Dick was born within the sound of fog-horns at Leigh-on-Sea, Essex where the Thames turns from river to estuary. That river is in his DNA: his grandfather, Cape Horner Richard Durham OBE DSO, went to sea as an apprentice in the square-riggers, Pass of Killicrankie and Pass of Brander, both of which towed up river to the London Docks.
His father, Richard II, a lifelong yachtsman, taught Dick, aged 12, how to hand, reef and steer. He has been sailing for over 50 years, starting in dinghies, dayboats, and then on to cruising yachts and racing machines. He has sailed across the North Sea and down Channel as well as on the East Coast from the Humber to the Solent in his own boats and from Norway to Gibraltar in friends’ craft as well as bareboat chartering in the Caribbean, Med and Andaman Sea.
As a lad he served as mate in the last working sailing ship in the UK, the Thames sailing barge, Cambria, under the legendary Bob Roberts, carrying cargo from the London Docks to East Coast ports.
Dick also sailed aboard the Brixham trawler, Leader, on a delivery trip from Scotland to the West Country.
He was on the 55ft brigantine, Black Pearl, when she was rescued by the St Nazaire lifeboat during a November Storm 10 in Biscay. He has raced aboard the 12 metre Victory for the America’s Cup Jubilee, was crew aboard Warpath, a 41ft raceboat for the 2001 Fastnet Race and was watch leader aboard Sir Francis Chichester’s restored Gipsy Moth IV, for two legs of her second circumnavigation. Most recently he crewed for Sir Robin Knox-Johnston aboard the world-girdling Suhaili in the first Hamble Classic Regatta.
Dick worked as a newspaperman on the Fleet Street tabloids for more than 20 years and as an online journalist for CNN.com Europe before joining the staff of Yachting Monthly where he was News Editor and, later, Features Editor.
He now works as a freelance journalist writing occasionally for newspapers but more regularly for the yachting press and he still pens a column for Yachting Monthly.
He has written six books about sailing, including the biographies of yacht designer, Maurice Griffiths, coasting bargemaster, Bob Roberts, and yachting cartoonist, Mike Peyton. He has also written two novels with a maritime theme. An RYA Yachtmaster he currently owns a classic yacht, Betty II, a 25ft gaff cutter, built in 1921.