Adventures of a Feline Afloat

Choo Choo & Martha are so excited to get their paws on their copies of Bailey Boat Cat. That they have kindly sent us here at Adlard Coles Nautical towers pictures of them reading the book.

Choo Choo11   Martha

Publishing today Bailey Boat Cat is a fantastic book which reveals the adventures that Bailey gets up to aboard his boat Nocturne. Where he loves nothing more than gazing wistfully out of portholes, lounging on the sun deck wearing his cat lifejacket, climbing the mast and generally fulfilling his important boat-cat duties – and blogging about them at baileyboatcat.com.

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Check out the Bailey Boat Cat Map, to see other cats reading their copies of the book.

To get your cat on the Bailey Boat Cat Map, please send us pictures of your cat reading Bailey Boat Cat to adlardcoles@bloomsbury.com

The Reluctant Boating Wife goes ocean cruising…

Well, dear Reader, I missed the boat, in every sense of the term. Having been the one to instigate the process which led to bringing forward the departure date from Rhode Island to Bermuda, I couldn’t complain when Richard did what we agreed, and took the first good weather window after Paul and Priscilla’s arrival on 11th October. So off they set on 15th, arriving on the 20th, as Richard’s blog relates (http://swallowtrip.blogspot.com/). I arrived in Rhode Island two days later, having delayed to allow time for the arrival of my first Grandchild, sweetest sweet William (who inevitably arrived early, but accordingly provided six weeks of delight before I left). Having feared snow, ice and storms in RI and for our passage, inevitably I found they were experiencing a superb Indian Summer. So Janet and I happily made our equivalent of hay in the sunshine, before I flew on to Bermuda on 22nd, in time to provision the boat before a projected 1st November departure. This eventually stretched out to an 8th November actual departure, with a few ‘Are we going? / Aren’t we going?’ false alarms along the way. This however gave us lots of time to bond with lovely Bermuda.

So how was my first proper ocean passage? Read on…

THE VIEW FROM THE STARBOARD BERTH

12 hours out from Bermuda, prone on the starboard bunk of the Catalina 380 I tried to make sense of the weird world bucketing around me, the strangeness of the movement and the creaking cacophony of stressed joinery, with base notes from the straining starboard shroud. Rough seas – yes, I’d been in some before. Seasickness – Tick. Multiple ticks actually. Difficulty moving around the cabin – of course. Fighting gravity and losing – Many times. But this violently twisty half-pitch half-roll was more, and through my haze of disorientation I was going to have to work out how to handle it. I reckoned I was probably safe from needing the loo for another couple of hours, so there was still time to work out my strategy for that. But my previously magic Scopolamine anti-sickness patch was showing its weaker side. It had protected me in the past from the effects of pitching, but the best it could do for me in this sea was to stop me from actually being sick, but not from the associated miserable sensations. Not that I wasn’t grateful for that – clearing up after myself would have been worse than the seemingly impossible loo mission. For now, lifting my head more than two inches above the bunk was not to be contemplated.

Unable to do anything physical, I occupied myself mentally. I was carrying the cheering image of the farewell from our two Bermudian old friends – and one newly-made one, energetically waving us off from the headland at the ‘Town Cut’ exit from St Georges’ Harbour, on the NE tip of the island. I reflected on our happy two weeks there, waiting for the right weather, and how largely thanks to them we had bonded with this unique country sitting improbably right in the middle of the Atlantic.

So – to the big question: Did I regret coming on this passage? The motivation of the other three was clear – as a sailing Rhode Islander, Richard was determind to make the iconic passage to the Caribbean via Bermuda before he was 70, and Paul and Priscilla were making this the initial part of their ‘Senior Gap Year’, now that Paul had finally been persuaded to retire (for the fourth time). As for me, no, I was not regretting it, curiously. I just wanted to know what it would be like, and now I was finding out. The astonishing thing was that the other three were functioning apparently normally. OK, staggering around a bit below decks, hanging on to handholds I had previously failed to earmark as essential to my life aboard, demonstrating an interesting crouching motion combined with timed Tarzan-worthy swings from one point to another, but fine. Cheerful. Competent. Getting on with the stuff of sailing the boat effectively. Would I ever rejoin that world? I miserably asked myself. Meanwhile I applied the lesson learnt from other periods of sailing indisposition: if you can’t be useful, don’t be a nuisance, and, imperatively, don’t become a liability through misplaced efforts to participate. So there I laid, doggo, nursing my misery and embarrassment, and hoping I was being responsible, though idle, more passenger than parasite. I was a chrysalis wrapped in a lee cloth, fantasising about a future when I might stretch my wings. Meanwhile the others murmured cheering words to me when they lurched past. The starboard tack that we were on positioned me nicely beside the crisp and biscuit supplies, to supplement the bottle of water which practical Priscilla had tucked beside me. Perhaps I was more a marooned castaway, in a dinghy with basic provisions. Regrettably I was unable to appreciate these properly at that stage. Many hours later we tacked and I found myself on the opposing bunk, thinking fondly of those of hours of potential plenty. I realised I must be recovering.

