Just out – the new Pass Your Day Skipper

The new edition of Pass Your Day Skipper by David Fairhall and Peter Rodgers is now on sale. The book was originally by David but – at his invitation – I’ve expanded it and added lots of new material on electronic navigation, weather, and safety. The illustrations are by the famous sailing cartoonist Mike Peyton.

Peyton’s cartoons are still hilarious for any sailor, and most of the jokes are drawn from real-life incidents of a sort familiar to most of us. Anybody who’s been sailing for a while will have memories of their own mistakes, bad luck or cringe-worthy bad judgements: Peyton pins them all down.

The book is meant to be used as a crammer or revision text to study just before the exam, rather than as a detailed training course manual. It packs a lot of information into a slim volume that fits in a pocket. That means it can easily be consulted in the odd free moment, perhaps when travelling – and even for a last minute refresher on the way to the exam.

Pass Your Day Skipper is published by Adlard Coles, part of Bloomsbury, and costs ¬£14.99. Look for the 7th edition with both authors’ names on the cover. Some websites still seem to offer David’s earlier editions at a cut price alongside the new one.

Pass Your Day Skipper is a companion book to Pass Your Yachtmaster, which I also updated and expanded for a new edition, published in 2021.

Yachtmaster book out

The new, updated and expanded edition of Pass Your Yachtmaster is in the bookshops. It’s the best primer around for the RYA sailing qualification, and the only one with jokes – the serious stuff by David Fairhall and myself is leavened with lots of hilarious cartoons about sailing by the late Mike Peyton.

There’s a new chapter on electronic charts and fresh material on weather forecasting, safety equipment and other aspects of sailing offshore that have been changing in recent years as the technology improves.

Continue reading “Yachtmaster book out”

Back to the future – electronics on board

I was intrigued by the equipment list below, which is more than three decades old, because it was a reminder of how long we have been arguing about the risks and rewards of electronic navigation. I found the list in some old files I was checking last year for the sixth edition of Pass Your Yachtmaster by David Fairhall and Mike Peyton, which I was commissioned to update by Adlard Coles*.

A 1989 list of yacht electronics talked about at the Boat Show

The list was part of an article I produced for the Guardian newspaper about electronics for small boat navigation, under the headline ‘And a satellite to steer her by’, researched by talking to manufacturers due to appear at that year’s London Boat Show. I had forgotten all about it.

Continue reading “Back to the future – electronics on board”

July – launch date at last

So far the only boating I’ve done the entire year is rowing my little dinghy to harvest some luscious but otherwise inaccessible early blackberries hanging over the water.

This lovely little lapstrake boat, a Roger Oughtred design called a feather pram, is too fragile to want to knock it about on beaches as a yacht tender, so I keep it safe on our pond.

Continue reading “July – launch date at last”

April – sea fever

It’s the time of year when we recommission Spring Fever, paint the bottom, ready the gear and sails, update the charts and clean and polish the hull. These essential rituals lead up to that perfect moment when we head out from the harbour and the bow first rises to the swell from the sea – a clich√©, I know, but it is a spring-time experience always  to savour.

That’s impossible with the boatyard shut and we, the owners – as a slightly-older category of person – banned from leaving home. It’s only when I can’t get on a boat as the summer approaches that I realise quite how much it still means after all these years. Sitting here in Suffolk, 20 miles from the coast, the east wind smells of the sea and, if I’m not careful, I’ll soon be reciting John Masefield.

Continue reading “April – sea fever”