Treasured Islands

The British Isles comprises some 6,000 islands, though only 194 of them are inhabited. In his new book, Treasured Islands, Peter Naldrett explores 200 of the most beautiful and most interesting, making it (to quote TV presenter and writer Ed Stafford), ‘The definitive guide to Britain’s quirky and rugged islands. Islands have always had a mysterious allure – Peter has managed to capture the magical essence of our old favourites and lesser known gems.’ In this blog, Peter looks at some of the most remote and isolated.

On Lindisfarne it comes with the twice-daily rising of the tide.

Islands such as Eigg off the west coast of Scotland find it arrives when the ferry departs for the fall time of the day.

However the quiet hush of isolation greets you, it’s something you’re not likely to forget. Being cut off from the bright lights of the nearest mainland town or village has an allure of discovery, the adventure of surviving in an environment you’re not used to.

Island life is not for everyone, I’ll readily admit. Don’t think about moving to Barra if you’re the type of person who has to pop out to the nearest Tesco Express every night. But even the most ardent urbanite will find magic in the silence that descends on many of our British islands at night – even if it’s only for a short stay.

And there is no shortage of opportunities for a trip to a British island. There are literally thousands of them, with a couple of hundred being home to humans. And if you’re looking to explore, you’ll find there are islands in our waters to suit all tastes.

If theme parks and ice creams are your thing, head to the Isle of Wight or Canvey Island. For beaches and fine weather, venture to the Scillies. Rugged beauty can be discovered on many Scottish isles, with food treats waiting in Wales and traditional music among other attractions in Ireland.

Whilst travelling around Britain, Ireland and further afield to write this book, I focused on just over 200 of our finest, most treasured islands and exactly what their allure is.

And all the time I kept coming back to that one constant feature; isolation and a break from the mainland rat race.

Lindisfarne, a tidal island in the north east of England, experiences this solace twice a day. Huge posters remind day trippers to set off back in time to beat the racing tide and photos of flooded vehicles urge them not to leave it too late. After they have deserted the island – and many of the island’s workforce have left, too – the place takes on a completely different feel, taking you back in time to experience a peaceful kind of silence.

Eigg is not a tidal island, but it experiences a similar kind of isolation every day when the ferry leaves the jetty, and a sense of excitement when it returns with new supplies and visitors.

Bad weather can – and frequently does – bring an end to the timetable and sometimes it can mean folk are stranded for days by the harsh weather felt in these parts. When I was making my trip, I met people who had visited the vets on the mainland and had to stay an extra couple of days because of a storm. Even the simplest of tasks need a risk assessment on some of our islands.

Writing this book has been a fabulous challenge over the last three years and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed visiting these incredible places, revisiting some but heading to many for the first time. The people who live on our islands face tough challenges, that much is clear, but they are also blessed with inspiring landscapes and a superb array of wildlife. They are often serene destinations, and I could see myself living on some of them in the future, so much was I smitten by the character of places like Orkney. More than once I found myself looking longingly at an estate agent window weighing up the opportunities.

Island life often reminds you that you’re part of a bigger picture where nature is king. I’d urge you to spend as much time as possible in that bigger picture and explore as many of these fantastic places as you can.

Here is a sample of the types of places you can expect to read about in the book – so check out my brief guide to some of our quirkiest island destinations.


1. Spend a night on the tidal island of Lindisfarne, enjoying the quiet when the day-trippers go home.

2. Climb the ancient steps of Skellig Michael to discover the stone buildings made famous in the Star Wars series of films.

3. Book an overnight stay on Lundy to find tranquillity in the Bristol Channel.

4. Peace, quiet and fabulously dark skies make Coll the perfect island for stargazing.

5. Leave your car on the mainland and take your tent to Bryher for an idyllic stay on the Isles of Scilly.

6. Soak in the views of the Old Man of Hoy, standing on the cliffs of this quiet island in Orkney.

7. Walk along the gorgeous white sand beaches of Berneray to give your travels a tropical feel.

8. Iona is famous for spiritual solitude and personal retreats, but even a day trip here will nourish the soul.

9. Walk on the magnificent limestone pavements of Inishmore, enjoying fabulous views of the Atlantic Ocean from the west coast of Ireland.