The loo trip finally achieved, I cautiously crawled up the companionway to announce my provisional resurrection and to examine the seas responsible for my condition. The 10 to 15 foot waves looked sufficiently rough and confused for me to feel slightly vindicated, though it must be admitted that they were with us, in a quartering sort of way, not against us, so presented no real challenge – and we were speeding happily on our way at 6 or 7 knots, with well reefed main and genny. The winds were typically around 35 knots, with one short period of 40. The log tells me that the eternity of my indisposition was actually only 24 hours of rough seas, and the high winds were only half of that. But it felt much much longer… Our friends in Bermuda subsequently told us that at the same time they recorded winds there of 75knots, only a hundred miles away. We had deliberately come out ahead of this storm, on the advice of our weather service ‘router’, who had clearly earned his fee.

THE VIEW FROM THE GALLEY

Day Three was a new dawn – the storm had blown itself out and I had returned to glorious normality. Now was my chance to prove I could be of some practical use. Eating for the first two days had necessarily been restricted to handheld snacks, seized by the crew on intermittent commando raids below decks between their three hour watches. The small boat freezer compartment was however stuffed and overflowing into the fridge area with ziplock plastic bags containing hearty stews, cooked up over a two-day occupation of our generous Bermudian friends’ kitchen. Now all I had to do was to manage to serve one of these a day to ensure essential nourishment. I set myself a preliminary trial – a cup of tea. Well, sealed insulated beakers of tea actually. It took half an hour of determind effort in the somewhat abated but still continuing fairground ride of the cabin – switching on the water pressure (other side of cabin), opening the water tank (stiff lever under sink), filling the kettle while not wasting precious water during lurches, accommodating the wild swings of the gimballed stove, going through the complexity of safety devices to achieve ignition, opening the fridge for the milk without liberating an avalanche of cascading contents (usually led, I discovered, by a very determind, semi defrosted pouch of Beef Goulasch), timing my grope in the cupboard for the teabags to coincide with a lurch to port, to avoid a similar Bastille-style liberation of the contents (led by the bear-shaped honey jar, rather anthropromorphically), pouring boiling water (think of doing this while balancing on a trampoline with a boisterous teenager) and finally nursing the results up the companionway. It was the first hot drink anyone had had since we left, and felt like a real achievement. Emboldened, I started the daily meal service, supplemented more often than not by rice, being the easiest to cook (using the 1:2 ratio of Rice to Water and slam-on-a-tight-lid approach).

A WORD FROM THE ENGINEER’S APPRENTICE

Having had its fun the weather contrarily decided to go to the other extreme, with two relatively windless days. In the event, 48 hours of motoring in the large Atlantic swell provided a pleasant contrast, if frustrating to the committed sailors (i.e. all except me.) But the first few days had ensured we were well on our way before needing to start using our diesel stocks, so there was at least no anxiety at calling on these now. Things could have been very different however, as when the wind first showed signs of dropping the usually highly reliable engine refused to fire; the control panel incorporating the ignition switch appeared completely dead. Paul and Richard came up with a fiendish rewiring plan and connected the control panel through the nearby 12 volt socket. This restored the panel to life, but failed to deliver the power needed to start the engine. It now being night, and there still being sufficient wind to sail, it was decided to continue work the next day.

