I've always been interested in stories of cruising and exploration aboard boats—sail and power. I also have a fondness for old books (my wife might say it's a mania). Over the years, as I've collected books about my interest, I've become increasingly focused on the adventures of a small group of men, primarily British, who wrote of their experiences sailing, rowing, or motoring in and around Europe during the late 19th and early-to-mid 20th centuries. I find their descriptions of a world that is largely gone quite romantic. One of my great dreams is to spend a few years following in some of their footsteps by small boat. We've done this, to a small extent, during a number of summer cruises on the canals and waterways of France. Hopefully we'll be able to continue in the years to come.
These sailors were also often artists—indeed that was usually the norm rather than the exception. I enjoy their artwork and will include some of it here. I'll also include references to it that I find online (though these are few and far between outside of one or two artists). I've even managed to collect some of their original works myself.
More than a decade of interest and research has led to a considerable library focused on the yachtsmen and yachting during the latter part of the 19th century and the first few decades of the 20th century. As is often the case, when reading one book its author will refer to another. As I followed that sort of thread (starting with Childers' description of the library aboard Ducibella
in The Riddle of the Sands
) my library quickly grew. I currently have well over one thousand books on the subject, not to mention the many pertaining specifically to the naval aspects of World War One.
I use Book Collector from Collectorz.com
to track information about my library. A handy tool that has worked well for me for years—on both the Windows and Mac platform (including my iPhone).