Books & Bits 

Some pictures on this page can be enlarged, just click on the picture.

    This is the book that started it all.  After this Maurice became the editor of 'Yacht Sales and Charters', a magazine that was the fore runner of Yachting Monthly really.  I was lucky enough not only to find first Editions of this book that M.G. signed, but also many copies of the 'Yacht Sales and Charters' too, as with all my other M.G. books, all signed by the gentleman himself.

October 2004.  One of our number, Andrew Wallace, has just found 'Swan' the little barge yacht that M.G. owned and that features in the chapter, 'The silent Creeks'.  She is at Leigh on Sea and has just been  sold, see the news page. We hope to get updates on this.

One of our members another Maurice!, found this,  a  review of Maurice's book in the East Anglian Times for Monday June 8th 1925 and thought it would be of interest.


Well found Maurice!


This is the inside cover of the first copy of M.G.s first book.  It has a very touching inscription to his mother, signed by M.G.  It reads,' To my Mother, ( Who has been thro' 'heavy weather' with me, both afloat and ashore.)'  As you can imagine I was extremely pleased to have this book offered to me.  (I also have found another similar book, the first copy of another of the rarities, similarly inscribed for his mother.  I will scan that too.)

    In 1938 MG published one of his his three works of fiction. The others were, in 1939 'No Southern Gentleman', and the later' Sands of Sylt'.  Like 'No southern Gentleman',  'Dempster and Son' is set mainly in America.  Though it gravitates back to the UK at the end.

The book is different to any other of M.G.'s writings.  I had been searching for a copy of this book all over the world, for over thirty yeas and was extremely surprised to see a copy pop up on our EBay page.  Needless to say I could not hit the 'buy' button fast enough.  MG told me that he had not seen any copies of any of his novels and believed them to have been mostly pulped for the war effort. (Excepting 'The Sands of Sylt' which was just post war.

    I took a while to get into this book.  The first page threw me as I read Camden and thought north London, a few lines on I realised I was in America and the book was set at a time during the American Civil War. The Hero, Dempster is English but he throws himself into the war effort on the side of the north.  The book revolves about Maurice's main love, and not too many knew it, railways!  It charts the fortune of the Dempster family from the last year of the war to the aftermath of the First World War.  The Dempster family are heavily into railways, running them, building them and even building the rolling stock and locos.  The descriptions of the old wood burning American giants and the later more modern coal burners of the UK is done with knowledge.  MG knew his engines!

I have to say the descriptions used in the book would be frowned on today, in our P.C. world, but at the time they were the words used when describing some of the characters from the deep south, the plantations etc. that the book revolves about.  Not  derogatory descriptions, in deed most of the characters are warmly described, as family friends and 'retainers', but it took a little getting used to!

I have searched for this book for so many years I did not want to hurry to the end and now having read it I suspect II may dip into it again.  When reading it I could hear dear old Maurice talking, for he could well have been one of those refined gentlemen of the deep south he wrote about!

      'The Sands of Sylt'. Realised I had not added anything about this novel.

Written immediately post WWII and set in the late 1930's it is the updated version of the 'Riddle of the Sands' set before the previous war.

If you ever see one for sale it is well worth a read.  The boat in the book is the 'Solani'.  One of MG's designs was called that and that also had a Centreboard, coincidence?  I think not. 

The book is a dashing yarn of daring do and our hero comes out with the lady as well who coincidentally becomes a Wren officer...  just as M.G.'s wife Marjorie did!

My copy of this book is happily signed by Maurice!

