Mike A1 6:32pm, 1 January 2010
Hi all,

There have been a couple of previous discussions about the Atlantic crossing made by the A24 Aluffe. I have recently discovered that the skipper William Garnier has written a book about the voyage. The full title is "Big Bloke, Small Boat: Voyage of a Madman?" and it's £8.12 on amazon.co.uk. Pity I didn't see this before Christmas - it would have been on my wish list!


PS. Happy New Year.
neptunesnephew 9 years ago
I was wondering what to get with my £10 book token!

Happy New Year to everyone and here's to a great season in 2010.

Amrum 9171Y 9 years ago
Well discovered! My Amazon Gift Certificate has now bought that book as well as the 'Bristol Channel and Severn Cruising Guide'. Lots of good reading in the cold dark January evenings, and dreaming of that Atlantic crossing, if I can ever get down the Severn in the first place!

Happy New Year, and good 2010 Achilles sailing!
Vidwatts 9 years ago
Thanks for the tip-off - a copy has now been ordered!
rothwell_neil 9 years ago
Mike hope you are on commission as I bought one too!
busy home [deleted] 9 years ago
Me too!
blueachilles 9 years ago
Just ordered it!

We saw Aluffe in Carrick Roads, year before last I think.

HNY to all.
busy home [deleted] 9 years ago
I chatted to him in Loe Beach He,d then fitted a Navic No mention of going accross! Nice chap.
Happy new year to all and better sailing than last.
pjbharrison 9 years ago
Hi everyone. Been out of circulation for a while.
Happy new year to all.
Hope you all had a good Christmas. Did you all get some new sailing toys? I must have been bold!

I bought a copy too, Mike. Hope it's a good book or you're in for some stick!

Perhaps we can review it in a few weeks.
Can anyone recommend any other sailing books?
neptunesnephew 9 years ago
Amazon must be wondering what's hit them. I hope that there are enough copies to go around!
Mike A1 9 years ago
I'm glad I ordered my copy before starting this topic!

According to amazon the book is now ranked the highest in the category Books > Sports, Hobbies & Games > Water Sports > Boating > Sailing > Narratives, outselling Robin Knox-Johnston and Tristan Jones.
Super Snoopy 050 9 years ago
Price just gone up due to high demand. They're £8.13 now!
Amrum 9171Y 9 years ago
I'm about 50 pages into the book now, and really enjoying it. It's definitely one to be savoured, as though you're doing the trip with him, rather than rushing it.
elite request [deleted] 9 years ago
Just ordered mine. Missing getting out!
pjbharrison 9 years ago
Just started reading this evening
busy home [deleted] 9 years ago
Me too,,, F7 genny and full main?
pjbharrison 9 years ago
Sounds like Norman!
NormanKlipspringer 9 years ago
I like to be tucked up in the marina with anything over 6. I am usually well reefed long before I see 5+. I am sure that Archimedes goes faster when reefed in high winds since there is less heel and less tendancy to round up into wind when the gusts come.
neptunesnephew 9 years ago
F7 genny and full main?
I'm only on p.25 but possibly this is where the madman bit comes in!

For other reading try - "Sod's Law of the Sea" by Bill Lucas and Andrew Spedding from £0.01p on Amazon and
" The Art of Coarse Sailing" by Michael Green from £0.15p also on Amazon. These two should lighten these dark days!
pjbharrison 9 years ago
Thanks for those two book recommendations. Bought them both as I'm almost finished "Voyage of a Madman?" Its hard to put down...
rothwell_neil 9 years ago
If you want a few more then Harry Pidgeon 'Around the world single-handed' is about a circumnavigation in 1921 and Derek Lundy 'The way of a ship' whilst not his own story is a fantastic look at the old ways of sail. North about in ninety days by G H Belshaw is about a cautious man sailing round the UK. Good laugh always puts the ensign away at dusk and probably wears a cravat.
pjbharrison 9 years ago
Thanks Neil, I'll look out for those.
Got new glasses so I can read again! Yay!!!
rothwell_neil 9 years ago
Just read Paul Hiney "Last man across the Atlantic" a good read by a man who understands sailing but doesn't understand why anyone would race. About to start The Cruise of the "Amaryllis." by G. H. P. Muhlhauser, don't you love Amazon second hand books. Also bought Sopranino by Patrick Ellam and The Fight of the Fire-Crest by Alain Gerbault.
rothwell_neil Posted 9 years ago. Edited by rothwell_neil (member) 9 years ago
Been travelling quite a bit recently and plenty of time to read so going through the pile. Just read 'Amulet a charm restored and sailed to the western isles' by Bob Orrell and it is a good read. Partly because he sails round the western isles from Maryport but also because it is a nice cruising guide for the area as well as good fun read on why not to go for a restoration project. Restored an old wooden 26' Stella clinker built cruiser. 1p on Amazon plus £2.75 postage.

Dunkers3 Posted 9 years ago. Edited by Dunkers3 (member) 9 years ago
As soon as I saw this book reviewed in one of the yachtie mags I ordered it from Amazon. This was because I took my A24, "Dunkers", singlehanded across the Atlantic in the first ARC at the end of November 1986 and so was really eager to read this book. However, I found that it did not reach my expectations and I felt quite flat by the end of it.

