About Captain Cole

Captain Cole is an editor at Adlard Coles Nautical.

Blown away by Bloomsbury Australia!

Bloomsbury Down Under meets Bailey’s humans – we can’t decide whether we’re more jealous of the cake and tea or of Jackson the office dog…

Bailey Boat Cat

Yesterday mum popped in to meet all the Bloomsbury ladies in the Sydney office. She sat down and had afternoon tea with Sonia, Kirstin, Bethia and Kate but she was very honoured to meet a very impawtant canine called Jackson! He quietly runs the office and keeps the humans out of mischief while he quality controls everything.

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They were all so friendly and very excited about my book. I hope I get to go over in cat one day and meet them all myself.

It was another example of what a small world we live in when mum and Bethia realised they were both Cornish. Once mum had left and was wandering around Sydney with dad she was very surprised to run into Bethia again! They got chatting about Cornwall and realised that not only had they gone to the same primary school, but they were both in the same…

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Bailey Boat Cat lands a book deal!

We at Adlard Coles Nautical have some VERY exciting news to share… about one VERY special little boat cat…

Bailey Boat Cat is already making waves across the global blogosphere, thanks to his devilish good looks, feline philosophies of life aboard and, above all, his impossibly stylish little cat lifejacket.

And we are delighted to announce he has now given his official paw of approval to the contract for his very first book deal…

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Bailey practises his pawtograph

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After all that exertion, Bailey treats himself to a little rest

We can safely say that Bailey is the furriest, whiskeriest Adlard Coles author to date! And possibly the most photogenic – no offence to any of our other winsome writers, of course…

Fans of Bailey will have to wait until April 2014 to get their paws on a copy of his book – but watch this space for more tantalising tidbits to come!

And, until then, here’s a sneak preview of the cover… MIAOW!

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Take our survey and WIN a Reeds Nautical Almanac 2014!

Over here at Adlard Coles HQ we are keen to learn more about our readers, what sort of books you love, and what you want to read more about!

Help us out by taking our super speedy survey now, and you’ll be in with a chance of winning a copy of the coveted Reeds Nautical Almanac 2014, or a bundle of gorgeous nautical books fresh from our offices…

Click here to take the survey today!

The inimitable Reeds

The inimitable Reeds

Editors let loose on Southampton Water

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No one on the water was safe on Friday as the Adlard Coles Editorial team enjoyed a Big Day Out, sailing aboard Director Janet’s yacht, Caprice.

Waved off by a triumvirate of swans from our pontoon in Shamrock Quay Marina, Southampton, we beat upwind, tacking, tacking, and tacking again, until we almost appeared to know what we were doing. The breeze was scarce and cruising was slow, but our wonderful hosts took advantage of the conditions to set us to work helming, trimming the sails and perfecting our bowlines – all to varying degrees of success. Near Calshott, we picked up a mooring buoy for lunch, before pottering back to the marina.

Jess, Jenny and Liz even braved the water for a quick dip post-lunch. With bellies full of sandwiches and cake we jumped in, and promptly regretted it as it dawned on us just how cold and salty seawater actually is. But who can resist a spot of wild swimming amongst friends…?

L–R: Jess, Janet, Kirsty, Jenny, Liz, Jonathan

L–R: Jess, Janet, Kirsty, Jenny, Liz and Jonathan

Henley Royal Regatta: a spectator’s view

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Henley-on-Thames

For the morning commuter, London Paddington station’s platform 14 might have seemed a rather peculiar place this week. Across the station, whiffs of an imminent occasion were evident: a hatted lady ordering a flat white at Delice de France; a dapper chap queuing to buy Bombay Sapphire in M&S. But it was on platform 14 that they convened, in a startling blaze of red chinos.

For me, Henley Royal Regatta is something of a family tradition. My stepsisters’ grandfather rowed in it for over 30 years and, ever since, the family has taken it upon themselves to attend. Not that there’s anything arduous about it. Pimm’s and picnics, promenades and Prosecco – this is undoubtedly a most civilised way to spend a day. Just so long, that is, as you can navigate the strict dress code – dresses below the knee, please, ladies (this is the Stewards’ Enclosure, darling!) and not too revealing; wedges to prevent grassy foundering – it’s all something of a minefield. If you’re me, that is.

That aside, let’s not forget the point of the whole thing. Rowing. The regatta has been held annually ever since 1839, barring the two world wars. Henley is the perfect location, being the Thames’ only straight stretch of water this long (a mile and a half, or thereabouts). Races set off every five minutes, so it’s hard to miss the crews sculling their way upriver, accompanied by a smattering of applause from deck-chair spectators on the banks.

