Puffin's Log by J M Greenway

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→ PDF Download Cunliffe on Cruising (Article by Tom Cunliffe Featuring Puffin)
'Puffin's Log' by J M Greenway tells of one family's voyages from Poole Harbour to Northern France and the canals of Belgium and the Netherlands in their small 22-ft Hillyard sailing boat in the 1950s. Jocelyn Greenway wrote about her family's holidays and many of these accounts were published at the time with sketches, photographs and maps by her husband, Robert. Cathy Woodhead, their daughter, has put the writings about the family trips in Puffin into a book called 'Puffin's Log'.

Jocelyn wrote about Puffin in a later article:

'Somehow the two of us and our three children squeezed into a yacht designed for two, and were able to sail to France, Belgium and Holland inexpensively, if somewhat uncomfortably.  Once across the channel, and we were all glad when that lay behind us, all the ports between Cherbourg and Flushing were open to us.  We could visit the Bayeux tapestry from the little harbour at Port en Bessin, sunbathe on the beach at Deauville, enjoy moules marinières at Nieuport, or enter the lovely Dutch canals at Flushing and visit Middelburgh and Veere.'

'Here the children had the opportunity of seeing the women in their national costumes, and they could enjoy shopping in the markets.  In some Dutch shops ready-peeled potatoes were available, and we were able to buy ready chopped raw vegetables for soup.  This certainly helped with the catering on board a small yacht.  Cooking was done on one Primus, and very often stews were on the menu, followed by tinned Apfelmoes, all excellent form of apple purée, or fresh fruit and in Holland we discovered the delights of Chocomel.'

'Puffin's Log' has 113 pages, 27 sketches, 35 photographs and 5 maps. It is paperback, A5 size and its ISBN No is 978-0-9561469-0-8 


By Sir Chris Bonington, Mountaineer
What a lovely and very special book. It's one that all generations can enjoy - the older, like myself, with nostalgia and the younger, as an inspiration to go out and adventure. I love the illustrations and the freshness of the narrative - it takes me back to my own childhood and the adventures that I enjoyed.
By Tony Robinson - Actor and television presenter
A charming book illuminated by evocative photographs and exquisite paintings
By Jim Curran, Writer, artist and film maker
What a joyful little book!...Inevitably it will be compared with Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series and rightly so! Jocelyn Greenway writes clearly and simply; no frills, no padding, just accurate descriptive prose that evokes time and place perfectly. Her husband Robert has the keen eye of a first rate illustrator. His images are a perfect complement to the words…This little book is a delightful evocation of a nearly bygone age. I loved it.
By Michael Walden, Commodore Hillyard Owners Association
This charming gem of a book is loaded to the gunwales with a cargo of rich nostalgia all the more poignant because the story relates to a real family. A lovely antidote to today’s risk-averse, over-technical age and one to which many old seadogs would be glad to return
By Peter Gillman, Writer and journalist
A delightful book, evocative, nostalgic, full of charm
By Dick Durham - Yachting World June 2009
As the credit crunch haunts us all it’s a relief to bask in a nostalgic view of sailing when life was simple, boats small and adventures big. One such set of voyages back in time can be enjoyed with this winsome little book about a 22ft Hillyard, Puffin, based at the Parkstone Yacht Club in Poole, Dorset in the 1950s. She was sailed by her skipper, architecture lecturer Robert Greenway, his wife Jocelyn, wrote the articles, which now make up this book, and their three children, in daring dashes across the Channel and then on to France, Belgium and Holland. It is illustrated with simple but charming oil paintings and sketches by Robert and wonderful period photographs of Jocelyn sailing in a polka dot headscarf, the children learning to swim in a lifebuoy with a warp round it, and the son heaving up a riding light still wearing his gartered school socks. The book is edited by Cathy Woodhead (née Greenway) – one of the children in the book – who states: ‘Looking back, I feel privileged to have had such a rich childhood’. She’s right and it’s a lesson we should try to re-learn as the material world slumps before our very eyes.
By Keith Goss (Waterways World July 2009)
This is a fascinating account of a family’s series of holiday voyages in their 22-ft Hillyard sailing boat in the 1950s, across the English Channel and along the waterways of France, the Netherlands and Belgium. Illustrated by a series of evocative photographs and charming paintings, this book exudes nostalgia on every page and poignantly recalls a bygone (better?) age through its simple descriptive text. Comparisons with Arthur Ransome’s wonderful swallows and Amazons books are inevitable.
By Tom Cunliffe Yachting Monthly
Cunliffe on Cruising August 2009
I dipped in, and was captivated. Puffin’s Log is about family holidays on a diminutive wooden yacht in the early 1950s. The work is illustrated with charming sketches and watercolours, plus a few monochrome photographs. The text is deliciously uncomplicated. The 22ft yacht has the tightest of headroom and a minute petrol engine whose consumption would be measured in pints, so little was it used. There is only one pair of bunks, but a mattress tossed up into the focsle affords modest comfort at bed-time to the two small girls. The son, somewhat older, dosses down on spare sails between his parents.
Puffin lives on a mooring half a mile out in Poole Harbour, probably at the cost of a few shillings a year. The writer, Jocelyn Greenway, does comment that their holidays are very economical. They row out, come wind or weather, in a clinker-built dinghy which they then tow to wherever they are going. The children are encouraged to use this to develop their seamanship skills, which, of course, in the absence of an outboard engine, they do. When it rains in harbour, things are a bit tight, but somehow they manage. They cruise to the Solent and all the usual South Coast destinations, but they also spend time in the Seine Bay and twice make it to Holland and the Ijsselmeer. This is good going by any standards in such a craft which, you’ll note, doesn’t even have a self-draining cockpit, much less VHF radio, liferaft and all the other paraphernalia without which many of us wouldn’t leave harbour. Irresponsible? You could say that, but I won’t. Robert Greenway had just come through WWII, fighting in India and Burma. He was a qualified architect and a university lecturer. A man of experience few of us can equal, and no fool. The love and care for one another which shines through his wife’s accounts are simply a joy, and we can be grateful to their daughter Cathy for having the logs bound and published. ..You’ve only to read Jocelyn’s account and see the art that Robert found time to produce to feel their inner peace. As I remarked at the outset, we can’t turn back the clock, but we’d be crazy not to learn a few lessons from the Greenways.
By Yachting Monthly (October 2009) Letters
Those were the days
Tom Cunliffe got it right in contrasting yet more officialdom with the charm in Jocelyn Greenway's book, Puffin's Log (August). Our boat has more instruments than Simon Rattle could shake his stick at, yet only the echosounder and log get switched on. The pencil, compass and chart seem to work. But the scariest point Tom makes is that unlike the Greenways, we live in a checklist society. Recent visitors aboard asked if I'd carried out a risk assessment. I replied that I'd always mentally done so ever since I crossed the Thames Estuary in a scow with a bit of blackout curtain as a sail. (I didn't tell them I was nine years old at the time and had to be rescued off the Essex bank). On the other hand, when the Greenways sailed Puffin from Poole (wonder how much the mooring fee was then?) the whole sailing world was Swallows and Amazons, Robin Knox- Johnston wasn't even a British India cadet and Dee Caffari's parents were toddlers! Tom says we'd be crazy not to learn lessons from the Greenways. Which ones? Adventure? Common sense? Why bother, when you can switch on the tri-data and chartplotter instead.
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