Saari

I replaced her with Saari, a 32ft pilot cutter, designed and built by the great Colin Archer for a Finnish pilot. Ros and I set off for Brazil in her in 1975. We lived on board her for five years and I couldn’t stand up…

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Marishka

Marishka became part of our family for just a couple of years whilst I was teaching at the National Sailing Centre in Cowes, but she wasn’t big enough for my plan to follow the Viking route, so we looked around and found Hirta.

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Hirta

Hirta on her sea trials in 1911 Hirta, a 35ton pilot cutter, was built in 1911. She stars in my book ‘Topsail and Battleaxe’ and was part of a major BBC1 television series. She was built for Pilot Morrice in Polruan at Slade’s Yard (now Tom’s)…

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Westernman

You’d be forgiven for thinking Westernman an old boat when you look at this excellent photo, taken by Phil Stapleton in the Solent a few years ago. Hirta was replaced by Westernman, built in North America (1997) to a design drawn up by my friend…

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Constance

We bought Constance in Florida after selling Westernman. She's a classic Mason 44 design and is our first fibreglass yacht.   Here’s a few photos of her. I'll be updating them soon, but these will go for now. Above was taken on the Swedish east…

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Island Race

In 1994 I sailed round Britain in my 1911 pilot cutter Hirta to make a series for BBC2 called Island Race. Accompanying me were John McCarthy, the Beirut hostage, and Sandi Toksvig, comedienne. With John and Sandi, my crew and I juggled the 35ton gaff…

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Boatyard

This ten-part series was immensely popular and people still stop me in the street to say how much they loved it. It was first screened in 2005 on Discovery Realtime TV and frequently repeated – the last time on Quest. Sadly, another series doesn't seem forthcoming, which…

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Consulting & Expert Witness

Litigation opinions on questions of seamanship I've worked as an Expert Witness on several cases. These have included minor injuries sustained in small open craft, questions of seamanship, and precedent-setting issues relating to major ocean races. I read law at university, was at the Inner Temple, but…

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My life

I've been sailing all my life I started sailing back in 1961 when my Dad shoved me and a pal off on the Norfolk Broads in a 22-foot gaff sloop with no engine. That way you either learn fast or come to grief. I was…

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My wheels

Bikes and a Bentley I'm as happy talking about bikes as boats. I've been riding motorcycles since 1965. The bikes have included a 250cc BSA C15 that taught me about mechanical breakdowns, a 650cc Matchless that almost killed me at the age of 19, various…

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Journalism

My first article was written in 1987 when I was away cruising. It was accepted by a small paper. I then had the courage to offer a piece to 'Yachting Monthly'. They liked it, bought it and the rest, as they say, is history.  I've…

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