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Old 04 November 2001, 09:50   #1
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A Tale for Dark Winter's Nights

One miserable wet dark day last week, I was pondering the thought of waiting until January, when I am back up in Scotland and can take my boat out again. Then the post arrived and suddenly my day was brightened up, for the postman had brought me a book to read. Not just any book though. A book about a journey on a RIB. Not just any journey on a RIB though. An incredible journey, a journey through impossible conditions, in what must be some of the most dangerous boating waters in the world, for a big boat never mind in a RIB.

It was Alan Priddy's 'Beating The Big One', to quote the blurb: 'The story of the first high-latitude crossing of the Atlantic by open boat in 1,000 years.'

Well actualy the book is much more than that. It is also the story of the first 'Round Scotland', the 1992 'Round Britain', the 1993 'Round Ireland' and his 'Bay of Biscay' run in 1996. All of which formed the run up, although Alan did not necessarily know it at the time, to 'The Big One' in 1997.

I'm sure that many members of this forum will already have their own copy, but some of the newer members such as me may not be aware of this excellent book.

As I began reading I was soon thoroughly imersed in the world of 'endurance' ribbing and the miserable day outside was quickly shut out as I 'became' a part of Alan's team. Everything is covered. The boat, the equipment, the highs the lows, it's all there. It's one of those books that is hard to put down. You just have to turn the page to see how they coped with the particular situation.

By the time we had been transported to the actual journey of the title I felt that I was on the boat with Alan and his intrepid crew. I could feel the cold and the wet. To give you an example of how you are taken into the story, let me quote from the chapter on Battle Harbour, where so much was promised and so little delivered, from this, one of the most remote communities in the world.

"Alan and his crew step ashore to what can only be described as an odd and troubling atmosphere. The place reeks, not of fish as it once would have done, but of history. They each have different impressions, and most of them are mediaeval, reminiscent of burning at the stake..."

"They can not start the fire, even with their underpants..."

Well you get the idea.

There is also the mystery of the Russian trawler where no one is at home!

This is a story of inspiration, guts, danger, human frailty and of human kindness.

This is a book that should be on the shelf of everyone with even a remote interest in the sea and even the smallest glimmer of adventure in their soul.

Apart from helping me to pass a couple of dark, wet and miserable days this book did something much more important. The efforts of Alan and his crew INSPIRED me to have a go at my own boating challenge, which when compared with theirs is a mere triffle, but never the less for me it is a BIG thing, and 'Beating The Big One' has made me determined to meet my own challenge. Well done Alan and crew and thanks.

The book is published by:

Safe T Net
22 Willowbed Drive
Chichester
PO19 2JB
England

Tel: 01243 537333

Keith Hart
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Old 05 November 2001, 05:10   #2
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Nice write up Keith! You ought to do that sort of thing for a living . . .

If anyone here hasn't got a copy yet, then here's a deal for you. Cover price is £9.99, but you can have a signed copy for £7.00, delivered free (in the EU -- shipping is negotiable for other destinations!)

Send a cheque payable to Alan Priddy to

RIBnet book offer
Offshore Expeditions
11 PEC
Quartremaine Road
Portsmouth
PO3 5QT

Why not buy a few as Christmas stocking fillers?

John
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Old 05 November 2001, 14:43   #3
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Another good read in the same vein is "The unsinkable Kilcullen " by Enda O'Coineen .

Enda was one of the first people to cross the Atlantic by RIB in the early 80's.

His was a single handed non stop voyage from Canada to the UK in a 5metre RIB with a 50 hp engine- A truly epic voyage.

His previous effort a few years before in a smaller inflatable ended with being recovered by the RN with just a few hundred miles to go.

Up until 1998 Enda also held the Round Ireland Powerboat record.

Best wishes ,

Stuart
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Old 05 November 2001, 17:46   #4
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Powerboat...

Do you know if this story is still in print and where to obtain a copy?...Thanks,
Neil
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Old 05 November 2001, 17:56   #5
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another tale...

Then there is Bryan Peterson's circumnavigation in 'Sunrider" a Hurricane 733, w' a Mercruiser D219 and a yanmar D27 outboard, using Vegatable oil for fuel...
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Old 05 November 2001, 18:04   #6
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Sunrider photo...

pic...
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Old 05 November 2001, 18:05   #7
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Sunrider Photo again...

bugger!!!
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Old 05 November 2001, 19:18   #8
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If you go into www.abebooks.com and enter O'Coineen under the author search it will bring up quite a few second hand copies for sale . I think that it has now gone out of print .

Below is some blurb I lifted from abebooks .com describing the book .

