CRUISING TALK WITH ROD HEIKELL

12/03/2020



ROD HEIKELL’S HISTORY OF YACHTING IN THE MEDITERRANEAN

Rod Heikell will be familiar to anyone who has or is planning to cruise the Mediterranean. Whether its local customs advice, sound practical navigation in hitherto unfamiliar waters, local weather anomalies, practical advice on marinas, fuel, provisioning or indeed the rich and varied history and mythology, of your chosen cruising ground, Rod Heikell’s cruising guides are a must and nobody tells it better than him. 
 
DATE: Thursday 12th March
TIME: 1930 hrs
PRICE: €30 optional supper per person

Rod Heikell has spent more than 40 years sailing and writing about the Mediterranean. During that time, he has amassed an extensive collection of papers and books on the history of yachting in the Mediterranean and participating in the modern era of that history. In this book he has painstakingly put together the history of sailing for pleasure in the Mediterranean from the ancient Egyptians up to the present.
Beginning with the royal yachts of the pharaohs, the book looks at the Greeks and the influence of the Odyssey, the excesses of Caligula and the poems of Catallus, the scant history of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the Romantic poets, and Shelley’s sad demise on his yacht. It explores the French writers and artists who sailed these waters, the Victorians and Americans who toured the Mediterranean in their yachts, up to and through the 20th century. The social and political upheavals of the last century changed the world and gave the impetus for many to escape the woes of a post-war world and sail down to the azure waters and warmth of the Mediterranean.
Despite recessions and the age of austerity the numbers of yachts has exploded in the 21st century. The author looks at the voyages around the inland sea in yachts large and small and examines the development of the yachting infrastructure around the countries bordering the Mediterranean.
The book is illustrated with numerous photos and illustrations from the author’s collection and other sources. The book is for those who mess about in boats and those with an interest in the history of the Mediterranean, as well as being a reference for more serious research, with extensive reference footnotes.
 

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Rod Heikell was born in New Zealand in 1949 and sailed hesitantly around bits of its coast in a variety of yachts. In England he abandoned academic life and for no good reason other than curiosity, he bought Roulette, a 1950’s plywood JOG yacht nearly 20ft long, and sailed it down to the Mediterranean. He worked on charter here and delivered yachts until, in ignorance of the scale of the task, he set off to write a yachtsman’s guide to Greece. This was followed by guides for other countries in the Mediterranean.

In 1987 he embarked on a trip down the Danube and on to Turkey in Rozinante, an 18ft Mirror Offshore. In 1996 he took his fourth yacht, his Tetra, to SE Asia and back for the research for Indian Ocean Cruising Guide. Apart from sailing the ‘wrong’ way and back again the ‘right’ way across the Indian Ocean in Tetranora, he has done two transatlantics in seven tenths and two transatlantics on Skylax, his present yacht. Skylax is now back in the Mediterranean after her circumnavigation being readied for new adventures. He always returns to the Mediterranean, his favourite cruising grounds, where with his wife Lu he updates his guides on the area.

He has had over 24 books published and been translated into six languages. He has written several novels under the pen name of J C Graeme. He often writes articles for yachting and other magazines. When he is not on Skylax he lives with Lu in Cowes on the Isle of Wight working on his books and cooking good food in the Keith Floyd tradition of one for the pot and one for cookie. His most recent books are The Trade Wind Foodie, The Accidental Sailor and Sailing Ancient Seas.