10. Spend a few hours rummaging through the creative and artistic wares on sale during the open days on Eel Pie Island.

Treasured Islands is published on 26th June, RRP £18.99. You can pre-order it with a 10% discount direct from our website here:

Our spring reads highlights

With Europe’s most successful vaccination programme and the coronavirus now apparently in full retreat, Britain can hopefully look forward to a long, hot summer of largely unrestricted freedom to enjoy time out on the water. In this spring reads blog we highlight a carefully curated selection of our books, both new and well established, all of which will help you and everyone else get the most from sailing in 2021.

All of these books are currently available at a discount price if you buy them direct from the Bloomsbury website. Just click on the promo price links to take you to the right pages.


Go Sailing (RRP £12.99, promo price £11.69) is our new guide for complete beginners. Assuming no knowledge of what to do when sailing, this is a practical, inspiring and accessible guide to all the basics (and beyond), packed with colour photos and other helpful illustrations. If you want to encourage anyone to join you on the boat, or take up sailing as a new pastime, then this is the book you – or more importantly they – need.

The Sailing Bible (RRP £25, promo price £22.50) is exactly what it says on the cover. It is the complete hands-on manual packed with detailed step-by-step diagrams, lively photographs and helpful advice on getting the most out of sailing, at whatever level. It covers everything from knots to navigation, racing to rules of the road, maintenance and repair to reading the weather, plus lots more besides.


Reeds Skipper’s Handbook (RRP £8.99, promo price £8.09) is one of the best-selling books we have ever published because it is quite literally the book every sailor (whether skipper or crew) needs in their pocket. It is the essential aide memoire to everything you need to know when on board, written in a concise fashion for quick and easy reference, with clear colour illustrations throughout.

Complete Day Skipper (RRP £25, promo price £22.50) is the book you need if you have decided this year is the year you finally go for your Day Skipper qualification. Written by sailing legend Tom Cunliffe, and updated only last year, he covers everything you need to know, following the Day Skipper syllabus but also adding his own personal insights so you get the full guide to getting the qualification but a lot more besides.


Around the Coast in 80 Days (RRP £16.99, promo price £15.29) is the perfect guide to anyone heading to the coast this year, regardless of whether they arrive by car, bike, foot or boat. Author Peter Naldrett has selected 80 locations around the British coast that represent the very best of what our country’s seaside has to offer, whether that is an exciting coastal town or a remote and tranquil spot ideal to unwind after the stresses of the past year.

The Boat Cookbook (RRP £18.99, promo price £17.09) is just what you need before the restaurants reopen properly again – and perhaps afterwards too. Going beyond the usual pre-packaged approach to preparing meals on board, this book is full of tasty, inspiring and filling recipes that can still be prepared in the smallest of galleys with the minimum of washing up. Many of them are so good you’ll want to make them at home too.


Canals of Britain (RRP £30, promo price £27) is the most comprehensive survey of Britain’s canals ever compiled. Uniquely drawn from author Stuart Fisher’s travels along the entire network by canoe, it is packed with colour photography, maps and fascinating text covering everything from history and architecture to folklore, wildlife and art. All key attractions close to the canals are featured, for a great day out.

Great Waterways Journeys (RRP £16.99, promo price £15.29) is even more of a travel guide to the canals, focusing on specific routes, through cities, spectacular landscapes and idyllic countryside. With route maps and practical information for boaters, cyclists and walkers, however you’re thinking of visiting Britain’s inland waterways, this is the one-stop guide to the many stops en route.

An Unsurprising SUPrising

Later this month we publish The Paddleboard Bible, just in time for spring and the gradual relaxing of Covid restrictions as we head towards the summer. In this blog, author Dave Price explores how a niche pastime a couple of decades ago has become the fastest-growing watersport, even before it became the ideal staycation activity last year.

2020 saw an explosion on our coasts and inland waters, a massive boom in stand-up paddleboarding (known as SUP), which is a combination of surfing and canoeing. The lockdown-induced desire to break free, aided by a beautiful sunny late spring, led to this cocktail of watersports bubbling up to much greater popularity, with individuals, families and small social groups taking the plunge. With every man, woman, and in some cases their dogs, embarking on SUP trips, safety is a significant concern.

As this spring begins it is vital that paddlers understand the role of flows, tides and different weathers. In some ways ‘Suppers’ may feel less at risk than kayakers, with not being trapped from the hips down. However, wind will have more effect on a paddleboarder, particularly when standing. Fortunately help is at hand! The Paddleboard Bible, being a complete guide to the activity, explains all the considerations necessary to plan a safe outing and many more things besides.

