Saturday, August 13, 2016

_______________________ THE CANOE YAWL _____________________

Shipmates, today my long awaited copy of Richard Powells new book 'The Canoe Yawl' arrived trailing two mysteries in its canoe stern wake. The first is a postal mystery. Published by Lodestar Books 71 Boveney Road London, printed in Spain, it arrived in my letterbox with a big green Swedish Post Tulldeklaration (Customs Declaration) CN22 sticker and 'Posten Sverige' stamp from Malmo, Sweden - Go figure that! These are the wondrous mysteries that engage the mind of this retiree - don't laugh shipmates, your time will come, your time will come.

'The Canoe Yawl' is a fine companion to another older Lodestar Books publication - John Leathers, 'Albert Strange; Yacht Designer and Artist'. Needless to say I am voraciously devouring my new books contents. It's from its early pages that I have learnt that a third version of John MacGregors 'Rob Roy' canoe circa 1897 survives to this day as part of the National Small Boat Collection in the UK at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, at Falmouth. I didn't know that. (The Voyage Alone in the Yawl Rob Roy - 1865).

The second mystery relates to the photograph on the cover of 'The Canoe Yawl' . It is a mystery more easily felt if you have the book on your knee when you look at it, but you can get some inkling by looking at the above photograph. There is an immediacy about some old photographs despite their age or sepia tint. It feels as if the photo was taken yesterday. As I gaze at the light glistening off the water on the windward side of this little yawl designed by the gifted Albert Strange, time seems to dissolve. Yet the photograph of the little yawl 'Birdie' was taken in 1897.

John Leathers book (above) and John Powells book 'The Canoe Yawl' were built in similar boatyards. They both explore the voyaging exploits and yacht designing talents of the Canoe Yawls forefathers. Both books contain numerous designs and photographs surrounded by tantalizing text of the type that will keep those possessed by canoe yawl madness enthralled and shouting across the ocean for yet another book.

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