    Written by Maurice Griffiths in 1981, this book explains the role of mines during the war. Maurice served as a Lieutenant Commander in the RNVR and was involved in rendering mines safe. This is a fascinating read and reveals many unknown facts about what went on round our coasts during the war.  Rumour has it that M.G. was also responsible for a  wartime 'ship recognition' book.
    Written by Dick Durham in 1994, this is a superb account of the life of Maurice Griffiths (3 years before he died) It is an insight into the life of this extraordinary man and how he became a yacht designer. It covers his entire life and give a rare insight into why his designs are so popular.  ( To the astute observer, yes it is 'Fiddler's Green'!  We were very proud to be used on the cover!)
    Written by Michael Verney in 1948 (foreword by Maurice Griffiths) this book is a little gem. It covers the techniques used to construct most of your boats. Last reprinted in 1952 it will be hard to find - but well the effort. None of your modern epoxy in this one. 
    Though this copy is not one of my first editions of this work,  it does have a nicer cover!  This is the first of all those little story collections, that M. G. loved to write.  He had a cunning knack of being able to leave out just enough to make the story re-tellable in a later edition! First published in 1931 and still in print. This book has been translated into all sorts of languages, M.G. presented me with a copy in Polish once, 'for a little light bedtime reading!', with that sparkle in his eye!  I have since been sent a copy of this in Dutch, from our friend Chris  in the Netherlands.
    'Ten Small Yachts'  Had a canny knack here too.  He would buy a boat at the beginning of a season, all fitted out, then sell at the end, in 'end of season condition'!!  That way he went for years without all the hassle of wintering and fitting out!  There are a couple of cruises too.  'Lone Gull'  and 'Storm' also feature in here.  The preface was written on board one of his boats, 'Nightfall', on that little portable typewriter that lives now in my office, and on which he also tapped out 'The Magic'! 
    This is another of the Novels, Set off the coast of Germany prior to the outbreak of WWII, our heroes are in the 'Riddle' mould of a previous generation.  I wonder where he got the idea???  Again a rare tome.  The other novel is a railway based book, M.G.s other love.  I have not seen a copy of this, it is the only one of M.G.s writings that I could never find!  Did you know he also wrote a children's boat book?
    In this book Maurice aims squarely at youngsters. He starts with rush canoes, in Africa, working up through Greek galleys and Viking ships, detailing construction as well as use.  He includes the first yachts, works through sail to steam and then the steam turbine.  'Turbina' gets a mention of course. There are pages of warships, from the first Dreadnoughts to the sub of the same name! Published in 1973, it seems far older.  This copy was given to Lt-Cdr Peter Kemp OBE RN Ret. for his help to the author, signed of course.  Inside the from cover are copies of letters between them in the preparation of the book, fascinating reading.
    One of a whole range of books based on 'a small income' including cookery and dressmaking!  Some useful hints and tips, on all subjects, ending with a navigation lesson about the East Coast Rivers and the problems they present!
    Maurice presented me (John Williams) with this book some years ago, after I obtained a copy of 'No Southern Gentlemen, which he had never seen, since publication day,  as he thought they were all pulped for the war effort.  Not to be out done he produced this copy of the 'Magic', in Polish!  He said it had been translated into a few languages, but this was perhaps one of the more obscure!  He bet I didn't have a copy, so gave me this one!  (He did have another). Though this is a soft back, the Dutch version was in hardback, or so he recalled. Apparently it was also published in German and French, anyone seen a copy?  I had been looking for the Dutch version for years. 'De Magie Van de Kreken'. see below.
    Now I bet you have not seen many copies of this book about.  M.G. believed they were all pulped for the war effort in 1939.  He was amazed when I asked him to sign this one!  It is a novel.  One of just three he wrote.  It uses his knowledge of boating and sailing well, set in the days of the Civil War in America, it starts with a shipwreck and an encounter with a slaver, ending with sternwheelers on the Southern Deltas! With a little romantic interest thrown in for good measure!
    This is the inside cover of 'No Southern Gentleman'.  It again is the first book from the publishers and a gift for Maurice's Mother.  The simple inscription is dated July 4th 1939. The interesting thing about this copy is that Maurice has glued many newspaper cutting in to the book, most with a note in his hand.  The dates of the cuttings, go up to the end of August.  We all know what happened in September, and as a result most copies were pulped!  ( I now have found three, any one else got a copy?)
    Dream ships.  This is a scan of the tatty dust cover of my second edition of this book.  The first Edition sadly has no cover. Both signed by the author of course.  'It is the story of every yachtsman's 'Dream ship' from the four tonner that the man with the modest income can afford, to the fishing boat or specially designed ocean racer!'  thus says the inside of the dust cover.

Interestingly it covers the 'Swin' class, one of which appears elsewhere on this site, owned by Andrew Wallace.

 First published in 1949, second edition 1952.


We are indebted to Mr. H. Koel from the Netherlands for supplying the following information.

The Correct spelling of the Dutch version of "The Magic of the Swatchways" is 'De Magie Van de Kreken' other titles in Dutch are Bij het begin van het tij, and kreken en kleine schepen  This copy was given me as a gift by my good friend from the Netherlands, Chris, Christmas 2003!  Many thanks, another treasure!

    My good friend Chris  in the Netherlands have just sent me this book..  Many thanks!  I had been searching in vain for years for a copy after M.G. told me it existed!  This copy spent a little time with H.M. Customs.  They must have wondered who was sending me a large slice of cake from Holland.  I hope they enjoyed the read!  I must brush up on my Dutch...  not a chance.


