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Tag Archives: Nigel Sharp

  • A History of St Mawes Sailing Club by Nigel Sharp

    I was born and brought up in St Mawes and, although I lived “up country” for thirty-five years, St Mawes was always “home”. It was probably inevitable that would I move back one day and I eventually did so in 2007.

    A History of St Mawes 1 Taken at the Marieholm/18 Footer Championship in 2011. (Photo by Graham Pinkney, A History of St Mawes Sailing Club, Amberley Publishing)

    I have been a member of St Mawes Sailing Club since 1955 when I was less than a year old (and my five siblings also joined at similar ages) and so it seemed natural to get involved with the running of the club almost as soon as I moved back to St Mawes. Initially I was Sailing Secretary (while also becoming the rather grandly-named Chairman of the Refurbishment Committee around the same time) and in 2011 I became Commodore. In doing so I was very much following in the family footsteps as my father was the first post-war Commodore and my brother was Commodore in the 1970s – neither for very long, however, and I am pleased to say that I am now the longest serving Commodore in my family!

    A History of St Mawes 2 In 2006 Classic Sailing and StMSC organised the first Pilot Cutter Review, a sereis of weekend races adn social events. (Photo by Nigel Sharp, A History of St Mawes Sailing Club, Amberley Publishing)

    In 2010 I ended my career in the boatbuilding industry and started out as a freelance marine writer/photographer, and so I was delighted when Amberley Publishing asked me to compile and write this picture-based book, A History of St Mawes Sailing Club. The process was extremely enjoyable and satisfying, and I inevitably learnt a lot about the club. There was a fair bit I was unable to find out, however, as there seem to be periods in the history of the club (especially the early days) when very little is known. The book seems to have been well received by many of our club members which is obviously very pleasing but also a little surprising. “Well, I knew all that already” was the sort of response I half expected from some of the old stalwarts (by which I mean the old stalwarts who didn't move away for most of their adult lives, as I did). On the contrary, several have told me that they have learnt a lot from reading the book.

    But of my three books now published by Amberley, the one that gives me the most satisfaction is Troubled Waters: Leisure Boating and the Second World War. The reason for this is that I started researching it about four years ago, with no idea if it would ever come to anything, if I would ever actually write it, and if anyone would ever publish it. I put an enormous amount of time and effort into it and the whole experience made me think much more than ever before about the horrors of war and, in particular, how lucky my generation has been to be able to choose to avoid it completely. Somehow that thought is particularly poignant (not that this is relevant to my book – in fact it’s even the wrong war) the 1st of July 2016 which is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of the Somme in which 19,240 British soldiers were killed just on that first day.

    9781445652993

    Nigel Sharp's new book A History of St Mawes Sailing Club is available for purchase now.

  • Dunkirk Little Ships by Nigel Sharp

    I was delighted to be asked by Amberley Publishing to write this book. I had already spent about three years researching and writing another book (Troubled Waters: Leisure Boating and the Second World War – also soon to be published by Amberley) and the story of the Dunkirk evacuation features, in a relatively minor way, in that.

    Dunkirk 1So I had met John Tough - the current Hon Archivist of the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships and grandson of Teddington boatbuilder Doug Tough who in 1940 had assembled about 100 privately-owned motor boats and made them ready for the evacuation – and read enough about the operation to realise what a truly inspiring story it was. The number of troops successfully evacuated was well in excess of that initially predicted by the British government. This was partly because of a gallant rearguard action by Allied troops and some controversial decisions by the Germans which allowed more time; but it was also thanks to the extraordinary contribution made by the fleet 700-or-so non-military vessels which was assembled with enormous haste.

    Dunkirk 2Over a hundred Little Ships are known to have survived and there could be many more. In May forty-eight of them took part in the 75th anniversary Commemorative Return from Ramsgate to Dunkirk and I was lucky enough to be on one of them, Alan and Ann Jackson’s 57ft 6” motor yacht Riis I which was built in 1920. Half a dozen Dunkirk Veterans also took part but it is a sad inevitability of life that there will come a time when they will be no more. From then on the ongoing survival of the Little Ships themselves will hold even greater significance.

    Dunkirk - 9781445647500

    Nigel's book Dunkirk Little Ships is available for purchase now.

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