Like many sailors I have read Roger Slocum’s account of his solo circumnavigation in a boat he basically built himself. The book, ‘Sailing Alone Around the World’ is a classic. Understated, modest and wonderful all at the same time. Another classic must be Maurice Griffith’s ‘Magic of the Swatchways’. Beautifully written and a real page turner. In fact I read it in 11/2 days, staying up until 2am, unable to put it down. In a similar vein Charles Stock’s ‘Sailing Just for Fun’ is another book that inspired me to sail in the first place.
In this modern age however, and for those with limited vision in particular, the www offers tonnes of inspiration. For a while now I have been following a few blogs on the www. Much better then this one. So, nothing on telly? In a boring meeting with your iPad? You can waste a pleasant hour or so, browsing these sites…
The first site that I have been watching for years is http://www.thesimplesailor.com/ run by an amazing bloke, Roger Taylor. Whenever I think that my boat is a bit small, I remember Roger and the fact that he sailed a 19′ bilge keeler north of the Arctic circle, to Greenland and back, circumnavigated Iceland, did the Azores etc etc. I attended a talk given by Roger at the Woodbridge Cruising Club some years ago. If you ever get a chance to hear him, do yourself a favour and don’t miss it. Not only does Roger sail solo, without an engine and with only the most basic electronics, he also filmed the trips! Make sure you have some spare time before settling down to watch them. Inspirational.
My second hero has to be a chap from up t’north, called David Hippey and his Mk1 Crabber Ruach. Having sailed no more that 15 miles in one go, and never having gone ‘offshore’ David sailed around the far north of Scotland, single handed in an old lift keel Crabber. Like Roger (above) not only did he achieve this he also filmed it. I keep going back to Davids blog at http://davidgoesoverthetop.blogspot.co.uk/and watching his films again and again.
Charles Stock, mentioned above, sadly passed away late last year. His book is a must for all fans of small boats and muddy water. His website is still up and running (I hope someone is maintaining it) and is well worth a visit at http://shoal-waters.moonfruit.com
Finally, for now, my list of Latter Day Heroes concludes with an old ugly bloke, who until recently sailed an old ugly boat (although his new one is rather pretty), Dylan Winter. His voice may be familiar to BBC R4 fans and he has even appeared on the telly from time to time, but for me his sailing films are the peak of his achievement to date. Dylan has an ‘eye’ for the right shot and the patience and knowledge to know where to find it. His blog can be found at http://www.keepturningleft.co.uk where his films can be seen for free, although Hi-Def DVD’s are available too.