Today 27.1.2004 a copy of  the 'Arrow book of Sailing' dropped through my letterbox, courtesy of Mike Hoban.  Mike thank you so much.  This book had evaded me for many years.  There is a great picture in it of an early Eventide being 'Stability Tested'.  It has a number of Dutchmen hanging on to a mast to try and keep the boat horizontal!  I will scan it onto the site! Look on the photo gallery, on the  Eventide page!  I think the boat is a steel built Eventide, a 'Kesteloo',27ft long.

Now I am only missing the railway novel, one day....  Maybe.

A good place to find these books is  abebooks click here to go to their site.

John Williams


    I have just found this brand new copy of 'The First of the Tide' written in Dutch!  It came via information from Chris in Holland,  thanks Chris. 



John Williams


Nothing to do with Eventides, but a cracking good read on boat building. Difficult find in the UK but is available from, also from You could try too.


    'Sixty Years a Yacht Designer' published in 1988, lists Maurice's favourite boats.  Interestingly not all are listed, the Eventide and WW get a little mention, but others like the Atlantic clipper and the Barbican are missed altogether.  I often wondered if this was because he did not always approve of what others did to his hull designs.?  In the case of the Atlantic clipper it was that stern cabin, in the case of the Barbican it was the removal of his type of centreboard, in preference to one that took up much less cabin space, but was a pain they say! He also notes that of his earlier designs, he did not get distressed when they were  lost by enemy action!  The Book can sometimes still be found on the shelves, and often is available in Abebooks or Amazon's S/H listings.  The boats are described  in detail, with some line drawings and sail plans too.  Enough to scale from to work out how tall the rig should be in some cases! 


      Jan 05.  Have just heard from Stella Books that the have a copy of an old MG book for sale for just £9.00  Interested?

Click on here

Feb 05.  Simon Bishop has just informed us that there are auctions of some MG books on E-Bay under Nautical Books. I have just searched and there were 4 for sale, I just lost one of them!  Seems to be lots about.


    'The Lone Gull files' by Stephen Pickard (one of our members), makes a very interesting read.  We had actually figured out some time ago that 'Lone Gull' the boat MG designed for himself just pre-war, was lying in Tunisia.  Stephen also found it there, on his travels in a Buchanan designed boat.....  But he went a lot further...  his searches at the CA and other library's turned up a host of snippets and stories about 'Lone Gull', including of course MG's cruises in her and his comments about her.  Add to that the reprints of the wartime stories MG wrote, using the name 'Lone Gull' and then the saga of the difficult extraction of the vessel from what must be a very difficult country to deal in, Tunisia..  All make for a good read. 

This book is published by Bosun Press at the cover price of £14.99 in soft back. October 2007   EOG members who go to their website and enter 'eog' when ordering will get it post free and 10% off for buying on line!  How's that for a nice offer!

ISBN number 978-0-9554243-3-5


Cevamp, Mike and Me:

tales of romance and adventure in the Irish Sea

by Jackie Williamson

A blend of romance and adventure, this light-hearted but passionate sailing narrative tells the true story of a home-built Eventide yacht (Cevamp), a police inspector (Mike) and a journalist (Jackie). Through its pages we visit the harbours, meet the people, watch the wild life and learn the lessons – some tough, some funny, all memorable. We travel with Jackie as she develops her skills as a sailor and captures a husband into the bargain.

The book opens with Cevamp sailing off the gale-lashed Welsh coast. Jackie is struggling with the helm and the chapter closes with Mike’s life in the balance as enormous waves sweep over the sides and the mast dips perilously towards the sea.

Subsequent chapters tell the story of the yacht’s thirteen year gestation, the three-way love story between the couple and the yacht, and their seaborne adventures.

The reader is swept along by the drama of storms, being rescued by a lifeboat, a fire in the engine, a disappearing jetty and an exhausting night-time passage with a broken compass. But sailing isn’t all about disaster and the couple also enjoy such diverse delights as a Jacuzzi bath in the home of an eccentric fisherman, a magical day’s sailing in the company of dolphins, and dazzling evenings under the stars as their romance turns to love and thoughts of marriage.

Accounts of sailing trips to Ireland, Scotland, Anglesey and the Isle of Man are peppered with practical insights into life on board, sparing no blushes, raising a few smiles and revealing the stark fear that sometimes goes hand in hand with the challenge of being two individuals at one with the sea.

At sea as on land, life has its peaks and troughs. An ill-tempered cruise round the notorious Fastnet Rock has Jackie wondering if her marriage to Mike was a big mistake, the yacht develops a plethora of problems and our couple finally decide something has to give.

 just £8.99 + £2.50 p&p!