How long has SUP been going and where did it originate?

Many cultures and parts of the world could claim to have come up with the idea of paddling small canoe-like craft in a standing position. Much of the credit for originating the sport goes to Hawaii. It is believed that as early as the 16th century paddles were used with large surf boards. In the 1950s Hawaiian ‘Beach Boy’ surf instructors began paddling with surfboards to see swells earlier and to photograph their clients. In 1995 top surfers there began ‘Supping’ as a form of training and had paddles specially made. Around a decade later production paddleboards became available and SUP was diversifying from surfing into racing, touring, river paddles, yoga and fishing.

During the last ten years paddleboarding became the world’s fastest growing watersport, but last year took this to a much higher level. From leading brands like Red Paddle Company to budget-friendly boards at Decathlon, sales saw an increase of over 400% on the previous year. This is despite a growth in the number of brands. The explosion in inflatable boards (particularly but not literally) is also due to the ease with which they can be stored and transported, making SUP one of the most accessible watersports. The Paddleboard Bible has a chapter to help you choose the right equipment for your needs.

Why the sudden surge?

With more ‘staycations’, more time off work for some and less to spend money on for others, Supping became a source of joy in a challenging year.

Paddling is a great way to socially distance. Unlike walking or cycling, you’re not limited to tracks. You have the freedom to take your own path. Obviously steering helps and the book explains all the techniques you need! The air feels particularly fresh on the water and sunlight lowers the chances of virus transmission as well as providing valuable vitamin D. If you take a tumble, a refreshing dip will stimulate your immune system. The book has tips to help you avoid falling along with many games and challenges that could have the opposite effect, though laughter is the best medicine.

The benefits of ‘blue space’

Mental health has been in the forefront of people’s minds during lockdowns. Supping is particularly good for helping with this. ‘Blue space’ has become a term referring to the calming effects of water. Simply lying on a gently rocking board is wonderfully relaxing. A few minutes paddling on a river can wash your worries downstream. The physical side works off the frustrations of the day while communing with nature massages the deeper reaches of your emotional well-being.

SUP yoga is extremely popular. Yoga teachers sometimes suggest imagining a beautiful beach or lake. With SUP yoga you might not need to. Like yoga, SUP is particularly good for strengthening your core, realigning your spine and stabilising the muscles around problem areas like knees. The combination of the two activities is particularly beneficial and challenging! The Paddleboard Bible features SUP yoga but also more adrenalin fuelled branches of the sport including SUP surfing, racing and even white water.

Put the fizz in your physique

SUP is brilliant for physical health too, being a great all-round workout against the resistance of the water. You’ll feel and look your healthiest. For this reason it is very popular amongst celebrities such as actors and singers. Fortunately you don’t have to be famous to embrace this accessible sport. You’re not only in good company, you’re part of an inclusive, life-enriching, rapidly growing and undeflatable club! There are many local groups you can join too and the book’s final chapter describes the flourishing social side.

So it’s like walking on water; it’s a miracle cure for bad backs, dodgy knees and stress; sadly it can’t turn water into wine but it is pleasantly addictive and sociable and The Paddleboard Bible is your essential guide to enjoying it to the full!

The Paddleboard Bible (9781472981479) is published on 18th March, RRP £18.99. You can pre-order it with a 10% discount direct from our website here:

Being prepared to handle an emergency on board

Next month we publish Seamanship 2.0, which, as the subtitle reveals, covers everything you need to know to get yourself out of trouble at sea. With fantastic illustrations, this practical handbook will help develop skills and build confidence in the most essential of seamanship skills. In this blog, author Mike Westin writes about being better prepared to handle an emergency on board.

Three out of the four authors of Seamanship 2.0 have been lifeboat coxswains and lifeboat volunteer crew for many years and in that job have seen a lot of situations, that in some cases could have been a ‘danger to human life’, which would be the basic definition of an emergency situation at sea (in an emergency at sea, every boat within the vicinity must try to help – unlike on land where the same laws do not apply).

When out there, what sometimes surprises us the most is how many boat owners react with apathy and/or indifference, instead of trying to proactively resolve a situation. It may be in very non-threatening circumstances, such as the engine won’t start when the wind is failing, or when a boat is nearing lee shore in a gale and a skipper really needs to react to save the boat and possibly lives.

