It’s pleasing to hear about yacht designer, surveyor, sailmaker, yachtsman, paragon of octogenarian health and prolific author of really useful yachting books, Ian Nicolson, rubbing shoulders with fellow media and literary ‘heavyweights’, Sally Magnusson, James Robertson and Kirsty Wark, at the recent Cove & Kilcreggan Book Festival, Argyll, Scotland. And great to see Ian holding forth with Martin Black’s G.L. Watson – The Art and Science of Yacht Design tucked under his arm.
After apprenticeship in England with Poole-based yacht designer and builder, Frederick R. Parker, gaining experience with Thornycrofts and working for Thorton Grenfell in Canada, Ian joined Alfred Mylne & Co. in 1959, eventually taking over the famous Glasgow design office on the death of the 2nd Alfred Mylne, nephew of the firm’s founder who had shocked his mentor, G.L. Watson, in going it alone in 1896.
Amongst his varied day work – he has never really retired – Ian has somehow found the time to write, so far, 23 books mostly on yacht design, construction and surveying, but also popular accounts of the ocean voyaging of his youth. He played a starring role in the BBC film of the Clyde Cruising Club’s 1968 Tobermory Race, narrated by Sally Magnusson’s father, the much missed broadcaster, Magnus. We wrote about it last year in what has become the most popular post at this blog.
Ian’s appreciation of G.L. Watson – The Art and Science of Yacht Design for the 2012 Royal Northern & Clyde YC Yearbook (page 55) has recently been added to the Reviews page at the Peggy Bawn Press blog. We were rather taken with his final words:
“… the sensuous and mental joys of owning this lovely volume are endless.”
Martin Black’s beautifully illustrated and written biography, G.L. Watson – The Art and Science of Yacht Design, can be purchased online at our website www.peggybawnpress.com, from Amazon UK and Amazon USA, and from the bookstores listed here.
~ Iain McAllister ~
[With thanks to: Rona Grierson | The Lochside Press | Cove & Kilcreggan Book Festival | Mylne Yacht Design.]
[Update 5 December 2014: After posting last night, we found this remarkable testament to the health benefits of ocean cruising and a life around boats – and a reminder that Ian Nicolson was one of the Ocean Cruising Club’s founding members in 1954.]