To reserve your copy, email, or call the author on 01348 831862


    June 05, this book by Tom Edwards, charts the log of his voyage to Australia and beyond from the UK, in a wooden G.H. 'Fifinella'.  The trip took place in 1978.   I am reading it at the moment.   It is a story of another age, when you could just go off and do this sort of thing.  There are triumphs and tragedies, but above all the will to explore and keep the boat going, no matter what.

 You can contact Tom to buy copies ...24 pounds see below.

If anyone is interested in purchasing one I have checked with the PO and the cheapest I can do is 24 pound, (airmail) incl. P&P. At that price I just break even - I never had any intention of making anything out of the book as I realised that the price was going to be excessive. However if you want to offer it on the net by all means do so. 

You have my email   tomhampshire at

Tom Edwards, 3 Dobell Drive Wangi Wangi, NSW 2267. Ph; 2 49754585. I would have to ask for a cheque, or similar.





  This was sent in in March 2006.  An American publisher copying out of print and copyright books!  See the link to their home page below.

by Maurice Griffiths, G.M., A.I.N.A.
Fully illustrated with line drawings, plans and photographs.

Here the great Maurice Griffiths waxes eloquent and extensively on a very large variety of sailing craft which he has admired, designed and envied. They range from work boat conversions, through simple small cruisers up to quite large and sophisticated, globe-girdling sailing vessels. Many of the designs illustrated include the lines drawings. The book is divided into two parts, Part I: Planning the dream Ship and; Part II: Designs for Dream Ships.
Contents: Part I: One Man's Meat . . ., Four Main Types, Work Boats as Homely Yachts, Other Types for Conversion, Dutchmen and Leeboards, How Much Space Have We?, Keeping Down the Costs, The Way Lone Gull Grew, Some of Her Successors--and about Centreboards, Choice of Sails, Rigs and Gear, Trade Wind Sailing, Beyond Horizons New, What of the Future?,  The Designer Earns his Fee. Contents: Part II: 23-ft. Sloop Tara, 24-ft. Sloop Wind, 35-ft., Fast Sloop Merlin, 33-ft. C.B. Sloop Morana, 38-ft. Scottish Sloop Matilda, 45-ft. Fast Sloop Killara, 32-ft. Cruising Sloop Tarawera, 35-ft. Cruising Sloop Delani, 38-ft. Sloop Hilary, 26-ft. Cutter Cirrus, 35-ft. Ketch Jalmana, 30-ft. Yawl Symphony, 32-ft. C.B. Sloop Carregwen, 32-ft. Sloop Sixpence, The Swin, Class 6-tonner.

I like to think Maurice and I, Marjorie and Darian, were friends, we spent many hours over lunches at West Mersea and coffee in their little bungalow just along the road.

This is just a selection from my library of M.G. books. I have at least one copy, mostly first editions,  of each book he wrote now, bar one.

I have several copies of some and most5 are signed, including all his 'Yacht Charters' magazines and early Y.M.s  There are some fascinating articles in those.  Add to that the typewriter from his desk, plus the little portable he wrote the 'magic' on and other items gifted to me , I feel very privileged to have known them so well.  J.W.







Sailing Home not only avoids those deadly asterisks (rocks), but manages to become a coast-to-coast bestseller

Gary Geddes's Sailing Home: A Journey Through Time, Place & Memory (HarperCollins), has hit besteller lists in Victoria (#5 on Times-Colonist), Vancouver (#7 on The Sun), Calgary (#1 on the Herald), Toronto (#6 at Maclean's), and Halifax (#10 at the Herald).

Here are some comments from writers, critics and reviewers:

"Geddes' prose is magnificent, building from a basis in the pedestrian—memory of biology or history—to a rhapsody of ideas and images that vividly evokes the richness of the West Coast. . . . he is a masterful writer."

Robert Wiersma, Quill & Quire

"Sailing Home is, if you’ll forgive the word, inspiring. Twenty pages into the book, you’ll find yourself selling your car, making a down payment on a boat, and setting out to live the life you’ve always thought you’d like to live. Gary Geddes took the gamble. He’s a little the worse for wear, but he offers us this perfect account of the dreamed voyage."

Robert Kroetsch, Winnipeg

"Gary Geddes sailed in a sea of ghosts . . . [and] proves a provocative and erudite host. After landing an 18-pound spring, he finds he can't bring himself to kill the salmon, all of whose flesh he won't be able to eat before it spoils. "My own vulnerability on this journey, my tentative status above the water, had made me reluctant to kill anything. I'd had enough sport."

Tom Hawthorn, The Vancouver Sun

" Finally, here is a book to wedge between William Least Heat Moon's Blue Highways and Ondaatje's Running in the Family.   Sailing Home is a lyrical adventure, deeply moving, and chockfull of moon-driven sailors, familial lore, floating bakeries, and the wonders of self-reckoning. With this traveller's tale, Gary Geddes transcends and delights."