There are various studies that have looked into how people react in stressful situations. They usually confirm that very few people feel ‘panic’ in its proper sense. Rather, it is fear combined with a measure of anxiety that gives an inability to act rationally.

The conclusion from these studies is that young men, and mothers with small children, are the ones who to the greatest extent act proactively. Trying to escape the situation is another reaction that a small percentage across ages will do.

On the other hand, a large percentage of middle-aged men seldom try to act on their own – instead they often become dead possums and wait for someone else to take the initiative. Even when this happens, it is common for this group to not respond actively, even after direct orders. Apathy at different levels has been described in the sinking of both the Titanic and Estonia

Without going into the incomprehensible underlying psychological causes that are partly (up to 60 per cent) genetically determined from hundreds of thousands of years ago, we can only confirm that we often see normal boat owners not do much other than possibly pick up the phone to ask someone else to remedy the situation. When we arrive with the rescue boat, they may have drifted ashore, even though if they had thrown into the anchor they may have been able to avoid this. Or, what happened to the paddle that would be on board according to the safety recommendations in the 1960s and 70s? Okay, maybe the last solution is only for smaller boats of which there are few today…

We suspect it is a combination of little real-life boating experience, stress and perhaps the expectation of always having rescue resources around the corner, that causes a skipper to expect that ‘someone’ (often the RNLI, Coastguard, SAR helicopter or similar) will always show up and fix everything.

Very few people know their stress-to-panic-limit because it’s extremely rare that we are exposed to excess (real) stress. And when we do, we can rarely do anything about the situation (eg in a traffic accident or in a robbery).

One of the advantages of working with SAR services is that you yourself are also exposed to substantial stress from time to time. Therefore, we can learn how we function in these situations. This is largely due to the fact that we as lifeboat crew (as well as firefighters, ambulance paramedics, lifeguards etc) try to recreate various emergency situations for training purposes. During training, we can make mistakes, we can stop and take a couple of deep breaths and afterwards we will get valuable feedback on what worked and what did not during debriefings.

How can this be transferred to regular boat owners? To begin with, you need to have a plan (and a plan B for backup) then practise, both on your own and with your crew. Where is the first-aid kit stored, what is the immediate thing to do if a crew member falls overboard or what to do if a fire starts in the engine compartment?

You can actually do quite a lot just by mentally going through a possible scenario step by step and thinking on how to act (this is where a book like Seamanship 2.0 will help!). Then run through the situations with your crew and practice, practice, practice.

Some tips:

  • Assume that it is you – as skipper – who must save yourself and your crew, though do call for help immediately if there is a danger to human life. if you solve it, you can later call back and cancel the emergency
  • While waiting for outside assistance, try to handle the situation; ‘buy time’ (drop an anchor before drifting into shallow waters when the engine has stopped, make a pressure dressing immediately to reduce bleeding (or just press a hanky on the bleeding wound while waiting for a bandage), start CPR straightaway when a person has fainted and no longer breathing normally, take down sails when you have run aground, tow a burning boat out from a full harbour, learn to get a position by taking bearing when the digital charts blacks out and so on
  • Take a training course (or several) to be better prepared for handling different stressful situations

After an emergency (or training session) always debrief to reduce the chances of after-effects from a stressful situation, and so you all learn something from what happened.

Saving a boat from sinking or burning out is not an emergency. An emergency is only when there’s a danger to life and a human life needs saving. The boat itself is for the owner or their insurance company to take care of. Often it is easier for us on the lifeboat to tow the affected boat, with its crew to safety, rather than trying to transfer them to the lifeboat…

Seamanship 2.0 is published on 18th March (ISBN 9781472977021). You will be able to buy it through all good bookshops and chandleries at an RRP of £14.99, but you can pre-order it with a 10% discount direct from our website:

A preview of 2021 in books

Last year may have been tough for most of us, but here at Adlard Coles we’ve been busy commissioning, editing and printing books in the confidence that one day all our current problems will be behind us. So in anticipation of the moment when we can be free on the water once more, we thought we would highlight a selection of upcoming books we will be publishing in the first half of 2021. All of these books can be pre-ordered now (with a special 10% discount) by following the links to our website.


The Canal du Midi is the most popular waterway in France, and in her must-have compact travel guide, Andrea Hoffmann covers all the practical information and sightseeing opportunities boaters need to know about, including suggested itineraries for easy planning, insider tips for where to stop off, highlights not to miss, recommended restaurants, and essential practical information on how and where to charter, locks, bridges, berths and more.

