More Summer Selections!
Summer is a great time to be out on the water in a small boat. I have very fond memories of helming a navy whaler in Sydney harbour and also sailing my first boat in Tasmanian waters when on leave. There have been many books written about sailors and their craft – and these often appeal to landlubbers as much as mariners. From iconic figures such as Robin Knox-Johnston to a tribute to Arthur Ransome, to the lives and loss of those who never returned I’ve chosen three books from my library. And no sailor can ignore the weather – a bonus title in this selection is a useful guide to just what’s behind the winds, clouds and sea state at any given time.
— ♥ —
Knox-Johnston on Seamanship & Seafaring by Robin Knox-Johnston
On 14th June 1968 Robin Knox-Johnston set sail from Falmouth to take part in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race – the first, non-stop, single-handed sailing race around the world. He was an unknown 29-year old Merchant Navy Officer. Ten and a half months later he sailed back into Falmouth, the only finisher in the race and the first man to complete a non-stop solo circumnavigation. Since then he has had an illustrious sailing career, with three further circumnavigations, including the fastest circumnavigation and last racing solo round the world in 2007, aged 68. Few people have sailed as many miles as Robin! Now, 50 years since setting out on the Golden Globe Race, one of the world’s greatest yachtsmen shares his thoughts on seamanship and seafaring.
Racundra’s Third Cruise by Arthur Ransome, edited and compiled by Brian Hammett
Most people know Arthur Ransome as the author of the classic children’s sailing tale ‘Swallows & Amazons‘ Before he wrote this book Ransome was a journalist for the Daily News, based in Russia. He is reputed to have played chess against Lenin and he married Trotsky’s secretary. Ransome cruised extensively in the Baltic in the 1920s on board his beloved ‘Racundra‘. His account of his first cruise on that boat was ‘Racundra’s First Cruise‘. A second cruise was spoilt by bad weather, but a third cruise was special – it was his honeymoon. Ransome intended to publish the account of this cruise, but never finished it. Ransome enthusiast Brian Hammett, using the unpublished manuscript and Ransome’s hand-written notes, diaries, logbooks and photographs, compiled this delightful little tome, out now in paperback.
Last Voyages by Nicholas Gray
This collection of eleven moving accounts of tragic final voyages is also a celebration of achievement and the courageous human spirit. Included are world-renowned racers, like Eric Tabarly and Rob James, highly experienced cruisers and adventurers, like Peter Tangvald and Bill Tilman, and the notoriously ill-prepared Donald Crowhurst. All the men and women described in the book were friends with or known to the author who himself competed in several short-handed long distance races, where he met and raced against many of these fascinating characters. A number of black and white photographs showcase the sailors and their yachts in this poignant tribute.
The Sailor’s Book of the Weather by Simon Keeling
This book introduces the key principles that influence the weather and gives the sailor – or landlubber venturing forth on the water – the tools to forecast from observations and make the most of available information. Wind, clouds and knowledge of weather patterns and local conditions all contain ample hints to allow the informed forecaster on the high seas to accurately predict the weather. Illustrated with charts and over 100 photographs, this book is written in straightforward language with the science presented in an easy-to-digest manner.