More than 400 ships lost


Thames sailing barge crews used to say that there were no harbours between Harwich and the Humber, but that there were plenty of lifeboat stations. There are harbours in that long stretch of coastline, of course, but everyone who knows the area understands immediately what the old coasting sailors meant.

The only safe harbours, in other words harbours that can be entered in any weather, end with Harwich going north and the Humber coming south. Those unlucky enough to get caught out along this coast have to rely on the lifeboat for sanctuary instead.

Now an East Coast sailor has written a book about a section of this unforgiving coastline. Peter Hancock, a man who has sailed halfway round the world in a Contessa 26, and who now sails a Drascombe Lugger from Southwold, has given us some terrific fireside reading this winter.

His book Sunk on the Sunrise Coast, published by Tempus at £18.99, is truly a gripping read about the 400 vessels which have been wrecked along this treacherous stretch of coastline.

The picture shows Peter leaving Southwold in his Drascombe Lugger, Pippin.