Best wishes ,

Stuart
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O'Coineen, Enda THE UNSINKABLE KILCULLEN
London: The Bodley Head Ltd, 1987 Hard Cover. Very Good/Very Good. First Edition. 8.75" x 5.5". ISBN:0 370 31119 1. THE UNSINKABLE KILCULLEN Across the Atlantic By Inflatable and Other Ways to Get Wet. An unusual, original and refreshing sea-going narrative of the author's 2800 mile journey across the Atlantic from North America to Ireland in a 16ft inflatable boat. xii pp prelims, 3pp maps, 8pp b&w photos, 8pp colour photographs, 192 pp with unclipped dust jacket .
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Old 07 November 2001, 10:41   #9
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Powerboat, I think you will find that Enda was not the first person to cross the Atlantic in an inflatable, it was done by a Frenchman back in the early 70's. Enda's crossing was a remarkable feat of seaman ship especialy when he had little or no navigation aid's except a tiny compass and was very much reliant on the wind and tide to blow him in the right direction.
As for Bryan Peterson, I dont think he has written a book about his adventure.
Cheers

Alan
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Old 11 November 2001, 18:22   #10
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Hi Alan ,

Yes , I believe you are right about the Frenchman in the 70's.

As far as I remember....... ,

Enda's first and very nearly sucessful voyage was in an inflatable "Kilcullen 1" and his second sucessful voyage was in a RIB "Kilcullen2 "

Best wishes ,

Stuart
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Old 16 July 2002, 14:44   #11
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Well folks I'm going to bring this thread up to the top again at what I feel is an appropriate time.

Just now the crew of SoC must be at their lowest ebb, emotionally and physically. I know that all our thoughts are with them, especially with Steve. They will need an extraordinary amount of GUTS and LUCK to keep going now.

This reminds me of the following, which I wrote in my review of Alan's book:

Apart from helping me to pass a couple of dark, wet and miserable days this book did something much more important. The efforts of Alan and his crew INSPIRED me to have a go at my own boating challenge, which when compared with theirs is a mere triffle, but never the less for me it is a BIG thing, and 'Beating The Big One' has made me determined to meet my own challenge. Well done Alan and crew and thanks.

Well, I did it. Whilst Alan and crew were the other side of the world, I was thinking of them and I remembered my words. I had a go at my own 'challenge'.

That 'Kings Reef' bouy beckoned and Karen (you remember, eldest daughter and marine biologist) and I set off, gps in hand, for that small dot in the distance. Little quicksilver happily bounced through the waves whilst all 15hp of Mariner buzzed cheerfully behind.

We gave a lift to the skipper of a fishing boat which had just moored up outside Balintore harbour (honest) then continued on our way.

The sea had calmed a little and a seal followed us for a few minutes. The sun was shining and I could see a handful of boats in the area. Onwards we went but the little dot seemed to get no nearer.

After a few more minutes I realised that the dot had grown! We were now much nearer than I thought, much too close to give up now, and within a few more minutes there it was. The little dot had become a whacking great (to us anyway) east cardinal marker. Solar powered, yellow and black, up and down triangles on top, guarding the Kings Reef about half way between us and the coast, there she was in all her glory. We had done it. Now all we had to do was get back home!

The sea was quite calm now and we steadily made our way back to Hilton of Cadbol beach, stopping a couple of times on the way to enjoy the moment, the sea, the sun, the sky, the view, the sound of watter lapping at the boat.

It was a great day, I had conquered my own little challenge. I thought of Alan Priddy and the SoC and crew who were at the other side of the world battling a MUCH bigger challenge, and I thanked Alan for the inspiration.

Well, having gone out there once the next time was easy. We just pointed the bow and off we went, and you know it only took us about 25 minutes! However that time we waved to the buoy as we went past and continued on about a mile offshore along the cliffs of Nigg Hill. We saw the caves that for so many years had just been names on an Ordnance Survey map. On and on we went right up to the mouth of the Cromarty Firth and then back again. My furthest trip ever on little Quicksilver.

Thanks Alan. You deserve better luck than you and the lads have been getting. Good luck Steve, good luck Clive, good luck Alan and thanks again.

Keith (beating the little one) Hart
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Old 17 July 2002, 17:17   #12
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Thanks to you all for some suggested titles - reckon I'll be looking for them very shortly.

Thought I might share these with you as I enjoyed them, althought they're not RIB books -

Channel Crossing by Sebasitian Smith: a journalist decides to cross the channel in a 16ft Wayfarer dinghy, but his research and learning take him further afield. Very interesting section on Channel Islands, and the King of Ecrehous.

The Shipping News by E Annie Proulx: if you haven't read this yet, I recommend it to you! Great little snippets of learning about nautical stuff in general. I haven't seen the film, but sounds like a typical poor Hollywood re-write of the book.
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