L. R. Denham

This and that . . .

Category: Sailing

Not just Robinson Crusoe

You’ve read Robinson Crusoe, haven’t you? Do you remember who wrote the book? No?

Daniel Defoe. He wrote that one book, a long time ago, and it became a Classic.

Daniel Defoe by Michael Van der Gucht 1706

That’s the general impression most people have about the man who wrote Robinson Crusoe. But it’s totally misleading. Daniel Defoe, who was born in about 1660 and died in April 1731, was probably one of the most prolific writers of his day. He wrote at least seven novels, and a total of several hundred published works of all kinds. Robinson Crusoe was his first novel, published in 1719, and may have been the first novel written and published in English. Defoe had a very colorful life, as a businessman, a convict, a spy, and a political campaigner. Read the rest of this entry »


The Early Circumnavigators

The idea of the earth being round rather than flat has been known since ancient times. Eratosthenes calculated the diameter of the earth, a few years before he became Chief Librarian of the famous library at Alexandria (Egypt), in 236BC (that’s 2,248 years ago). But it took a long time for anyone to actually try to travel all the way around the earth.

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Books by Francis B. Cooke

Cruising Hints

The only book by Francis B. Cooke currently in print

Francis B. Cooke was an English yachtsman who wrote about thirty books on the pastime. But while he was very popular in the late nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century, his books are no longer widely available.

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Francis B. Cooke


The man left in charge of Frank’s boat pointing her out to him.

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Ancient anchors

Ever since boats first ventured into deep water, sailors have needed anchors. At first, an anchor was simply a stone on the end of a rope. Of course, it helps if you can drill a hole through the stone to tie the rope to, though I’m sure the earliest anchors did not have such a refinement.

Stone anchor

This is just such an anchor (a Public Domain image from Wikimedia), found in the ruins of the ancient city of Byblos in Lebanon. Something similar is still sold, usually under the name mushroom anchor, made out of cast iron or cast lead, and often coated with plastic.

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