The Marine Quarterly, A Journal of the Sea

Old ships unlike old sailors hang around. Their bones can be found mouldering in half-tide creeks, their hulls abandoned on lonely sea walls, their rigs unshipped and stacked in long-forgotten boat yards.

Alternatively they can be lovingly restored and surrounded by purple ropes in museum galleries or – even better – they can be draped with Stockholm tarred ropes, and set to sailing again. But the men who sailed with them disappear forever.

Unless they are writers.

And, of course, many are, because there’s something about being out on the back of the ocean which drives a man to the pen. Partly this is due to ego which nags us not to be insignificant. Out on the sea it’s difficult to feel we are anything else. So to negate that we write about it.

Now a new vehicle has arrived for such writers. The Marine Quarterly, A Journal of the Sea, edited by top sailing novelist Sam Llewellyn. The great thing about this publication is that it resurrects authors past -like George Millar, and Hilaire Belloc and promotes authors present like Jim Ring, Craig Brown and the peerless Roger D Taylor.

There is room for experts to give us their subjects in the fullest context: I found Tom Cunliffe’s essays on vessels from my own part of the coast: the Thames Sailing Barge and the Essex Smack, comprehensive, passionate and enlightening.

The artwork, by artists like Claudia Myatt and James Dodds is subtle and – as it should be with a literary publication – an auxiliary to the tome.

In a world where we are constantly told the media is dumbing down, The Marine Quarterly is a welcome fresh breeze reminiscent of Blackwoods Magazine. We should trim our sheets and sail with it.