News

What an honour! Telling Seaham lifeboat supporters about Crab’s Odyssey

Great fun yesterday (15 November) as I gave a presentation on my memoir book Crab’s Odyssey: Malta to Istanbul in an Open Boat about sailing in the Mediterranean. I am very honoured to be at the Heritage Museum at Seaham, home of the famous Seaham lifeboat, 2 days before tomorrow’s 55th anniversary of the tragedy.…

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Events – Corbridge Farm Women’s Club

Many thanks to Corbridge Farm Women’s Club! One of my most responsive audiences for some readings from Crab’s Odyssey was the Corbridge Farm Women’s Club. It was exciting to travel up to that beautiful historic Northumberland town and tell them about my sailing adventures in the Mediterranean, 60 years ago. It seemed such an unlikely…

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Crab’s Odyssey featured in Somerville magazine

I enjoy so many memories of university when I read Somerville Magazine from my college Somerville. So I am very delighted and honoured that an article about my book of sailing adventures in the Mediterranean is featured in their 2017 Somerville Magazine, the Global Issue. Many thanks to the editor, Sarah Hughes (probably no relation!).…

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Author survives Greek sailing adventure – Alexander McCall Smith 6 Sept

It’s amazing how sailing in Greece lures authors. It has sudden storms and danger, then dazzling beauty mixed with kindness, love, life and hospitality – all the ingredients your characters can surprise you with when you are trying to write them into an orderly story. Will they even survive a night of disaster, being cast…

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60 years ago today, how we nearly drowned

Our lifeboat Crab was unsinkable, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t be thrown out and drown in heavy seas as we sailed the Greek Islands. Here is the entry from my memoir Crab’s Odyssey about running a storm from Preveza in Epirus, Northwest Greece, to Levkas Bridge on the Island of Levkas. If you want…

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Love and kindness – Greek sailing adventures 60 years ago today

Sailing a small boat in the Greek islands brought many lovely encounters, including the hospitality of the Greeks. People were often ready to share what they had, however poor they were in those years of rebuilding Greece from the devastation of World War II. Their kindness ensured we could sleep easy, after even the most…

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A modern trireme – Olympias managed 16km/hr with 170 rowers

Some of our sailing adventures in Crab were in the tracks of the famous triremes. In classical times, these were the most advanced warships of the day. So I was fascinated to read more about the Trireme Trust and the Hellenic Navy‘s reconstruction and trials of trireme Olympias as a modern reconstruction of a boat…

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The skulls in Otranto

I visited Otranto Cathedral in late October 2011 with my younger sister Kate, while researching places on our route for my book “Crab’s Odyssey“ on sailing adventures in Greece, Italy and Turkey. Sure enough, there behind the altar in the Cathedral crypt were impressive glass cupboards against the walls, and, in them, rows and rows of…

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Sailing young – “My Older Sister Teaches me How to Sail”

Here is a story about sailing lessons, in the estuary of the River Dwyryd in front of Portmeirion, Wales. My brother Owain was seven years old and we both loved sailing as children. This extract is from his beautiful book about childhood adventures in Wales and elsewhere and including his hiking trip down the Llyn…

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