aren’t quite what’s needed, don’t forget Lodestar’s previous publications, Francis B Cooke’s classic Cruising Hints – The Traditional Yachtsman’s Compendium and the outstanding Holmes of the Humber collection of material by and about legendary canoe yawl sailor, boat designer, artist  Humber Estuary figure, George Holmes. Get your great boating reading here!

Antifouling Sunday – sun and the prospect of summer bring out the boat maintainers

Antifouling Sunday_owner at the top of his boat's mast 2

Antifouling Sunday_at the bottom of the mast Antifouling Sunday_owner at the top of his boat's mast Antifouling Sunday_working on an area of dodgy woodwork

Antifouling Sunday_it may be hard work but it's still a great place to be

I think there’s a special Sunday each year when those who need to ready their boats for the season suddenly rush down to the moorings and get to work – I call it Antifouling Sunday, but you won’t find it in any church’s calendar.

My guess is that what happens for many is that the first days of sunshine and the promise of spring get the sap rising in the boating enthusiast’s veins, but their consciences (and perhaps their families) insist they first complete a selection of household jobs on the Saturday. But then Sunday is their own…

Last Sunday I was down there with the rest of them, rubbing and scrubbing and getting antifouling in my hair and on my sunglasses, and wondering which particular kind of magic stuff to try on my woodwork next (nothing I’ve ever tried has lived up to its promise, no matter what the magazines say) and what other jobs I really need to do.

It might have been hard work but, in that setting and with the sense of community moorings and yards have, it was a great place to be.

There were a companionable lot of us down at Hollowshore, near Faversham, and these photos show just a few of the things that were going on – I was particularly impressed by the chap swinging about on a bosun’s chair sorting out shrouds for his Maurice Griffiths-designed yacht. I hate heights…

Idle Duck is back on the water

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alan staley , bawley , bob telford , Faversham , idle duck , maurice griffiths , scoter

alan staley , bawley , bob telford , Faversham , idle duck , maurice griffiths , scoter

Idle Duck is back on the water and looking good, as these photos from a week and a half ago show.

The bawley-derived Maurice Griffiths-designed boat (use the search to find posts about both Idle Duck and Scoter) has been now in the hands of my friend Bob Telford for a couple of years now, and after a couple of seasons’ hard work repairing decks and bulwarks at Alan Staley’s yard at Faversham, she’s looking very smart in her fresh paint.

The view from Idle Duck’s cockpit

alan staley , bawley , bob telford , Faversham , idle duck , maurice griffiths , scoter