Until, at 10 pm, Priscilla called for the radar to be switched on to check out a vessel she had sighted, and it became clear the battery was too low to power it – despite the generator having been run for several hours earlier. The engine problem was going to have to be addressed immediately. While Priscilla took Tanker Avoiding Action, Richard set to work, with me taking over his watch at midnight when Priscilla went off. Ultimately the fault was traced to the previously quite unsuspected main switch, which for some reason known only to the Seagods had chosen that particular voyage and timing to decide to quietly end its natural life. Richard nervously eyed up a miniature pair of crocodile clip jump leads, evaluating whether they would be man (or croc) enough for the job, and finally made the decision to bypass the switch with them. By now he had been working on this problem for five hours, and it was nearly three in the morning; I was still on watch in the cockpit, with Paul and Priscilla sleeping below us in the stern cabin. Richard took a deep breath and pressed the starter button. The engine roared happily into life – and from the stern cabin came an immediate round of applause! The crocodile clips carried us cheerfully all the way to St Maarten. We all agreed that trying to make a permanent repair en route when they were doing such a good job would be ungrateful, and possibly asking for trouble. And it was an awful lot easier once we were snugly in a berth.

The horn had decided to dislodge itself from the mast during the storm so somewhere around the Tropic of Cancer Richard was up the mast in the Bosun’s chair to retrieve it, with Paul hauling, Priscilla helming and me on the safety line. The first thing he did afterwards, South African Water Baby that he is, was to cool off with a swim. Probably one of the most remote swims it is possible to take. Our sense of awe at how much ocean there was around us in Bermuda had continued as we headed south. Days and days of water.

I was by now fully established as the Engineer’s Apprentice (holding torches, alternately passing spanners and water, locating lost tools, making soothing noises etc.), having been well trained over the years by John and Just Magic. As the Trade Winds bowled us along we passed two hours together in the hot and steamy ‘stuffing box’, tightening the stern gland to reduce the rate of ingress of seawater. Not, I can assure you, as interesting as it might sound. Apart from the replacement of a mainsail pin that had fallen out in the storm, Swallow had no other significant problems en route, (though the Skipper, and accordingly the Engineer’s Apprentice did not relax immediately we arrived – Replace croc clips, oil and filter change, coolant change…)

After two days of seas and winds and two of motoring, we had four days primarily on a pleasant beam reach, seeing our destination on the horizon in the dawn on Saturday 16th November, and exactly 8 days after leaving Bermuda coming through the lifting bridge into Simpson Bay Marina of Sint Maarten (the Dutch bit. The French side, to the North, is Saint Martin I now know).

21degrees 48.46’N 064degrees 05.41’W

What is the significance of this?

It is where we were when Skipper Richard was 70, on Day 6 of the passage, having just managed to get this trip in in time. It was marked by a party in the cockpit, complete with a chocolate cake, cunningly secretly baked in the onboard oven. Perhaps the greatest achievement of the trip, if you know that oven…

Angela Rice is the author of ADVENTURES OF A RELUCTANT BOATING WIFE (RRP £8.99), available with a 10% discount (£8.09) when you buy direct from us: http://bloomsbury.com/uk/adventures-of-a-reluctant-boating-wife-9781408182048

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Way to go: another adventure for the Reluctant Boating Wife

Adlard Coles author and former Motor Boats and Yachting columnist Angela Rice, the ‘Reluctant Boating Wife’, has moved on. Her ‘Mad Sailor’ husband is now content to follow her voyages rather than join in himself – the siren call of the oceans has been replaced by the lure of home comforts since he, as he terms it, ‘matured’. ‘We can now cross the Solent on a ferry without him practically falling over the side to get aboard one of the passing yachts, so great was his yearning to join them,’ reports Angela. ‘It’s not just age or even plain idleness, though both apply. He is just no longer in love with the former passion of his life.’ Angela, ever contrary, has however now graduated from power boating to enthusiastic sailing…

The plan is an Autumn passage from Rhode Island to the Caribbean. The notion had evolved into a serious proposition during our Biscay crossing the previous year on the CR40 of our friends, Priscilla and Paul. My American buddy Richard who had joined us to offset my lack of skills would this time be skippering his Catalina 380, Swallow, and they and I are to crew.

