A pioneer of recycling

Fran­cis B Cooke wrote dozens of books on sail­ing between 1900 and 1960, and they are a mine of inform­a­tion on Brit­ish yachts of his time, and the gear and tech­niques involved in sail­ing them, all of which remains rel­ev­ant to the present day tra­di­tion­al sail­ing scene. But there was so much over­lap in con­tent between the books that it would have been expens­ive and inef­fi­cient for even the most ded­ic­ated read­er to acquire all of them to achieve ‘full cov­er­age’ of his era.

What it really needed was for someone to con­dense all that was unique in them into a single, all-encom­passing volume; I took on this task, redu­cing some five thou­sand pages to around seven hun­dred, painstak­ingly edited and type­set, with all of the draw­ings digit­ally cleaned up, and some recent pho­tos of many of the self-same boats that Cooke knew a cen­tury or so ago. His ori­gin­al books were typo­graph­ic­ally ‘work­man­like’ and typ­ic­al of their time, and the new edi­tion of his Cruis­ing Hints set out to repro­duce the same feel. Click below to read a few pages.