Our popular Reeds Handbook series of pocket-sized guides to all manner of issues important to sailors is expanded this year with the Reeds 9 Language Handbook, which covers (with clear, annotated illustrations) all the topics and terms sailors will need to refer to when abroad, in English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Danish, Portuguese and Greek.


Seamanship 2.0 by Mike Westin is a lavishly illustrated and comprehensive practical handbook covering essential seamanship skills – everything a skipper will need to know when the tech goes down, or when they encounter a challenge at sea. It includes best practice, problem solving, emergencies and first aid, helping you to either avoid issues or know how to cope with them if they happen.

Anyone going for their Day Skipper needs to get their Short Range Certificate, and the Reeds VHF Handbook by former Reeds Almanac editor Andy Du Port includes all anyone using a VHF DSC radio system needs to know, whether as part of the syllabus or to fully understand their new equipment. It covers everything radio procedure and channel allocation to VHF radio theory, along with a full explanation of GMDSS.

Last year accelerated the boom in paddlesports, and this year we will be launching our new list of books devoted to all manner of topics related to canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding. Our first title, the Paddleboard Bible by Dave Price, covers absolutely everything you need to know about paddleboarding, whether a rank beginner, someone looking to buy, maintain or repair a board, or someone with experience looking for where SUP can take them.


First published over 50 years ago and now in its fourteenth edition, Through the French Canals by David Jefferson is the bible for anyone cruising through the scenery of the French waterways, or on passage from the English Channel to the Mediterranean. Over 50 different routes are featured, with details of distances, depths, heights of bridges, tunnel lengths and stopping points, along with practical advice on everything from suitable berths to costs and waterway signals.


Duncan Wells’ Stress-Free series has proved very popular with readers, and we will soon publish the second edition of the book that started it all, Stress-Free Sailing. For those sailing single or short handed, this highly illustrated book is packed with step-by-step solutions to all manner of situations cruisers may face, including advice on sail-setting, reefing, mooring, anchoring, sailing in heavy weather, navigation and safety.

Described by TV presenter Ed Stafford as ‘the definitive guide to Britain’s quirky and rugged islands,’ Treasured Islands by Peter Naldrett features all 200 of the British Isles’ inhabited islands. Many you can sail to, and in this unique travel guide, Peter covers everything from must-see attractions to wildlife, history, local food specialities and places to stay.

Tied to the community

Many of our authors could tell a story about the writing of their books, but Nic Compton’s is particularly touching. His new book A Knot a Day is a wonderful collection of 365 knot-based projects (from mastering a bowline to making a garden swing for the kids), and is something all of us here would have liked to have had to see us through our time at home this year.

It was just after the start of the first UK lockdown that the commission for my new book came through. It was called A Knot a Day and was intended to contain 365 knots – a knot for each day of the year – with the accent firmly on the practical and the fun. It was the perfect lockdown project, or so it seemed. And so I buried myself in my garden office and started researching 165 new knots to go with the 200 I already had. And what a wealth of interesting knots I found to go alongside the standard knot fare: there were knots for ladders, swings and zipwires; knots for bracelet, necklaces and keyrings; knots for shoelaces, ties and scarves – and a whole raft of ‘magic’ knots, which proved especially challenging.

Trouble was, although lockdown was an ideal time for researching and writing about stuff, it wasn’t so good for getting hold of materials and, eventually, the models I’d need to take the photos – for I was determined as much as possible to take the knots out of the studio and into ‘real’ life. For a start, I’d need a lot more rope than I happened to have on my various boats, but it was hard to know exactly what sort. In desperation, I posted a message on social media asking if anyone could lend me some rope. Straight away I got a reply from the local forest school teacher, saying she would lend me what turned out to be a rucksack full of climbing rope, including several different coloured lengths of paracord (thanks Lisa!). Next, a crafty friend from up the road offered me a bag full of macramé string of different colours and sizes, mostly unopened (thanks Caroline!).

For the next few weeks I had a great time, heading off to the woods with my kids to photograph various outdoorsy knots, up to Dartmoor for the climbing knots, and to Bantham Beach for kite and three-legged race knots (thanks Betty and Sol!). My son even helped with the simpler magic trick knots, and my daughter obliged by modelling some strange and unusual shoelace knots (her pink trainers were just the trick!). When all else failed, my wife stepped into help, as well as providing invaluable styling advice (thanks Anna!). But, inevitably, after a while their enthusiasm waned and I realised I need some fresh blood. By then, the lockdown restrictions had eased and we were allowed to meet in small numbers and mix with friends at a social distance.