A year ago we all thoroughly discussed the routing. Richard had done his homework as only he can. No text left unperused, websites extensively trawled and blubber well chewed with his fellow Rhode Island ocean-going captains. The clever bit, it emerged, was to get out of RI before the winter gales take hold – but not to have to loiter too long in (expensive) Bermuda, waiting for the Weather Gods to notify us, via their meteorological earthly representatives, that they have blown their last hurricane for the season. The WGs’ other agents, the marine insurers, are clear that this may not be deemed to be so before 1st November.

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Richard sent us articles for and against the two possible routes. The alternative to the direct passage is to sail down the East coast as far as the Chesapeake, and then either head for the Caribbean direct (about 12 days), or via Bermuda (approx. 5 plus 10 days). Longer – we would be heading hundreds of miles SW to reach a destination due South, and colder – no short dash to the ‘warm frontal boundary’ of the Gulf Stream. The three of us on the RHS of the Atlantic discussed the options; charts were peered at, weather patterns reviewed and finally all was decided by an adult, mature transatlantic consensus. From the end of October, as soon as a 5-day weather window permitted, we would sail direct for Bermuda, restock and then run neatly down to the island of St Maarten, to be rewarded with sunshine, balmy evenings and great cruising. Simples.

So all was settled. Until I was booksigning at the Southampton Boat Show recently surrounded, improbably, by some of the Greats of the cruising-cum-writing world – including Don Street. Don Street, for the few who don’t know of him, is regarded as America’s Old Man of the Sea, based on his 60 or so years of writing cruising guides and pilots based on his own huge experience. So, picture it, Lowly Seaworm with copies of her one slim and distinctly frothy Reluctant Boating Wife paperback on the table in front of her, initiating polite conversation with her neighbour, half hidden by his pile of properly serious publications. In a pathetically transparent attempt to dispel my frivolous image, I mentioned our plans.

Don, I quickly discovered, is not one for polite conversation, or frothy females. ‘Asinine!’ he barked. ‘Why won’t anyone listen?! I have been telling the world for 50 years – in an article which has been reprinted in the yachting press umpteen times – that To. Go. Direct. To. Bermuda. From. Rhode. Island. In. November Is. Suicide! Playing Russian Roulette with the weather! I wish these Forecasters would stop pretending that there is such a thing as a five day-weather forecast in the North Atlantic when November gales can come from nowhere in 2 days! You’re mad! Over 50 people have died on that passage since then – ten of them personal friends of mine. DON’T DO IT!’

Ah.

I scuttled off round the corner to find Paul and Priscilla, who were respectively manning and womanning our Yacht Club stand at the Show. ‘I think you should go and speak to Don Street about our passage plan.’ They did, in some detail. And returned looking distinctly thoughtful, muttering phrases along the lines of ‘reconsidering our plans’ and ‘reviewing our risk assessments.’ A quick tripartite conference was held somewhere between the sailing boot and the flotilla holiday stand. ‘Are we mutinying?’ ‘Possibly.’ ‘So who is going to break the news to the Skipper?’ Priscilla and I decided to hide behind Paul’s skirts (shorts?), hoping that his being of the same sex and similar mindset might carry some weight.

The email went that night. MS2 replied with great patience and full respect for Don, but much greater respect than him for the advances in meteorology over the last 50 years. He did point out that he had sent, and we guiltily realised we had duly read, Don’s article all those months before. We had all been prepared to discount this at that time, as merely representing one extreme viewpoint, possibly an outdated one. Surrounded as he is by hearty Rhode Islanders who have made this trip multiple times, in even smaller boats, Richard remained unconvinced that with proper planning and prudence we couldn’t safely cross in five-ish days. He however politely invited alternative plans.

MS1 by this time was in on the act, on my behalf, my understanding of routing charts not going much beyond recognising that a preponderance of thicker red lines on the wind rose – particularly longer ones pointing directly opposite to the way you want to go – are, on the whole, to be avoided. Priscilla and I were both attracted to the thinner red lines south of Bermuda and favoured the – albeit longer and colder – route via the Chesapeake, taking advantage of harbours to run to, and MS1 was inclined to support us. Scientifically minded Paul, however, sharing Richard’s faith in modern meteorology, was unconvinced.

