Hello. I'm a writer/photographer who writes about and photographs all things nautical. As well as contributing articles to a range of magazines, I write books about boats, sailors and the sea (plus the occasional foray into economics). I have an archive of about 30,000 photos, mainly of sailing boats, and I'm regularly out on new assignments. I'm also interested in environmental issues and write an occasional blog about being a 'failed Eco-dad'. There's more info in About Me, and details of my latest book(s) below.
Did Nelson really say 'Kiss me Hardy'?
Out now! Ever wondered why boats are always referred to as 'she'? Or why a rope on a ship is rarely called a rope? Or where the highest tides and fastest currents in the world are? And did Britain's greatest naval hero really ask another man to kiss him before he died? Why Sailors Can't Swim is awash with maritime folklore, trivia and anecdotes for sailors and non-sailors alike. As the blurb says, it's "full of entertaining, surprising and insightful titbits about the history, science and culture of the sea. [...] Learn the origins of the myriad of nautical expressions that have crept into everyday English speech, and impress with your knowledge of bizarre and obscure nautical facts!" Published by Adlard Coles, May 2013.
Here's one I made earlier...
This is my first venture into self-publishing: a book of 60-plus pictures of the Irish Raid in September 2012, for which I was the 'embedded' photographer (see www.sailing-raids.com). Despite smashing one of my lenses on the second day and having to leave halfway through the event, I managed to get some good shots which have been published in more than a dozen magazines around the world – from Brazil to Japan. I've put a selection of my favourites in this book, along with some simple captions. Inevitably, it works out quite expensive (£41.46 plus p&p for the softback version), but I was genuinely impressed by the quality of the printing in the copy I ordered. If they can get the cost down a little more, this is definitely the way to go. Available from www.photoboxgallery.com/saltydog.
And here's one for the Titanoraks
I can't pretend I had any interest in the Titanic before I was asked to write this book. But I soon got interested, trawling through thousands of pages of first-hand testimonies about the disaster. I think what makes it so compelling as a story are the hundreds of interlocking stories of human suffering, courage and fallibility – as well as plain cowardice and selfishness. And there are bigger themes of man vs nature, corporate greed, institutional failure, etc. It really is all there! My book tells the story in 'real time' from the perspective of various passengers and crew – from the firestokers standing in the engine room when the first gush of water bursts through the hull, to the first class passengers who may or may not have paid their way to safety – all told in their own words (lightly edited). It was certainly one of the most engrossing assignments I've ever had, and I now count myself among the millions of Titanoraks out there. Published by Bloomsbury, April 2012.
More of that Irish craic..
Is that the No 9 bus?
I've waited years to get an article published in the iconic French magazine Chasse Maréewithout any luck. Now I've got three in a row, including two articles in the current issue: the second part of Uffa Fox (all 12 pages!) and the Irish Raid. Not that I'm complaining, you understand.
To be or knot to be...
200 knots tried, tested and rated. Well, I didn't tie them all, I just wrote the text. The folk at the International Guild of Knot Tyers provided the essential knot-tying expertise. Definitely one for the enthusiast.
Uffa Fox's French kiss
Chasse Marée have done a nice job translating my series on the legendary (and slightly mad) yacht designer Uffa Fox. It first appeared last year in WoodenBoat in four parts; CM have reduced it to two parts but given it 12 pages in their latest issue.