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Welsh Ships and Sailing Men

  • £8.90
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  • Author: J. Geraint Jenkins
  • Publication March 2006
  • Adapted/Translated by Martin Davis.
  • Format: Paperback, 296 pages

An English adaptation of the volume Traddodiad y Môr (2004). An informative volume following the Welsh coast from Chepstow to Deeside tracing the rich contribution of the Welsh nation to seamanship, comprising details about boat builders and owners, the variety of sea trade, the lives of sailors, smugglers and pirates, written by an expert in the field.

Gwales Review
With a coastline that’s almost a thousand miles long, it’s not surprising that there’s a deep rooted maritime tradition in Wales.

These days, economic dependence on the sea tends to revolve around attracting tourists. In days gone by, as this book comprehensively shows, it was much more than that. Invaders like the Vikings and Romans all came to Wales by sea. And in times when other transport links were poor or non-existent, sea travel was king and towns on the coast thrived.

No fewer than 65 once active Welsh ports are described in Welsh Ships and Sailing Men as well as the people who lived in them. There are also the sailors, sea traders, smugglers, pirates and shipbuilders.

There’s plenty of historical detail for the purist as well as delightful human touches which illustrate just how hard a life at and by the sea could be. For example even when steam replaced sail, conditions for the crew were still unforgiving. One account from the 1930s tells how refrigeration on board was inadequate and weevils were a common part of the diet.

This book serves as an important reminder of a time when the sea was much more than simply something to look at – it was a source of life and death.

Kevin Ashford