Publishing Update 25 May 2023

Publishing update as at 25 May 2023. plus Before the Voyage: the Boat’s story, and all about the Dream Ship

Good News – the book is with the printer.

The book is finally with the printer. All being well printing of The Voyage of The Aegre book will be completed by mid-June. Then we’ll start sending out advance copies for review. On track for the launch and publication in late July.

The Aegre departing Ardmore, NW Scotland
The Aegre departing Ardmore, NW Scotland
Cut it to 250!

At first writing, The Voyage of The Aegre book had about 350 pages. ‘Too long!’ said the first publisher to take a serious interest. ‘Cut it to 250’. It was hard. It wasn’t a matter of re-arranging a few paragraphs. 100 pages had to go. It was a blood bath. A rewrite, then another. But the book is the better for it. However, lots of good stuff ended up on the floor. For instance, I’d written supporting notes on every chapter (a good 30 pages) and added appendices (another 30 pages), and then in the harsh light of the editing room, I had to accept that some of the stories I’d included just weren’t central, but a diversion, and they had to go too (30 pages of them), which together with thorough editing left 261 pages.

But all was not lost. I resolved to publish selected chapter notes and appendices to the story on the book website as background for the ardent reader. Here is one.

The Boat’s story

This is all about the boat, The Aegre, before Julie and I bought her. It’s quite a story, told in previous owner Andy Bryce’s own words, with characters like Big Jim from Swona, the Laverne, and many a pint after a hard day’s sail across the Pentland Firth where the tide can run at 16 knots, and on a good day the wind is merely a full gale.

I started this backgrounding with the story of the Nelly Bly – now I’ve expanded ‘About The Aegre’ into six pages. Don’t miss them.

Another lesser-known but inspiring read :
The Cruise of the Dream Ship by Ralph Stock – 1921

One of my favourite cruising books, the one I pull out on a cold wet Sunday afternoon ‘cos it always makes me smile.

Stock writes of his wartime dream in the trenches of France, to sail away to the South Seas on his own boat. A fanciful and extraordinary idea in 1917 for a man of relatively modest means. But somehow he makes it come to pass, and heads off with his sister Peter (sic) and good friend Steve, aboard a 47ft Colin Archer sloop built in 1908. With no paid hands but a piano below. Across the Atlantic and much of the Pacific. Common today, but not so in 1919. His writing is a delight to read with his dry English humour. I’ve created a page on the website under ‘Lesser know inspiring reads’ which is under the Artifacts tab. Here: The Cruise of the Dream Ship.

Publishing Update 10 May 2023 + Not in the book…

Publishing update re the Voyage of The Aegre book; Storm sails for The Aegre; Not in the book: The story of Nelly Bly; Dinghy cruising in 1963, a little gem; and more on curraghs.

Publishing update – The Voyage of The Aegre

Book cover of The Voyage of The Aegre

The book, The Voyage of The Aegre, is about to go to Gutenberg Press in Malta to be printed. We’re on course to launch the book in Lerwick, Shetland, in late July 2023, during the Tall Ships Festival. It’ll be exactly 50 years since Julie and I set sail from NW Scotland, heading south in our little Shetland boat.

Storm sails for The Aegre

Bob Macinnes, the Scourie boatbuilder, inspects our new flax storm sails. March 1973. The story behind them is in the book.

Bob Macinnes inspects the flax storm sails made for us by Kip Gurren in Orkney

Not in the book: the story of Nelly Bly

Julie and I bought The Aegre from Andy Bryce in NW Scotland in 1972. He’d had her built in 1966, based on his experience with another Shetland boat, Nelly Bly. I’ve added the story of Nelly Bly, as told me by Andy Bryce, to the website as an introduction to the ‘About The Aegre‘ page.

Small boat cruising books

On a recent Dinghy Cruising Facebook page, readers were asked to nominate their favourite small boat cruising book. This got me thinking because I’ve got a few that are gems. Books like Lone Voyager – The story of Howard Blackburn who sailed across the Atlantic alone, twice, in the late 1890s; The Wind Calls the Tune – the story of the 20ft Nova Espero sailed by Stanley Smith and Charles Violet across the North Atlantic from Nova Scotia to England in 1949; and the 1938 Pocket Cruisers by Francis B. Cooke which I found for $4.00 in a small New Zealand 2nd hand bookshop. And lots more. To share them, I’ve started another heading under Artifacts on the website. The first little gem I’m looking at is Dinghy Cruising, by Ian Nicolson, published back in 1963. See Lesser known inspiring reads.

More about curraghs

Following the curragh story in the last post, an old friend wrote to me about his 94-year-old neighbour in NZ who had written about curraghs in the very first edition of ‘Afloat’ magazine in 1994. I’ve added his notes to the bottom of the curragh story on The Aegre website.

Book cover of The Voyage of The Aegre
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