The result? Further research amongst his fellow Captains and close cross examination of the organisers of the NARC (as in ‘Not the ARC’…) Rally, which does the Newport, RI / Bermuda crossing in November each year, inclined MS2 to give greater credence to the view that reliable weather windows do indeed become rarer and shorter as the Autumn progresses. This is why the NARC now discourages slower boats, defined as under 45 foot, joining their November rally. The new plan is therefore to leave asap in October, before the winter weather sets in too fiercely and spend longer in Bermuda. (Oh bother.) If we are pushed too close to November we have agreed to equip ourselves with ice scrapers and take the long, cold passage down the East Coast to the Chesapeake. We would then route via Bermuda, Richard being of the opinion that the ‘duration risk’ of a 12-day plus passage has its own perils.

As our flights from the UK have been booked for months, the earliest departure date is 13th, as soon as Paul and Priscilla arrive. However I don’t come over till 17th. Sacrifices have had to be made by everyone. MS2 now has less time to complete his complex preparations, P and P have had to wave goodbye to the happy plan of a shakedown sail to Martha’s Vineyard before I arrive – and if the right weather window opens up before 17th I shall be flying over their heads to join them in Bermuda the easy way, in the best tradition of my former Reluctant Boating Self. And RBW2 may find herself doing the provisioning, despite her strenuous efforts to dissociate herself entirely from the venture.

But if departure is after 17th, I will be there…

Angela Rice is the author of ADVENTURES OF A RELUCTANT BOATING WIFE (RRP £8.99), available now for a one-week-only bargain price of £4.50 when you buy direct from us: http://bloomsbury.com/uk/adventures-of-a-reluctant-boating-wife-9781408182048

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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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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

Ten films that float our boat

Guest blog by ArrJimLad

Tired of being stuck ashore? Restless to get out on the ocean waves?

Here at Adlard Coles, understanding seamen that we are, we know how fighting the urge to hoist anchor can sometimes seem unbearable. Fear not though, help is at hand…

We’ve put our heads together to compile an absolutely non-definitive list of sea-themed films for you to trawl through – a veritable life raft for those of you unsure of being able to cope without the water’s ebb and flow until you’ve spoken to your boss and booked some time off work.

There are, of course, dozens that didn’t make the cut (some rather controversially, although few tears were shed over some of the other omissions) but that’s where you come in. If you’ve got your own take on things, if you think we’ve got it wrong or you just downright disagree, feel free to post any of your thoughts below. Right, let the debate begin!

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10. Titanic

Let’s get this one out of the way first, shall we? Yes, we know it’s not cool. Yes, we know it’s received more than its fair share of press this year. And yes, we know its existence comes hand in hand with Celine Dion going on and on… but all of that, dear cynics, would mean overlooking a few bare-faced facts.

Made directly before James Cameron holed himself away to create Avatar, on its initial release Titanic did the following: earned over $600 million at the US box office; launched Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet onto the A-list; and possessed some genuinely (and under-rated) spectacular special effect sequences that left audience jaws on cinema floors.

Yet, beyond all of the Oscars, tears and an ability to put bums on seats, arguably Titanic’s greatest achievement is that it has continually managed to capture the imaginations of a worldwide audience on a scale rarely encountered before. And for that reason alone, it’s got to be on our list.

9. The Little Mermaid

It’s easy to forget that in the few years leading up to Pixar’s game-changing computer animation hitting our cinema screens, Disney were producing smash-hit traditionally animated films that captured the imagination of audiences all over the world.

The Little Mermaid is as bright, colourful and, dare I say it, twee as you’d imagine, but it would be ludicrous not to acknowledge its standing as a firm family (and office!) favourite responsible for taking generations under the sea for the very first time.

8. Das Boot

I haven’t seen this. People in the office tell me I should. That is all.

7. Jaws

Understandably criticised by marine biologists and shark enthusiasts the world over for demonising one of nature’s greatest surviving predators, but it’s impossible for this almost entirely sea-based film NOT to make our list.

Adapted from Peter Benchley’s novel, Jaws was Steven Spielberg’s big screen breakthrough and was directed on a smidgen of the astronomical budgets his productions now command. Assisted by John Williams’ iconic score, Spielberg creates a Hitchcock-like thriller-horror via clever use of underwater camera shots which left audiences lifting their feet onto their chairs in fear of being gnawed on by an eternally hungry great white shark which, for the vast majority of the film, remains unseen.