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The competitors work somewhat harder than the spectators

The particulars of the sport may likewise pass me by (for shame), but it’s difficult not to be seduced by the occasion. The glittering River Thames and its immaculate, verdant banks; the sunshine, so maddeningly bashful; the inevitable spots of rain, subject of wry, good-natured smiles between strangers.

Stripes and cravats, flannel and old boys’ caps; flowery flocks and wide brimmed hats – we spectators form a fellowship of sorts, like that between football fans on match day or fancy-dress party guests. We may be cold, unfriendly Londoners on any other day of the year, but today, lubricated by familial chatter and gin, we might just offer the neighbouring car a Waitrose sausage roll or two. Might.

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Not a lady-knee in sight, thankfully

The regatta continues for four more days of hard-fought rowing. Me, I’m back in my scruffy jeans in central London, with my no-longer-banned mobile phone by my side – back to reality with a bump. But a day spent on England’s riverbanks, with family and (to quote Mr McEwan) the comfort of strangers – well, it’s a bit of a magical thing, somehow. And, as it turns out, we don’t scrub up too badly after all.

Read Adlard Coles Nautical’s books on the glorious River Thames – click the cover to buy.

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Nightmares and rainbows

An ode to the prospect of a new boating season, by the Grand Mariner

There are nightmares and pitfalls everywhere in the boatyard at this time of year!

• A helpful rain shower just after completing the antifouling

• The boat next door spraying off after you’ve nicely polished & buffed the hull to a gleam

• Not realising you are tramping dark blue antifouling spots from the bottom of your shoes all over your nice white fibreglass deck

• Getting distracted and antifouling part of the prop in error

• Losing a critical tiny screw in the gravel

• The nearby hosepipe springing a leak and soaking your trolleyful of tools

• Worst of all – running out of teabags!

And then you look out over the water and see what awaits and the anticipation is almost tangible. The nightmares fade into an array of rainbows, beckoning all manner of pots of gold in the form of exhilarating passages, interesting landfalls or even just peaceful anchorages offering simple swimming and fishing opportunities – and watching the sun go down with glass or mug in hand of course. Bring on those days…!

No such lovely weather this year… but the anticipation is just as high

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The pay off for all that hard work…

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And here, in a nutshell, is what makes all the hard work worth it.

In pursuit of wild trout

We are delighted to publish a guest post from the author and blogger of Dartography. To read more of his musings on the pursuit of wild river trout in Dartmoor, click here.

IN ITS UPPER REACHES the East Dart flows out of high moorland, past the remains of Bronze Age hut circles scattered in the grass. The river tumbles over granite boulders in the wild valleys, as the land softens to rough grazing the river softens too. It winds under thickets of yellow flowered gorse and purple foxgloves. It carves out pools and glides in the peat.

At the head of a pool the river runs fast and shallow over gravel. At the tail it narrows again and the surface of the water is rough and broken. In the middle it is deep, the flow of water slow. In the food-poor water of a spate river fish can’t afford to be fussy eaters. The shortage of food is the likely reason many trout leave the river for richer feeding grounds at sea. They return as silver sea trout to spawn in the gravel beds of their birth.

The banks of the East Dart are high from the torrent of floodwater that ploughs through the course in winter. The summer level is lower, making it hard to stay out of sight. The clear water and many predators make the trout flighty. It is vital to keep out of sight if you want to see or catch them. The deeper water, shaded from the full strength of the sun, should hold the better fish. I crouch between the tall grass and watch. An olive mayfly drifts in the current, trapped by the surface film. A trout rises and it disappears.

Even in July the evenings are cool on Dartmoor. The sun sets early behind the tors. I slip into the river in the noisy fast water at the tail of the pool, hoping it will mask the splash from my wading boots.

I wait to see if I have disturbed my fish. It rises again to another trapped insect. I unhook an olive pattern from the cork handle of my fly rod, pull some line from the reel and flick it out in front of me. The rod comes up and the line peels out behind; I push it forwards and send the fly through the air towards the bend in the river beneath the gorse.

It lands a little short. I let it drift back to me so as not to disturb the pool, strip off a few more handfuls and cast again. The fly lands in front of the rising fish, drifts for half a second on the current and disappears in a swirl of broken water. I set the hook with a flick of the rod. The line zips tight and cuts the water as the trout takes off around the pool.

I bring him to the net and move into the shallows where I can slip the barbless hook out. A quick photo and back he goes. I hold him in the current to recover his strength in my fingers until he flicks his tail and shoots upstream. A blur of red spots on brown and gold flanks.

The ancestors of my trout swam up the estuary from Dartmouth as far back as 20,000 years ago. Some stay in the river and others follow the current back to saltwater and richer feeding. Under the stars on short summer nights the sea trout come back to the river.

A revolutionary new edition of Operation Sea Angler by Mike Ladle and Steve Pitts will be published by Adlard Coles Nautical in summer 2013.