Malcolm Snook, I use the handle sailorsnook in many places online as I’ve been a liveaboard boat gypsy for nine years. Where does it go? I bought my Van Der Vlies 35 Dutch Steel Ketch in Waterford in Ireland in December 2003 and promptly moved on board and sailed her back to London via Wales and Lands End. That’s right I crossed the Irish Sea in December in a 35ft boat! Well, I wanted to be in London for Christmas, but it was tough.
I then spent some time doing the boat up and changed her name to Francesca after my daughter. Once that was completed I set off on the next stage of my travels, up the east coast of England to Scotland, then across to Norway, around Southern Norway and across to Gothenburg in Sweden and all the way around Sweden to the Northern Baltic and the wonderful swing dance camp at Herrang.
From Herrang I went to Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Southern England, Northern France, The Channel Islands, Biscay, Spain and Portugal and by now it’s the end of 2005 already and I’m in Sines Southern Portugal. I carried on travelling that winter and just before Easter 2006 I was in the wonderful City of Seville for Semana Santa celebrations and the amazing Feria.
A book about my travels will follow on from my first book entitled Of Land, Sea And Sky, so to cut a long story short I then travelled most of the Mediterranean, including the Aegean, The Middle East and North Africa. I also fitted in a trip up the Dardanelles and Bosphorus to the Black Sea, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova (by land of course) and Ukraine.
Favourite places so far include Scandinavia, Italy and Sicily, Bulgaria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia. I threw in a delivery trip on another yacht across the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean and then sailed out to The Azores on my boat and then the latest big sail north to The Isles Of Scilly, both archipelagos are really lovely. And now I’m in London trying to replenish the bank balance!
As this section is supposed to be a bio I should fill in some earlier blanks. I was brought up in East London where I learned to play the violin and in a rough school in Walthamstow that’s no route to popularity I can assure you! And where, bizarrely, I also learnt to sail thanks to Ken Ford. (All in my first book). After school I became a skydiving instructor for six years – well why not and then I bluffed my way into advertising to earn the money to race cars, which I did for eight years – boyhood ambition fulfilled, I also did two years of rather more successful motorcycle racing then started my own advertising agency.
While running that business I also learned to dance, did a bit of acting, bought and sold vintage clothes and watches and wrote for a Harley Davidson magazine, before jacking it all in to go and be a liveaboard boat gypsy, which pretty much brings us back to the top! If you’re really keen to know more look for my books of which more are in the pipeline.