That said fish actually turns out to be quite a turgid rubber-tyre of a creation when you get a closer look at it matters not; packed with classic cinematic moments, Jaws deserves its inclusion.

6. Master and Commander

Now to a film lauded for its accuracy. Starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany, Master and Commander (based on the novels of Patrick O’Brian) raked in ten Oscar nominations and countless plaudits from the critics. As gnarled and gritty as you’d expect the Napoleonic Wars to have been, this epic portrayal of soldiers’ lives at sea during the early 1800s comes with humanity, but isn’t for the faint of heart.

5. Adventures of Robinson Crusoe

Not technically sea-based for the majority, but it’s difficult not to mention a film that comes loaded with the idea of the ocean’s supremacy and how it can, if it so wishes, leave one at its mercy.

Actor Dan O’Herlihy received an Oscar nomination for his interpretation of Daniel Defoe’s most famous character in a story that has inspired countless other productions to employ the ocean’s strength as a means of throwing characters into seemingly unassailable, despairing situations.

4. March of the Penguins

Not since The Shawshank Redemption has Morgan Freeman put his silky smooth Tennessee voice to better use. Freeman narrates the English version (the original documentary is in French) of a stirring story of the annual hardships the emperor penguins of Antarctica must face in order to mate.

There has, of course been other successful sea-life-based schmaltz on our cinema screens over the years, but March of the Penguins trumps them all because, not only does it manage to tick the ‘oh sooo cute!’ and ‘heart-warming romance’ boxes, but because it’s real.

Take that, Keiko.

3. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

It’d be difficult not to include a submarine-based film on our list, so we’ve gone for a classic. Other films might lay claim to being tense, successful sub-based thrillers in their own right, but the impact of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea had on its audience shouldn’t go underestimated.

An adventure based on Jules Verne’s novel, it has become regarded as one of Disney’s classic non-cartoon productions which, alongside adding greater intrigue into the wonders of the sea, also brought about a terrifying monster of the deep onto our screens.

2. Treasure Island

Back when Johnny Depp was still in short trousers little could he have known how his bank balance would prosper from a story to which all other pirate adventures owe their pieces of eight.

Jim Hawkins, Billy Bones, Long John Silver, yo-ho-ho, fifteen men on a dead man’s chest, parrots, wooden legs and bottles of rum… this film adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel is the cinematic blueprint for every pirate who’s sailed the seas ever since.

1. Finding Nemo

The Little Mermaid looked spectacular on its release but the animation seems stone-age in comparison with this, a sensory overload that’s, arguably, Pixar Studios’ greatest work.

By deciding to cater for the adults of the children clamouring to see their films, Pixar’s productions are known not just for their heart, but for their intelligence too, and Finding Nemo is no exception (for example, how many average 5 / 45 year-olds knew about anemones or the EAC before Nemo and Dory showed them?). A production that makes you want to go out and explore for yourself what the depths of the ocean have to offer, this masterpiece deservedly floats to the number one spot on our list.

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R.I.B. ticklers

We were very tempted to post the news story about Adlard Coles Nautical starting its own sailing school, but unfortunately April Fool’s Day fell on a weekend this year, and we just aren’t dedicated enough to the cause to do that kind of serious, time intensive work from home.

However, in honour of last Sunday, and simply because everyone in the office today is looking forward to the four day weekend, here are our top ten nautical rib ticklers. Remember: laughter stimulates the ventromedial prefrontal cortex in the brain to produce endorphins. Groaning does not (though this should not be taken as an indication of how bad some of these are).

Why is it always ‘women and children first’?
Because then the sharks won’t be hungry any more.

Why couldn’t the pirate play cards?
Because he was sitting on the deck.

What do sailors use to blow their noses?
Anchor-chiefs.

What lies at the bottom of the sea and shakes?
A nervous wreck.

What fish can perform operations?
A sturgeon.

Where do little fish go every morning?
Plaice school.

What fish goes at 100mph?
A motor pike.

Who held the baby octopus to ransom?
Squidnappers.

How much did the pirate pay for his peg leg and hook?
An arm and a leg.

What’s the difference between a fish and a piano?
You can’t tuna fish.

And because we’re generous, here’s an eleventh for free (it’s also our favourite):

Where do prawns and lobsters go to catch the train?
King’s Crustacean.