How it all started
In the Spring of 2004, Bob and Liz set off in their Warrior 35, 'Yanina of Bosham' to see how far round the world they could get without sinking, starving or pushing each other overboard. Yanina hasn’t sunk, they haven’t run out of food yet, and fortunately both Bob and Liz are good swimmers.
From the trip so far two books have emerged: 'On the nose', was published in August 2008 and 'Bang on the nose' was published in September 2010.
Why 'On the nose'? Because if you ask any Mediterranean yachtsman where the wind was blowing on his last trip, that's what he'll tell you. It started with Liz's newsletters to friends and family, and then the cartoons gradually took over. An antidote to cruising guides, it covers the first 18 months of the journey from Scotland to Sicily. It's packed full of handy hints about seasickness, anchoring techniques, sailing in the nude, guests on board and marine toilets, and it's illustrated in full colour with 140 seriously funny cartoons.
In addition to current news, links to photos and cartoons and Liz's newsletters, you will find extracts from 'On the nose' here on this site in our book section.
'Bang on the nose' continues the story of Bob and Liz's journey around Malta, Greece and Turkey, and it's even more crammed with whimsical cartoons, entertaining stories, handy hints and cruising characters. You will find extracts here on this site in our book section.
What’s next? Well, there's lot to write about and lots of cartoons to draw. How about Morocco, the Canaries, Senegal, The Gambia river, Cape Verdes, and the Caribbean. After that, who nose?
Designers, Sailors and Cartoonists
For 30 years, Bob was a director of Buxton Wall McPeake, a design consultancy based in Manchester, where he designed almost everything manufacturable, 'from trains to toys' as he once put it. I spent 20 years designing furniture; at first freelancing, then for a spell with ARC Design Consultants, www.arcdesign.co.uk and finally as product designer for the Galt Educational Supplies catalogue. Sometime in the mid 90s we started sailing - Bob’s idea - and it wasn’t long before we were dreaming about doing some extended cruising - my idea. The planning and preparation to ‘get away’ took us both till 2004.
One of the things about being a design consultant is that it’s a portable skill, and thanks to email and the internet, we have been able to carry on designing for the Designs for Education catalogue. www.designsforeducation.co.uk
So where did the cartoons come from?
When we reached Almerimar in Southern Spain in 2004 we stopped for the winter, and Bob thought he’d try watercolour painting. Before he could start, we had to organise one of the quiz nights and he drew a 'spot the difference' cartoon of the marina crammed with boats at all angles. This went down so well that several people wanted copies, then someone suggested Christmas cards.
A commission for a Christmas gift was next, and it’s never stopped since. 'On the nose', the first book of our journey, was 3 years in the making and contains 140 cartoons and illustrations. 'Bang on the nose' has been mushrooming in Bob's subconscious mind for a further 2 years while we got on with the less important tasks of sailing the Mediterranean sea and crossing the Atlantic ocean. There is material in note books and sketches for a further two books - all he needs is a quiet corner and a box of paints.
In the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook it suggests that cartoonists are born, not made, and I think this is true. When I first saw Bob’s cartoons I was bowled over by the detail that he’d put in them. I was in the same place, looking at the same things, but he had firstly endowed them with some delightful and playful characteristics that he’d obviously imagined and I’d never have thought of, and then developed them into scenarios triggered by his gently irreverent sense of humour. I laughed out loud, and this is the reaction of most people.
Thirty years in the wrong career. Good grief...
Thank you for your support
I think this is the point where I should thank everyone who bought a book, especially if you emailed and told us how much you enjoyed it. And thanks to everyone who bought a Christmas card or a birthday card, and all those who liked the cartoons enough to commission one for their unsuspecting spouse. I enjoyed doing them, I enjoyed the reaction when I showed them to people, and I've got some great material for the next books. You never know, you might end up in print!