Peter Oliva, Calgary

Sailing Home [is] "eloquent," "engaging," gentle," "contemplative," "elegant," "tough-minded," "funny," and "has a richness and maturity that ought to catch many readers."

Candace Fertile, The Edmonton Journal

Sailing Home is a book of "poignant honesty. . . comic misadventures. . . and subtle but dramatic prose. . . . With his handful of facts and a powerful poetic imagination, Geddes has wrestled a kind of order from his past, and crafted a moving and at times beautiful narrative."

Brian Bethune, Maclean's

Sailing Home "is more lyrical memoir than armchair adventure. . . . it pits one man against his past; the voyage that is the heart of this book is Geddes' search for his roots—both his personal history and what he calls the 'tribal past,' the cultural, social and economic heritage of the West Coast. Geddes is an award-winning poet, and he blends past and present in evocative descriptions as he returns to the islands and inlets of his early years."
Ann Vanderhoof, Explore

"Geddes' childhood on the water becomes the most compelling image in this book because of the way the sad little towns that he finds are reflected, skilfully, against the brighter ones in his imagination, compounding the sadness of these places. His drowned grandfather joins us, and his mother as well, dead too young from cancer when he was still a boy. . . . There is a lovely riff on the idea of work and redemption which echoes off his depiction of his 1950s childhood. . . . [B.C.] is preposterously beautiful, a little daft and full of ghosts. Geddes's book is, in turns, these things as well, in a synthesis that lingers in the mind the same way that Texada Island does, years after first seeing its high, swaybacked ridge poking through the horizon from Porlier Pass whiled headed across the Strait of Georgia."

Kevin Patterson, The Globe & Mail

'Achingly beautiful scenes are peppered throughout this book, casting the dramatis personae in vivid relief.. . . . Sailing Home is a lyrical and transporting book that reveals my home in a brave new light."

Jim Boothroyd, The Gazette (Montreal)

"Like most good books on sailing, Gary Geddes's recently published Sailing Home: A Journey Through Time, Place & Memory says very little about sailing. . . . The result is an absorbing blend of observation, recollection, contemplation and adventure. . . .an underlying sadness and loneliness often pierce the surface of this wry and eloquent book. . . but [Geddes] navigates memorably in these vastly deeper waters."

Silver Donald Cameron, Halifax Herald

"There are speech writers and ghost writers and hack writers and mystery writers and paperback writers. But a floating writer is what Gary Geddes wants to be. . . . His own family history is lapped with seaside sorrow and adventure. Geddes' father was a deep sea diver who had been part of the rescue team after the collapse of the Second Narrows Bridge. His boatbuilder grandfather drowned while fishing near Point Atkinson Light. . Geddes [in Sailing Home] is a poetic tour guide who isn't afraid to poke fun at himself. Before starting his solo cruise, he horrifies sailing buddy and Vancouver Sun Columnist Stephen Hume by asking what the asterisks on the charts were. 'Rocks!' cried Hume. . . . 'Words are mercurial like the sea,' Geddes says, 'never the same from one day to the next.' As a writer for hire, Geddes will go wherever he can moor his boat on a coast that has seen floating missionaries, floating doctors, and floating police officers."

Susan Down, "Poet Afloat," Victoria Times-Colonist

The above has been sent to me by Gary Geddes, he is a prolific author and this book, 'Sailing home', is a story regarding his voyage in his GH Groais.   I have managed to buy and read a copy of this now and have scanned the cover above this article.

I found it a fascinating insight into this huge island, (Vancouver) and the 'inside passage'.  The distances dwarf you.  He has an easy hand to read though at times rather deep.  Very interesting read and I am pleased Gary brought it to my attention so I could add it to my library and to this page.  Gary is, by the way, a member and still sails his GH!



The Iota Story.

A write up on a new book by Jenifer Simpson, who sailed the leeboard Ketch rigged WW 'Iota' around the pacific!


This book was my bedtime reading in March 2011 and I found I was re-reading it and re-reading it.   Now in August I still dip into it!  It is a fascinating glimpse into that 1960's world when it was safe to sail into  counties in far flung places.  It is also a book showing how far the devotion to the idea will take you.  I am deeply impressed that Jenifer and Simon had the vision and the wherewith all to do it. I was working for a living at the time, pounding the beat in Tottenham and Dagenham, dreaming of sailing away.  I managed to buy an Eventide 24 and at least got some sailing in, but nothing to what this couple achieved.  Had I read it back then, (were it written!) I may well have opted for an alternative life style.  