It started off with a couple of my daughter’s friends, who had heard about the book and were keen to have their photos in there too (thanks Daisy and Esme!). And, if they were going to have their photos in the book, then their parents weren’t going to be left out either (thanks Jo and Steve!). By then, I had cleared half my office and turned it into a photographic studio. To get more an age mix, I asked my daughter’s piano teacher and her sister (who also taught my daughter the piano!) to model some of the scarves (thanks Tabitha and Matilda!). To help redress the gender balance, the waiter at the local quayside café had been furloughed and was more than happy to spend four days with me trying out different tie knots and grappling with the harder magic knots (thanks Graham!). And that’s not to mention the important task of modelling the various cat and dog accessories (thanks Mitzy and Winnie!)

Help came in other forms too. I snapped up a rustic coffee table a friend was giving away on a community group, which became the default background for most of my studio shots (thanks Kate!). And, when I tired of that, my builder lent me a stunning black slate (thanks Steve!). The village shop had stopped stocking the lighters I needed to seal the ends of rope, but luckily one of the assistants had just stopped smoking and was delighted to offload some of her leftover lighters (thanks Kirsten!). And those aren’t just any woods featured in the photos; they belong to the grandfather of one of my daughter’s friends (thanks Anthony!).

In the end, more than 20 people in the village contributed to the book in some form – a genuine and generous community effort, for which I am hugely grateful. For most, their only payment was a paracord ninja turtle figure (see page 335 of the book) and a free copy of the book. And yet, strangely, this community involvement was only made possible due to the lockdown. At any other time, most of these people would have been too busy to spend time modelling photos of knots, but as it turned out the project provided a break from the monotony of lockdown.

By the time I finished, Jo was back at work training guide dogs for the blind, Steve was back providing educational facilities at the zoo, Tabitha was back in Bristol studying dentistry, Matilda was in Cardiff studying music, Graham was at Reading doing a PhD in maritime history… Life has returned to almost-normal, and it seems unlikely that the circumstances which created the book will never happen again. For, apart from being a fun and informative book of knots, for me A Knot A Day will always be a snapshot of Lockdown 2020 and of a community that came to help.

A Knot a Day is published on 10th December, RRP £16.99. You can buy it at a special discount direct from our website here:

Elvstrøm Explains the Racing Rules

The Olympic Games may have been postponed this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but World Sailing have released their changes to the racing rules bang on time. The 2021 to 2024 rules kick in come January, and this week we published our bestselling guide, Elvstrøm Explains the Racing Rules.

As well as containing the full rules and a guide to all the changes, the book takes a unique approach to explaining them, featuring bird’s-eye view diagrams, comprehensive examples of racing situations and cross references to the relevant World Sailing case studies. This approach was originally devised by Paul Elvstrøm, arguably the greatest Olympic sailor of all time, whose gold medal record has yet to be broken decades later. It has continued to be updated by his son-in-law and international racing judge, Søren Krause.

Long established as the most accessible and most trusted guide to the racing rules, the book also includes a confidence-building section on how to present your case in a protest, and the back cover shows the signal flags for instant easy reference on the race course.

However, the aspect we are most excited to reveal is the return of the plastic boat models for use during protest hearings. These were dropped from the previous edition but we have listened to feedback from customers and found a way to bring them back just the way you will remember them. As before, they are transparent but coloured differently so can also be used with an overhead projector.

We hope Elvstrøm Explains the Racing Rules helps all racers, whether you’re in a dinghy, keelboat or larger yacht, and as with all our books, we really appreciate all feedback you send us. We publish books for you, and we are always interested in hearing what our readers have to say. Please do feel free to get in touch with any comments or suggestions via or on Twitter (@ReedsNautical) or Facebook.

You can order the latest edition direct from us at a special discount here:

Jimmy Cornell: the future is electric

Jimmy Cornell needs no introduction to long-distance cruising sailors (or those who dream of it). He has sailed several hundred thousand miles around all the oceans of the world, launched rallies for cruisers to follow in his wake, and written several bestselling guides, most notably the classic World Cruising Routes, now in its 8th edition. 2020 is Jimmy’s 80th year, but never one to stop for long, he is about to embark on one of his most adventurous voyages yet. In this blog he explains where he’s going, how, and the reason why.

