Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Creeksailor Book

Ready About On The River Blackwater

Exploring the creeks, ditches and shoals in a small boat

YOU can almost smell the salt-impregnated marshes and feel the oozing, gurgling, cloying mud when you read this affectionate little book.

Here is a rarity among sailing tomes, a pocket-size book written exclusively for the pocket cruiser sailor. Tony Smith does not pretend to teach you how to cross the Channel or navigate a sleek modern 40-footer in blue water.

Like his great mentor, Charles Stock, whose iconic pea-green gaff-cutter Shoal Waters he know owns, Tony has sailed, pushed, shoved, poled and rowed up every inch of every creek of the River Blackwater.

Some of his haunts are connected by what could be described more accurately as a ditch, a few so remote that intrepid shoal-draft adventurer Stock himself has never navigated them.

One thing remains crystal clear amid these murky, muddy waters. It is that carpenter Smith, himself a skilled craftsman, retains a respect for those old traditional skills . . . a yearning for past ideals . . . and an unashamed love of the Blackwater.

Note: Both editions sold out.
32110 words
124 photographs; 101 colour 23 mono, plus 1 colour illustrated map:
18 chapters
148 pages
Size A5 paper back
Published by Smaller Boat Publications
Colour editionISBN 978-0-9569030-0-6
Mono edition ISBN 978-0-9569630-2-4

 Read tales of small-boat adventure, in and around an incredible 62 named creeks that can be found and navigated in the River Blackwater. This is the River Blackwater book everyone should own a copy of, a must have for all mariners and outdoor explorers heading to this fantastic cruising area.
Foreword written by Charles Stock.

UK price: Mono edition £10.00
                  Postage UK £2.95

Please Note UK buyers do not need a PayPal account and can use the set fee PayPal button below.

Please Note Overseas buyers will need to have a Paypal account. It is then a simple matter of sending the correct postage with the book cost to smallerboat at hotmail dot co dot uk address.

RE: NZ £8.00 AUS £8.00 USA £8.00 EU £6.00

Other overseas buyers please email for correct postage. If not sure email first.

What readers have said:

A thoroughly enjoyable little book by a man whose obvious love of the "Path Less Travelled" shines through on every page. A must have addition for anyone who yearns for the smell of the mud, the sound of the birds and the solitude that still exists under the big sky country of the Blackwater Estuary. by P Mullings

Dear Tony

I wanted to let you know how much I've enjoyed your beautiful book.

My son and daughter-in-law ordered a copy for me, very soon after it became available, having noted my enthusiastic comments about your Creeksailer blog some while ago.

What a good idea they had!

Your book is a sheer delight. It encapsulates much of what I enjoy about sailing, and I appreciated it even more having very recently started to sail a Lune Whammel. A result of downsizing from larger boats that I seemed to sail less and less. Skylark is a refreshingly simple craft - shallow long keel, gaff sloop rig, and a pram-hood tent to give you a two-berth canvas cabin. Basic, but it does the job very sweetly.

We live on the south coast, and usually sail in Chichester Harbour, but visit Mersea Island from time to time - my father had a boat there for some 25 years or so, and I have many fond memories of sailing on and around the Blackwater.

Not sure I'll manage it within what's left of this season, but your book has certainly inspired me to tow Skylark up to the Blackwater area for a week or two in the not too distant future.

Thanks again for your delightful, evocative book, and I wish you every success with it.

And I'll keep reading your blog!

All the best

Thanks for letting me know of this link as I am truly humbled by this review of the muddy little book by Bill 'the ultimate blogger' Sergeant. Bill gets what the book is about and his term the 'crown jewels' is absolutely spot on. You can read what Bill thought about Ready About on the River Blackwater here Bills Log

The little muddy book has had no marketing as such other than what you see on this site, and yet it has reached discerning readers who occupy the far corners of the globe.
Thank you to everyone one who has purchased a copy. I can only apologise to who ever has the task in your respective households to the washing of muddy clothing and wellies from here on in.

The best place to buy your copy and help support the muddy cause is right here on this site.
Buying a copy here means I can deal with you direct, even signing copies with my mud print if you insist, as some have.
I have tried to keep the cost of the book as low as possible in the hope that more will come to know about the beautiful creeks as possible and Creek Sailing in general.

I have received many emails from readers who have enjoyed the book along with comments from the really afflicted that they cant put it down. With their permission I have been able to place one or two of them here.

The book illustrates my type of creek sailing and ditch crawling giving the reader a true glimpse into the magic of minimalist small-boat cruising. With a small illustrated map included you are able to see where 62 named creeks can be found along with other interesting features. As well as traditional sailmaking and traditional boatbuilding the book contains a chapter on the duck punt, the Mersea punt in particular, and has generated a bit of interest in the boat which is great news as they are fantastic little boats.

Review by Mike Lewis, editor of Blackwater Sailing Barge Match Association newsletter
The Pennant.

A delightful little book written by a true enthusiast for the exploration of the saltings, ditches and gutways of the Blackwater.
Tony Smith has investigated every tiny corner of the river in his 16ft gaff rigged boat "Huffler"and has an infectious sense of enjoyment in the mysterious beauty of the estuary in its many moods which constantly change with the tide and weather.
His enquiring mind has delved into the history of the river - red hills and ancient fish traps and much more.
He is a skilled carpenter with a proper appreciation of traditional skills with a chapter on the construction of "Marsh Duck" his 16ft gun punt and other chapters on traditional sail making and boatbuilding.
The book is lavishly illustrated with excellent photos of the most remote corners of the river and is well worth the £11.99 purchase price.

Hi Tony, 
I recently bought your book, and after reading it through cover to cover twice, 
couldn't wait to get started on the Blackwater, to see if I too could experience that which you so eloquently evoke.
 I built a Morbic 12 (designed by Francois Vivier) last year for my kids and I to learn to sail in, 
and we got it wet for the first time off the Pembrokeshire coast last summer. 
Following that we were getting a bit bored lake sailing near my home.
After devouring your wonderful book I quickly made a boom tent and spent an idyllic monday/Tuesday a couple of weeks ago, 
I brought my friend along, and we beached in Mell Creek. Beautiful sunset. Fresh samphire with our pasta. 
Woken by the boat floating at 4.30am I looked out the stern and a large bass jumped past my anchor line...
Sunrise quite literally breathtaking. 
After returning to Bradwell to drive F to Southminster for train back to London, 
I returned to the boat and spent rest of morning sailing alone in a state of utter bliss...
Giggling and saying aloud more than once  " it - just - doesn't - get - any - better - than - THIS "
Thank you so much for your wonderful book.
Yours gratefully

21/08/12  Maldon Tourist Information Centre, in Wenlock Way, just off the high street, have been selling copies since Christmas.