Home' Afloat : AFLOAT May 2015 Contents 60 AFLOAT.com.au May 2015
Both survived, Mrs Hammond being
awarded a medal for her gallantry in
saving the life of a crew member as they
struggled ashore on a line. Daisy was later
carried ashore, strapped to the back of
the ship’s bosun.
Geoffrey Potter, Local Studies
Librarian at Gosford City Council, has
compiled a dramatic story of the final
voyage of SS Maitland after she left Sydney
in the worst gale in 20 years.
Extensively researched and well illustrated, the book contains
contemporary accounts from those who survived the wreck that
cost the lives of at least 27 passengers and crew. Importantly, it
recognised the heroism of many and sheds light on the human
aspects of this terrible tragedy.
Phoenix from the ashes
... the boat that rebuilt our lives
by Justin Ruthven-Tyers
published by Bloomsbury Publishing
RRP: $19.99 (250pp; 197mm x 128mm; soft cover)
Anyone contemplating building or
buying a yacht to go short-handed cruising
must read this book, although it is centred
on the southern and western waters of the
It is the most delightful book on
cruising I have read, a beautifully written
narrative with fascinating illustrations,
describing how a house fire resulted in
a young(ish) couple, Justin and Linda,
deciding their new home should be a boat.
Complete amateurs, they set about
building a classic 15-tonne yacht in a barn
on a farm in Devon, felling trees for the mast, frames and keel in
local forests. There is a wonderful photo of the completed hull being
trucked down a narrow English lane to its launching in Cornwall.
Based on the design of a gaff-rigged Falmouth pilot cutter, they
christened her Caol Ila, for no other reason that it is the brand of a fine
whisky made on the Isle of Islay off the rugged west coast of Scotland.
Ultimately, on a long cruise west and north they anchored off
the Caol Ila distillery nestled in a hidden cove near Port Askaig.
Excitedly expecting a warm welcome and the offer of a ‘wee dram’
and cases of the single malt, they found a notice ‘closed for annual
Before their voyage north to the Isle of Islay, Justin and Linda
had begun living on board in snug anchorages along the southern
coast of England before setting sail to search the hidden coves and
wilderness of Cornwall, France, Ireland and finally Scotland.
Justin’s story tells of their many escapades at little ports of
call and of the quirky, but always entertaining, characters they met
along the shoreline. Mostly, however, they “wanted to find places no
rougher than a farm pond.” Not always, of course! h
NB: A bottle of Caol Ila single malt whisky will cost you $150.00+ in
Australian bottle shops.
Books reviewed by Peter Campbell
BOOKS OF THE
Boat Books Tel: 1300 262 826
Man of Iron, Ship of Steel
Vic Meyer, man of iron; iron by trade and iron
by temperament, was the owner, builder and
skipper of Solo. She arrived on the Sydney
ocean yacht racing scene in 1955 like a
runaway train, winning every major ocean race in Australia. Not only first
yacht across the line but also on handicap, testimony to both the skills of
Alan Payne her designer and her hard driving skipper.
HB 200 pages $59.95
Afloat and Adrift
When a discontented career woman begins to
question what life should really be about, she makes
a courageous change that sets her adrift from financial
and personal security. Moving from the west to the
east coast of Australia, and then on to New Zealand,
she searches for answers. But it is in the South Pacific,
when she becomes part of the world of oceangoing
yachts and the people who have made the sea their
home that she finally finds what she is looking for. PB 298 pages $24.95
Wreck of the Maitland
... a scene to make the angels weep
by Geoffrey Potter
published by Gosford City Council
RRP $35.00 (credit card orders (02) 4325 8222)
(208pp; 245mm x 170mm; soft cover)
Most of us who have sailed up the New South Wales Central
Coast past Cape Three Points just north of Broken Bay, or who have
trekked the spectacular coastal walk, probably know that Maitland
Bay was named in remembrance of the tragic wreck of the passenger
vessel SS Maitland in the late 1890s.
Few of us, even local residents who now live overlooking Cape
Three Points, really know details of the dramatic, heart-wrenching
story of how this aging steam-powered paddle-steamer smashed
onto the rocks on a stormy voyage, of the heroic efforts by many crew
members and passengers, with the eventual loss of so many lives.
Indeed, as the title of this fascinating book implies, the long
night and dawning of Friday, May 6, 1898 saw “a scene to make the
The reader will find tears welling as they read of the fate of one
woman passenger, Mrs Anita Hammond, who was forced to leave
her baby, Daisy, in the arms of the captain aboard the stern section
of the ship after it had broken in two.
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