In 2010 I sold my Aventura III and, as I was 70, felt that the time had come to call it quits. That didn’t last long and by 2013, with accelerating climate change increasingly making the news for those who were prepared to listen, I decided to get another boat and attempt to transit the Northwest Passage. Described by scientists as the “canary in the mine” of global climate, whatever happens there eventually spreads to the rest of the world. I did manage to transit this once impenetrable waterway, now opening up as a consequence of climate change. I also saw the consequences of global warming affecting the local population. With mission accomplished, in 2017 I sold Aventura IV, and that was it. But not for long, as three years later, with climate change surpassing the worst predictions, I decided to put retirement on hold for a bit longer and try something completely different. Like sailing around the world on a fully electric boat along the route of the first circumnavigation 500 years previously.

My concern for the state of the oceans has been strongly influenced by my own observations during 45 years of roaming the oceans of the world, as well as being regularly reconfirmed by my research into global weather conditions when I am updating my various books. The 500th anniversary of the first round the world voyage seemed the perfect opportunity to sail that same route and do it in an electric boat with a zero carbon dioxide footprint.

As to the historic dimension of my project, its aim is not only to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the first round the world voyage but also to put right a persistent wrong. The first circumnavigation continues to be attributed to the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan.  In fact, the Basque sailor Juan Sebastian Elcano should be credited with this achievement, as he sailed with Magellan from the start in 1519, took over the leadership of the expedition when Magellan was killed in the Philippines, and completed the voyage in 1522. Hence the Elcano Challenge but with a play on words: EL.CA.NO.   ELectricity. CArbon. NO.

Aventura Zero is a 48-foot Outremer catamaran with propulsion provided by two 15 kW electric saildrives.  The Finnish company Oceanvolt have been working on electricity regeneration for the last twenty years and have produced an ingenious system based on their ServoProp variable pitch propeller. The configuration of the specially designed blades is capable of delivering optimal efficiency both forward and reverse, and also in hydro-generation mode. When sailing, the propellers are capable of generating an estimated 800 to 1,000 W at 6 to 8 knots. In addition, Aventura Zero will also have a large amount of solar panels (1,300 W).

Aventura Zero was launched at the Outremer boatyard in the south of France in late August and we have a provisional departure in the second half of October. The 32,000-mile voyage is an ambitious undertaking, but I am prepared to take on the challenge and show that such a concept is viable for a cruising boat, and should become the norm in the long term.

For many years I have been ending my long-distance cruising seminars telling the audience that the most beautiful moments in life are still to come. I am the living proof of that.

You can read more about Jimmy and order all of his books at a 10% discount on our website here: You can also follow the progress of Jimmy’s preparations and the voyage on his website here.

A state of mind for high latitude sailing

The Reverend Bob Shepton won Yachtsman of the Year in 2014 for his adventurous sailing adventures to remote polar regions. In a new book, co-authored with fellow high latitude sailor Jon Amtrup, he shows you how you too could follow in their wake. In this exclusive extract, Bob and Jon take a look at the state of mind necessary for these kinds of voyages.

Sailing in the high latitudes requires experience, planning, stamina, guts and a special state of mind. As with most other things, you can train for a high latitude expedition. If you live in a country with a winter season – use it actively for cruising. Don’t put your boat on the hard for the cold season. Spend the weekends and afternoons sailing so that you are prepared for the real thing. Start in the autumn. Anchor in small bays that are partially exposed to learn anchoring techniques and how to arrange lines ashore. Read the weather forecast thoroughly to avoid putting yourself in dangerous situations when training. When lines and anchor are set properly, you will be surprised how much wind and sea you can ride out. Be sure always to have an exit plan if things should turn out for the worst.

3 DD amongst the icebergs Uummannaq. Photo Ben Ditto, my camera - Copy - Copy

Exploring in remote areas is a challenging mind exercise. It’s not just about keeping warm and alert. As you sail along a new coast where the weather can be highly unstable, you always need to have contingency plans.

Think worst-case scenarios for when sailing, before anchoring and after you have set your anchor. What if the wind shifts? Will the anchor hold? Will ice come drifting? Where can I escape to? Do I have enough room to manoeuvre?

