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Historic Sailing Craft Book Documents the Working Sailing Vessels of Britain

16th January 2013
Historic Sailing Craft Book Documents the Working Sailing Vessels of Britain

#historicsail – Britain's Surviving Working Craft by Paul Brown is a celebration of those surviving traditional boats that once worked under sail in the coastal waters of the British Isles. Published in association with National Historic Ships UK, this £16.99 paperback original includes a concise history for the surviving craft, details of their working service, conservation, current location and use, and basic particulars such as dimensions and tonnage.

For centuries the inhabitants of the coastal communities of the British Isles depended on the sea for their livelihood, with lives and fortunes closely tied to the success of the craft that sailed.  The seas around our islands teemed with these craft, and their crews had to battle with the forces of nature risking their lives in the process.  These vessels were highly specialised, and many thrived right through until the era of the motor or steam power.

Some types were lost forever, often without any accurate record being made of their design and characteristics. Fortunately, due to a surge of interest and a conservation project, many former working sailing craft survive from the once large fleets of distinctive local types, such as the Humber keel, Brixham trawler, Cornish lugger, Scottish fifie and Thames spritsail barge.

The book documents these specialist vessels, concentrating on those of 40ft and over.

Each type is introduced and its evolution tracked, with the main characteristics of the traditional design described.

It includes a concise history for the surviving craft, details of their working service, conservation, current location and use, and basic particulars such as dimensions and tonnage.

The book is illustrated with colour photographs, many taken by the author and others sourced from vessel owners and National Historic Ships' archives.

Paul Brown is a retired university lecturer and senior manager with a lifelong interest in ships and the sea. He is now a writer and photographer on maritime subjects, and a consultant to National Historic Ships. His previous books include Maritime Portsmouth - A History and Guide (Tempus 2005, History Press 2009), Britain's Historic Ships (Conway, 2009) and Historic Ships – The Survivors (Amberley, 2010). He also contributed to Ship (Conway, 2010). He lives in Northamptonshire.

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