The idea of building the smallest vessel that might be easily transported by coaster to exotic places is novel to say the least. The Leeboard Waterwitch does indeed lend itself to this.  Leeboard I heard you question?  Well at least 2 other Waterwitch's with leeboards have circumnavigated the world, so the design could be perfect for cruising....  extreme shallow draft, but good sailing ability...

I am so into this book it will not be long before it is read again, and I go back to re-read it!  All wonderful stuff!  Anyone thinking of  blue water sailing or sailing a lee board WW should read it.  Available at Amazon.











‘Keeping 'Nyala' in Style’.

When I was offered a copy of this book I had visions of it being another record of trips to foreign lands in a classic Maurice Griffiths. Nothing wrong with that, but this was a pleasant surprise, a boot devoted more to the practicalities of making your ship ready for that trip!  And the voyage? It starts on the last page!

Instead, I found a record of the painstaking restoration of another of Maurice’s beautiful boats. Though written 20 years ago I am hoping she still sails and knowing she was sold by the author.  A little while back we were sent pictures of her, for sale in the Mediterranean. Since then she has sold and sailed off into the sunset. To where, we know not. Good sailing Nyala… In a large part her continued sailing days are due to Sylvia and David and their work as revealed in this book.

When reading I found myself nodding and agreeing.  For the work they did and the decisions  they made were rather akin to the building and the fitting out of my own boat. I used so many of the techniques described when building my own boat. The same methods for making bulkheads and fastening solid objects down, I too used a special flexible motor coupling and insulation so the motor is inaudible!  I swapped paraffin for gas and never regretted it, so many things written of, that over the years I wished I had photographed when I did them, every step of the way.  I chose an Isotherm set up, and solar panels, and, and well so much good common sense in one book!  

Almost every chapter had a method or material or device that I too chose after the same sorts of deliberations, but I failed to write it all down in a book! (lots of small articles, some in P.B.O., most are on the site too, scattered in there somewhere!).  Of course many manufactures have disappeared, but similar products are available still…..

If you are fitting out a bare shell, building a boat from scratch or restoring an old classic like ‘Nyala’ this book may be invaluable. The simple ideas, the common-sense views are a joy to read.

Sylvia has offered this book to us at the discount price of £8.50 including P&P UK. Contact her at:- You can see more at her website:-







'Master Under God'

Written by Anthony W. Harris

Paperback 143 pages.

32 Photographic plates

Published by Arthur H. Stockwell Ltd., Elms Court, Ilfracombe, Devon. 1979.

This is the true story of the Hartwell built Golden Hind 31 'Cliperau', owned by Scimitar Sailing School of Holyhead. It starts with the launching in 1968, and moves on to the activities of the working life of 'Cliperau' as a sail training yacht. 'Cliperau' featured in a series run by practical Boat Owner on safety at sea. Additional notoriety came when the press and TV were tipped off by ham radio enthusiasts when 'Cliperau' put out a Pan call after they came under fire from a firing range. In 1971 Scimitar decided to set up a branch in Gibraltar and 'Cliperau' was duly moved to Gibraltar. The voyage to Gibraltar and accounts of sailing school activities and charters carried out by 'Cliperau' are interwoven with business problems of running a sailing school in Gibraltar at a time when relations between the UK and Spain were at the lowest ebb. Eventually it was decided that 'Cliperau' would be replaced by a larger newer yacht and would be sailed back to the Holyhead school to be used there. On this voyage, 'Cliperou' disappeared the crew of three were found dead in their inflatable life-raft. The final part of the book is a forensic examination of what might have happened, and why the crew died in the safety of their life-raft. The whole story will never be known but the evidence makes compelling reading, and you can make up your own mind.

Sent in by Brian Cook of GH 'Tusk'


This is one you will have to search the used book stores for. 

I have just managed to find a copy of this one on Abebooks!  I will write a few words when I have read it...






Underwater Gorillas Are Hard To Find

Written by Jack Blocki

Hardback 101 pages

14 photographs

Published by Vantage Press Inc. 516 west Street, New York, NY10001

This is the true account of the voyage of Hilda and Jack Blocki, sailing their new Golden Hind 31 'Smoo-cher' from England to Cyprus in 1974. The Blocki's hit five gales, a force-10 storm, a gregale, a ghibli, and a force-9 thunder squall. Jack Blocki tells the story of their voyage in a lively, totally engrossing manner, occasionally using flashback technique to tell of their pre-Smoo-cher adventures on land. Photographs contribute an additional dimension of reality to the narrative. One need not be a sailor to enjoy this hard-to-put down tale. 'Underwater Gorillas Are Hard To Find' is written with a combination of verve and humility that makes for irresistible reading.

