F B Cooke on Single Handed Cruising

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The mystery of Gadfly II’s origins and her link with the Blackwater sloops reminded me of yachting author F B Cooke, who I seem to remember owned a Blackwater sloop in the 1920s.

He had strong views on the size and type of yachts that should be used for cruising, for as he says:

‘To be dependent upon the assistance of friends, who may leave one in the lurch at the eleventh hour, is a miserable business that can only be avoided by having a yacht which one is capable of handling alone… The ideal arrangement is to have a vessel of sufficient size to accommodate one or two guests and yet not too large to be sailed single-handed at a pinch.’

I’d go further, and say that even with friends and family aboard, it’s safer and better if all the basic sailing tasks can be carried out by a single pair of hands.

I thought readers might be interested to see what he had to say about what size and type of  small yacht seemed most desirable in those far-off days.

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