Always have a back-up plan for the back-up plan. Self-sufficiency and being prepared for redundancy are the key in high latitudes. And to avoid problems it is important to have established routines that work:

– Always have the boat ready for rough weather, both below and on deck. Make sure everything has its own place on board, and that everyone puts things back after use. This will give you the ability to hoist anchor immediately without a lot of things breaking or being thrown around down below.

– Establish routines on deck so that you sail with a clean deck. If you have to stow diesel cans, dinghy etc on deck, make sure they are always secured when not in use.

– Potential breakages or chafe or anything else that can become a problem must be fixed straight away. If your mindset is ‘it can wait until tomorrow’, then the problem might be a whole lot bigger and the weather much worse when it becomes essential to fix it. The moral is to fix things immediately. Always.

– Also establish routines when sailing into the night. It’s a good habit to check all halyards and sheets before night falls. They must run free and not be tangled with other lines or the rig. Prepare the sails you expect to use during the night. If you are sailing along a coast, think about which anchorages or harbours you could go into along the way if the weather should turn bad, or the feeling of tiredness becomes too overwhelming.

– When starting the engine, always check for lines in the water before pushing the button. Then check that the cooling water is pumping out freely and no unusual sound is coming from the engine. Check the oil level every morning before heading out.

– You are probably doing these things already, but all this is routine that will heighten your awareness and most likely give you a trouble-free and happy expedition.

– Think comfort before speed. It is always better to wait a few hours, or even a day or two, instead of setting out into a nasty sea or bad weather prognosis. It is easier on the boat and crew. And to be perfectly honest, what does a day or two matter in the grand scheme of things? Take the time to enjoy yourself where you are, right now.

High Latitude Sailing (ISBN: 978-1-4729-7327-6) is published on 3rd September, RRP £25. You can buy with a 10% discount direct from us here:

From the editors of the Reeds Almanacs

It’s been a challenging year for the editors of the Reeds Almanac, but they have certainly risen to that challenge. In this blog, one of the editors, Perrin Towler, takes a look at the impact of both the pandemic and Britain leaving the EU, both this year and in future. Check out the bottom of this blog for our current special deals for the 2021 Almanac.

Success! We have compiled, edited and proofed the 2021 edition of the Almanac in spite of the pandemic. It is now winging its way to the printers to be available for distribution later this month. This has been a challenging year for harbours and the marine industry as a whole. Just as Brexit was set to alter continental cruising Covid struck.

Although both may be seen as disasters, in reality, they represent periods of change and uncertainty. This is unsettling for everyone but presents us as the editors particular problems. What will be the shape of things to come? How do we predict what rules will be in place in March next year? The truth is we can’t and with the loss of boat shows and other forums many in yachting are feeling their way. Reeds is well placed to adapt and relay these changes to sailors using its unique structure of monthly updates based on input from the harbours, marinas and our network of agents. This perhaps underlines the value of having professionally compiled information, as so much data on the internet is cached and out of date.


The restrictions are now easing and some are ‘staying local’ while others ‘head west’. Foreign excursions are somewhat speculative at this time. It is worth thinking of the changes in berthing – limited rafting, fewer berths and distanced communal facilities in showers and heads. Help the marinas by phoning ahead and ensuring that you have a place to berth. It is debatable how summery August is – it can be changeable and a secure berth is always welcome at the end of a passage. It is a good time to take advantage of the increasing opportunities to dine ashore too.

It is not all gloom and doom. The quiet period has also allowed progress in the refurbishment of facilities in the UK and abroad. Beaulieu has completed the first stage of the walk ashore pontoons, and Dover progresses the Western Docks Revival. Abroad, improvements to ports and marinas include new pontoon layouts and visitor arrangements for Nazare in Portugal and Crouesty in S Brittany and a new chartlet with expanded information for Le Guilvinec a busy fishing port is now actively welcoming visitors.

We welcome feedback and we are already getting the first reports in from intrepid mariners already underway. We are looking forward to a busy Autumn trying to collate the inevitable changes and fallout from them. Our biggest difficulty is getting information sufficiently far in advance. Covid in particular has seen almost instantaneous changes to regulation and advice. Our task is to ensure that there is a reliable and accurate framework of data and information to allow skippers to react appropriately and safely in this rapidly changing environment.

We are sharpening our pencils in anticipation!

The 2021 Almanac will be published on 20th August, and will be available through all good bookshops and chandleries (ISBN 978-1-4729-8021-2, RRP £49.99). You can pre-order direct from us and receive a £5 discount here: For our best price every year, check out our fantastic annual subscription here: