We have just published The Boatyard Book – a unique approach to the maintenance and repair all boatowners can expect to have to undertake, how to spot problems before they become serious, and how to tackle them in a cost-effective and long-lasting way. In this blog author Simon Jollands explains how he developed his idea for a comprehensive reference manual with an emphasis on the practical.
It is no secret that the Adlard Coles list includes some of the best practical boating guides ever published, so it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I pitched my original idea for The Boatyard Book to publisher Liz Multon back in April 2019. The idea was to create a book that would be “a boat owner’s guide to yacht maintenance, repair and refitting”. It was important to differentiate this guide from others on the list and to define the objectives clearly. Liz was a huge help with this and after some to-ing and fro-ing of emails we summarised these as follows:
- Boat care requires understanding the importance of knowing how to carry out boat inspections and troubleshoot problems before they develop into major issues. Boat care also entails understanding when and how to carry out essential annual maintenance. When major repairs and refits become necessary, a knowledgeable boat owner with greater understanding of what needs to be done will be in a better position to remain in control of the process and be confident when dealing with boatyard managers, professionals and suppliers of services and parts. All these aspects of boat care are dealt with in this book.
- The inclusion of advice and tips from professionals will provide very valuable information for owners, whether they are hands-on DIY fanatics or are happy to pay others to do the work for them. The aim is that the advice given will help owners to save money when any work needs to be done. This will apply to those who keep their yachts abroad as well as closer to home.
- The book will include case studies of real life experiences, not just step by step instructions on “how to” but clearly demonstrating pitfalls, difficulties encountered along the way and how problems were solved and the work finally completed. This will help owners to manage their expectations, to expect certain types of work to be more difficult and take longer than they anticipate and help them decide whether they are able to undertake the work themselves or better advised to call in the professionals.
- Another key objective is to provide advice on planning and budgeting aspects of boat ownership. Once again, this will include real life case studies of owner experiences.
The next couple of months proved very exciting as we developed the concept into a fully-fledged proposal that included the detailed editorial framework for the book, something that would be needed before the go ahead for the project could be given.
The original plan was to involve several UK boatyards and for it to be published in September 2020. I was keen to visit the yards and to document some case studies of repairs and refits which we could include in the book along with step by step photos of the work being carried out. The initial response from the yards was very positive. All was going fine until COVID-19 came along and scuppered our plans, as access to the yards was not possible during lockdown. A re-think was needed, as well as more time. Liz was very supportive and publication was re-scheduled for September 2021.
Having a well-planned editorial structure helped and I decided to research each chapter in depth and gather as much information as I possibly could about every aspect of the maintenance, repair and refitting of boats. I also decided to include case studies of the work I had carried out on my own boats over the years, which had not been part of my original plan. Thankfully I had a kept a photographic record of much of this work and this helped save the day. The extra time also enabled me to work on the graphic illustrations, something I enjoy doing but is often slow going.
I was very fortunate to have the input of several friends and connections who contributed to the book. These included Viki Moore, who helped me with her excellent yacht maintenance log. This provides a detailed annual plan for carrying out routine maintenance work and with Viki’s permission I featured this in the book as I thought readers would find this very helpful. Another key contributor was Henry Bettle, who is a first class surveyor and kindly wrote the Surveyor’s Tips which feature throughout.
I hope boat owners will find The Boatyard Book useful and help them with all aspects of boat care, however limited their practical skills and ownership of boats may be. The objective is to help owners build a detailed knowledge of their boat’s systems and help them troubleshoot, solve and fix potential problems, whatever their DIY expertise may be.
Which reminds me, my boat is due to come ashore soon so I’d better get my skates on…
The Boatyard Book is available now (ISBN 978-1-4729-7710-6, RRP £25) from all good bookshops, chandleries and our own website: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/boatyard-book-9781472977106/