Another sent in by Brian cook of the GH 31 Tusk...  again a copy may take a little finding.... I've not found one yet....







117 Days Adrift

Written by Maurice & Maralyn Bailey

Hardback 192 pages

Photographs, log facsimile and maps throughout

Published By Nautical Publishing Company Ltd, Nautical House,

Lymington, Hampshire SO4 9BA 1973

This is a true account of Maralyn and Maurice Bailey who survived 117 days adrift in their life-raft after the dramatic sinking of their Golden Hind 31 Auralyn by a whale near the Galapagos islands. For most of the time they were dependant on the resources that were provided only by the ocean and the sky. The Eastern Pacific was naturally full of fish and bird life, but to devise ways of catching these animals, and of living and eating in such an environment required outstanding qualities of ingenuity and determination. Problem succeeded problem. Heat and cold, hunger and thirst, illness, storms, capsize, damage to the raft and loss of equipment, were all faced and overcome. Ships passed without stopping adding to the sense of despair and hopelessness. Finally they were rescued by Korean fishermen.

There are graphic photos of the sinking of Auralyn taken from the life-raft as the boat went down. This book was on the best sellers lists shortly after it was published.

Thanks again to Brian Cook of GH Tusk for this, the words are from the publishers....  They forgot to mention the star was an Avon dinghy!




Boat building in Wood.

Colin Faggetter describes how to build a wooden boat, in this case his own Goosander from the Goosander 27 drawings we have here.  Starts right at the beginning and takes you through every step till launch, and then some.

He explains how to take lines of a hull too.  Tables of Offsets are explained, lofting and  all the methods of construction, timbers, glues and fasteners are all explained and the different options discussed.

For anyone looking to build any wooden boat this would be a good book, for someone with a CD of Colin's Goosander 27, it is perfect.

We are sometimes taken to task by purists if we alter the design we have on paper when it actually comes to building, in my case the boat, (Eventide 26)  was stretched and altered slightly, but it worked as MG suggested it would, Colin does the same with his own design, so rest assured, if it is OK for the designer it will be OK for you and me.

These books can only be found in used book stores  these days, printed 1995 and of course out of print as even the publishing house has disappeared now.  However I found a brand new un-thumbed copy on the net, (Google shopping), for less than £10.00 inc P&P UK.

The ISBN no is :- 1-85310-530-9





















Classic Classes.  By Vanessa Bird.

It is not often that I get a book to review that I cannot put down, OK slightly biased as I helped with some of the information, but this really is a great book.   Not only are the illustrations top quality, but the background information to all of the over 100 classic boat designs described is fascinating. 

Anyone half into good looking boats is going to love this book.  I have just renovated a tiny Optimist dinghy for the grandson, and was amazed to learn how old the design was!   There is a large section covering dinghies, for racing pottering and cruising.

Dinghies I have grown up with and sailed in or alongside, from Gulls and Mirrors to GP14's,  Enterprises,  Moths and the more local designs, like the Wivenhoe One Design!  All have a page of facts and figures drawings or photos.

There is info also on many of the Olympic  designs, this being London 2012 and all that.  OK, if like me you are not at all into the racing, the rest of the book really makes up for it.

The book covers the more modern boats too,  GRP Corribees can be found in it's covers,  but mostly the cruiser section features the craft we love to sail and see sailed.  Our Senior, the Eventide, Waterwitch, Golden Hind, Lone gull II all appear, as do other favourites like the Finesse and the Silhouette.

This book is almost a who's who of real boats and more than a coffee table book, mine has been read and carried aboard too.

A perfect present for Christmas for Dad or Granddad, or for anyone who loved the beauty and practical nature of proper boats!

John Williams


Classic Classes More than 140 of the most enduring yachts, keelboats and dinghies

This is the complete reference to the classic yachts and dinghies still sailing today. Focusing on the most well-known, popular and enduring designs - from the 7ft Optimist to the 125ft J class - this beautifully illustrated book showcases 144 boats from across the world, with a wealth of detail on each class, including:

• the origins and history of the class

• what it’s like to sail one

• fascinating stories about the boat, who sailed her, and her development

• stunning photography, sail plans and sail symbols

• full detail on her length, layout and designer

Featuring designers from an internationally recognised hall of fame, Classic Classes is the perfect resource for classic boat owners and enthusiasts worldwide, whether their interest lies in high-performance thoroughbred racers, well-loved creek crawling cruisers or popular home-built classic dinghies. Published in advance of the 2012 Olympics, there is also a section devoted to the 46 Olympic classes.

