Published by Adlard Coles Nautical (Bloomsbury Publishing Plc)
Adlard Coles’ classic work first appeared 50 years ago and this is the seventh edition. It remains probably the best overall account of heavy weather conditions, although Tom Cunliffe’s Heavy Weather Cruising, published by Fernhurst, concentrates on the practical issues and is excellent value.
An interesting memoir of life on general cargo ships in the 1970's sailing mainly in the far East. It reflects a bygone life working at sea before the introduction of containerisation when ships were in port for longer periods and the crews could experience the local life in depth. It was also before routine use of SatNavs when the noon sight and days run had key significance.
Hall admits to great admiration for Joseph Conrad and his works, hence the book title. He also enjoyed sailing in the inner seas of the Indonesian archipelago “Conrad country” as he calls it.
If the CCC Sailing Directions are the main course of Scottish cruising under sail, this Companion is both the tantalising G&T and the reflective single malt digestif. The Companion offers the prospect of the secret anchorage and the purple mountain; and, even years later, recalls your travels, white sands, alluring distilleries and ruined castles open on your knees before you.
Published by Fernhurst Books, this is the 20th edition of a classic and well-established cruising companion. It provides navigation information and a comprehensive pilot guide to the ports and rivers of the east coast of the UK from Lowestoft in Suffolk to Ramsgate in Kent, including the Thames as far west as Tower Bridge.
Most Solent sailors have their favourite off water haunts and this book does a good job of recommending such establishments in popular and out of the way places. I enjoyed reading it and found several of my favourite haunts. The layout is clear and content good generally.
It does suffer from the problem all printed Almanacs and Pilot books have, in that they are out of date as soon as they have been written let alone published. I found one or two places where the establishment has changed hands and names since publication.
DIY maintenance seems to be a dying art these days and most Marine ‘Engineers’ offering repairs are at best replacement component-only artists, ask them about fine and course Metric screw threads and you are likely to be met with a blank expression let alone mention BSF, BSW, BA etc.
This is far from a straightforward cruise log: part diary, part biography, part naval history. The timing may be unique: having sailed up the German coast and passed through the Kiel Canal, the heroine ends her three-week voyage at Grimsby on Saturday 2nd September 1939, the day before the Second World War began.
I first came across Nick Ardley’s books a couple of years ago, courtesy of my sister. ‘Swinging the Lamp’ is his latest publication and continues his pleasingly unique view of the Thames, Medway and East Coast. He gives an insightful glimpse into the history – both on and by the water –of these remote areas, with a relaxed prose and a knowledgeable background, especially concerning Thames sailing barges – Nick was brought up on SB May Flower - and all accompanied by many photographs spanning the decades.