The Last Sailorman

Once upon a tide there were more than 2,000 sailing barges trading from the Thames around the East and South coasts of England. Fifty years ago, Dick Durham served on the very last one. “We’re ready for you, sailorman,” the cry from the dockside would come and skipper Bob Roberts and I would use heaving […]

One Tack Forward Two Tacks Back

A former fashion model picked up her husband-to-be’s dream of global voyaging and together they turned it into a reality. Now more than 70,000 subscribers are sharing their journey, as Dick Durham discovers. It started back in 2015 when Adam Seeber, then 28, rang the bell of a cheap, house-share, rental block in Melbourne, Australia. […]

A View Of Heaven From A Seat In Hell

A new documentary is being made about a solo sailor’s 76-day ordeal on a liferaft. Steven Callahan recalls the horror to Dick Durham. You’re alone, at night, there’s a gale blowing, you are 800 miles from dry land and your boat is sinking. Does a reporter really have to ask you how you feel? I […]

Still Sailing After All These Years

Dick Durham throws a centenary birthday party for his gaff-rigged cutter, Betty II, to commemorate her launch in 1921. In the early summer of 1921 at a small boatyard on the banks of the Thames Estuary, a yacht was launched, the lines of which had as much to do with terra firmaas H2O. Her owner, […]

Gipsy Moth IV: A Dud or a Classic?

As watch leader aboard the world’s most famous yacht, for two legs of her second circumnavigation, Dick Durham ponders the question: Did Chichester circumnavigate in spite of his yacht? Before we’d cleared the Strait of Gibraltar, night had fallen and the wind had risen: 40 knots of apparent, bang on the nose.  The pencil-slim hull […]

Out of the frying pan and avoiding the fire

Kevin Ward and his partner Irma were forced to remain on their boat because their homes were let, but after 456 days in a marina, they needed to escape. Dick Durham reports. At first, it was fun. Even though the shops were closed, trawlers delivered fresh fish daily, socially-distanced sailors raised a glass to each […]

A Sailing Lockdown odyssey

When COVID-19 arrived in the UK, citizens were ordered to stay indoors for three months. Becoming an armchair yachtsman held no appeal for John Passmore, so, as he told Dick Durham, he set to sea instead. In March 2020 John Passmore sat aboard Samsara, his Rival 32, in the marshy Essex archipelago of the Walton […]

Schooled At Sea

Educating their three children afloat led a cruising couple to start a desktop sailing business which now funds their voyaging, as Dick Durham reports. When the sweet-lined sloop, Totem, sailed slowly out of Puget Sound, in America’s Washington State, Niall Gifford, eldest of the boat’s child crew, couldn’t swim. Just eight months later, before he […]

The Delivery Nobody Wanted

A swift delivery trip of a brand new yacht where ‘money was no object’ was declined by many skippers. When Max Liberson took the job, he found out why, he tells Dick Durham. After a gruelling Atlantic circuit in his 38ft, engineless, ferro-cement, schooner, Gloria, Max Liberson was looking forward to a hassle-free coastal delivery […]

Convoy of fear

A face-off with gun-toting pirates left a family sailor with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Dick Durham discovers. I’m looking at a perfectly tooled paperweight of a schooner suspended in turquoise glass, but then a bikini-clad woman walks along the deck and jumps overboard. This is no ship-in-a-bottle, this is reality. A reality that Dutch-born sailor, […]