£20.00 9781408158913



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BOAT, PEOPLE and ME – First Voyage by Anthony Howarth

I was sent a free copy of this to read on Kindle, trouble was I did not have one, but Tony informed me I could read it on a P.C.  I tried and you could, but my P.C. was just not the right thing to read it on, I kept getting distracted and was back to the computer or mail.  If on a laptop may have been better.  However the other day I found I could download a free app to read Kindles on my i-touch, and I understand most smart phones too.  Now it became bedtime reading! nice thing was as soon as I entered my Amazon code, it automatically loaded the book onto my i-touch, clever.

I found the book interesting and their story quite different.  They had no knowledge of boats or boating and set off on a first charter in Scottish water with just a text book or two.  They survived.  Years passed and after some changes in their lives they bought and fitted out a Waterwitch, altering is quite radically.  I  read with interest till I go to the part where they set off to sail into the unknown, without a night school lesson or a scrap of nautical know how.  Of course it was not long till they got into a very dangerous situation and had it not been for one of my colleagues in the river police...  I told Tony they should name their guardian angel 'Eileen', for sure as eggs are eggs they had one, to get away with what they stumbled into.  The other reviewer in their hand out below summed it up nicely when she speaks about "the sheer jaw-dropping nerve of it."  And they got away with it!

What was amazing was how they so quickly progressed from Tyros to Voyagers.  An amazing transformation!

Tony has an odd style of writing and I found it strange that the Waterwitch was never referred to as 'Teela Brown' but just 'Boat', same with their names, but that is just me. 

I will be logging on for the next volume with Amazon and will doubtless enjoy more of their quirky adventures.  I know they survived and also that 'Teela Brown' is with them, laid up ashore  in France. So it has a happy outcome, they and 'Boat' survived!



September 2015.  I have had a message from one of my Seagull customers, who knows Tony and has passed on some news.  And some photos!

'Teela Brown' their WW has been saved.  she was languishing in a yard, unloved. Tony and his wife have decided to convert 'boat' as they called her. to 'long boat'!!  They have literally cut the WW in two and added a 6 m approx section to the centre.  They are doing away with the rig and possibly the ballast and converting her to more like a canal barge.  They intend to retire to her and wander the inland waters of France and Europe.  A fitting use for 'Teela Brown'!


What an amazing conversion!  more power to the builders elbow!



links to

Available as kindle e-book

Buy at

Buy at

Buy at

Buy at

Volume I in the Boat, People & Me Series.
A love story set in an adventure, on a boat. It is the story of two travellers from opposite sides of the world who never, ever, intended to find themselves at sea in a small sailing boat in a more than hurricane strength storm.

Boat is a classic 30 ft Waterwitch designed by the great Maurice Griffiths. People is a long legged, ash-blond with too many teeth, from Hawaii. And Me, I fell in love with the sea when I could only see it from high in the Pennines of home.

A journey of a lifetime that wakes the muse of history. Adventures and mis-adventures past, with causes and effects behind the events, come back to mind, and flow onto the page.

In his BOAT, PEOPLE and ME series of books Anthony Howarth writes a nesting egg of a memoir of a lifetime of adventure. And much is revealed. The story unfolds. And, the adventure goes on.  

"Fantastic! Have just finished reading after neglecting/ being late for everything else I was supposed to be doing this weekend... the sheer jaw-dropping nerve of it." Julienne

The BOAT, PEOPLE and ME Series of books by Anthony Howarth, is, of course, a true life adventure as well as memoir.


Boat is pinned over, held, quite literally, in the grip of the wind at about forty-five degrees. Not rocking or oscillating. Held as if in a vibrating but rigid clamp.

The waves appear to be twice the height of our mast. Breaking water curls clear over Boat. The next wave shreds in the wind generator’s blades and drenches the satellite navigation antenna, mounted at the stern. A wave passes way over my head. Then another – it fills the cockpit!

I remember thinking, as I sat in the water, that the sea was remarkably warm for February.

Boat, People and Me - Series

The BOAT, PEOPLE and ME series of eight books, originally written as a continuing series for radio (and soon to be available again in that form) spans a period of almost a quarter of a century in the life of People, and Me.

An extraordinary story of two people, always in love and, as often as not, in trouble. It is, nonetheless an adventure not without humour amidst the suspense and the fear, and sometimes pain that does not always go away.

LINK to look at:

and not to leave out Twitter @HowarthAnthony




      Percy Blandford's auto biography. 'A Life Full of Hobbies'

March 2017.  I am at present reading this and will add a note here.  A designer of the same era and ethos! I have no idea where the book came from, I can only assume the publishers, but there was no paperwork with it.  Assume they had seen the write ups on this page and that's why it was sent.  Full marks to them for finding my address.




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