There was no detail of the work that he carried out before he left UK. He said that he spent every weekend on the boat working on it to get it ready for the circuit. I cannot imagine at all what took all that time, after all its only a 24ft boat and as it seems that he believed in the KISS method (quite right too!) I fail to see why it was so time consuming. I'm sure that we would all be interested in any modifications that he made, problems that he found or things that he "improved" which were unnecessary. I suppose his target audience wasn't primarily Achilles 24 owners.

I was also looking forward to seeing detailed photographs of the boat and the voyage but they were a disappointment. There were no chartlets to help you follow the trip either. I assume that this was to keep the cost of production down by the publishers - a great pity.

One thing which amazed me was that he was practically emotionless at reaching Barbados. I can honestly say that sighting the island after 2700 miles alone was one of the highlights of my life. I was jumping up and down, shouting and screaming and was a very happy bunny. I even drank a warm, very warm, half bottle of champagne which I had been given prior to sailing to celebrate. William Garnier didn't seem too bothered at all about reaching his goal. Is this what GPS has reduced us to - no sense of achievement? I used a sextant but even so I believe that I would have been quite please to have reached the West Indies by my own efforts notwithstanding GPS.

However, it is stilla remarkable tale and I take my hat off to him and would urge you to buy and enjoy the book. You may find that you suddenly get itchy feet.
Amrum 9171Y 9 years ago
Thanks for that, Dunkers3 - great to have a contribution and comment from someone who has done it - and I sympathise with your comments. I read (and enjuoyed) the book as a story which was designed to appeal to a broad audience; as an A24 owner I'd have loved the detail on his preparation for the trip, and more photos.
Did you ever do a write up of your ARC? I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd be interested in it.
I take it you still have Dunkers? Where do you keep her?
Dunkers3 9 years ago
Well Snifter, its quite a long story but it ended up with a shipwreck on Los Roches off Venezuela on my way to the ABC islands and Panama (with the intention of going all the way round). I hit a reef at 0200 when I found that I was 30 miles ahead of my DR - pre GPS days. I had been unable to get a sight the previous day due to it being hazy and dull. My girlfriend and I spent three days on a desert island doing the Robinson Crusoe bit before being rescued. A few hours later we had gone from being alone to being in the centre of Caracas in the Hilton - a big change in scenery. We flew home but went back to Antigua three months later where I bought an Elizabethan 29 which I used to cruise the islands for another couple of years before singehanding it back to UK.

I have little record of my ARC crossing as unfortunately I lost all my logbooks and photographs except for the few that I had sent home. These days of course it would be all on computer disc so the precious record would be safe. I had a fantastic crossing until I was slap bang in the middle when my Navik self steering self destructed and I then hand to hand steer the rest of the way. I was the very last boat to arrive just before the prize giving having taken 33 days. Jimmy Cornell said in a magazine article that I got the best reception of anyone in the whole fleet. I well remember someone swimming out to me as I came into the basin with a jug of rum punch in his hand, which I duly glugged down.

By the way I have some photographs of Snifter being delivered to her new owner at Pembroke Dock in November 1983. She was delivered at the same time as Dunkers. Snifter was lifted into the water but I kept Dunkers ashore in a hanger for the winter. I'll dig them up and if you can send me a pm I'll scan copies in for you. However, I have just looked at the photos and Snifter had a light blue hull but I notice that she is now white - is it the same boat?
Amrum 9171Y 9 years ago
Thanks for that, Dunkers3! What a great story, and I love the rum punch being swum out to you - just what you need after a long crossing!
I'd be very interested in the photos of Snifter in Pembroke Dock. I'll send you a flickrr mail with my email and home addresses. Snifter was indeed light blue to start with. When I bought her about 15 months ago she had been painted white, and I've kept her that colour, and it seems easy to keep her looking good. Where is Dunkers now?
Dunkers3 9 years ago
Snifter, I'll download the photos later today (in the middle of painting the bathroom - on pain of death from SWMBO)!

Unfortunately Dunkers ended up as a very expensive jigsaw and of course wasn't insured so I lost everything. We had stocked the boat up to th gunn'ls in Venezuela to get us as far into the Pacific as possible without having to do an expensive restock. Of course I had all the charts, pilot books etc and everything else for an ocean voyage including a brand new Avon liferaft. It all had to be left to the fishermen who eventually rescued us. Luckily my sextant was washed ashore onto the reef as the boat broke up so at least I managed to come away with something.

Do you keep your boat in Portishead?
Amrum 9171Y 9 years ago
Thanks very much for the photos which were safely received. It was great to see Snifter in her early years, as well as Dunkers.
Apologies for not replying sooner, but I'm currently sorting out my parents house having moved them into a care home. I found a few bits and pieces of interest regarding the A24 and the A9m my father used to own, and have sent them on to a current owner, or to our excellent webmaster. The last useful thing I found in the garage was my father's old Chum anchor weight, which he swore by - it had helped hold him in a bad gale in the Scillies once. I'll put a photo of it on soon.
Sorry about Dunkers' fate - I should have realised it from your earlier post. Still, she certainly had a great voyage!
Snifter is at Thornbury Sailing Club on the upper Severn at Oldbury Pill. I go past Portishead quite often on the way to Cardiff. and she did well in the PCC Holms race last September. If you fancy a sail in her sometime when I get her back in the water (probably Easter now), please let me know.
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