The Royal Cruising Club was founded in 1880 by Sir Arthur Underhill and a coterie of friends to encourage and facilitate cruising in small yachts. Members, then as now, contributed to the enjoyment and safety of others by writing accounts of their cruises for the Club Journal and publishing coastal guides.
Many familiar sailing names have been RCC members: Claud Worth, Erskine Childers, Tilman, Miles and Beryl Smeeton, and that other remarkable couple Eric and Susan Hiscock, whose lifetime of voyaging inspired countless long distance sailors.
The Club's prime objective remains the furtherance of cruising under sail and its membership, by invitation only and limited to four hundred, enjoys the same friendly intimacy as Underhill's group of Victorian sailing eccentrics.
Roving Commissions is the annual Journal of the Royal Cruising Club and is an anthology of
RCC members' cruises for the year.
RCC Members may purchase additional copies at a member's special price through the online shop available through the RCC Members' Area.
Non members of the RCC may purchase a single hard copy of the latest edition of the Journal (for despatch to a UK address) by clicking on
the "Purchase Roving Commissions (Hard Copy)" button below and paying by PayPal, credit card, or debit card.
Those wishing to pay by another means, order multiple copies/back copies or for the order to be dispatched overseas, should follow the instructions which
can be downloaded by clicking here.
Alternatively the Kindle version can be purchased from Amazon by clicking on
the "Purchase Roving Commissions (Kindle Version)" button below
Solent Cruising Companion
The 3rd Edition of this very useable cruising companion is brought right up to date (2016) by Derek Aslett. Published by Fernhurst Books and available through Imray and many local chandleries.
The book is simply set out with text illustrated by many photographs that give not just the detail but also the flavour of the area. There is something for everyone, either the crew who think they know everything about the area, or the visitor sailing in for the first time. There is approach information well illustrated with chartlets and a good range of contact details from coastguard to dental helplines. There is a good selection of information on transport, supermarkets, pubs and restaurants. All round a useful addition to the bookshelf of any Solent bound cruising craft.
Norway Pilot - 3rd Edition
The newly published third edition of the RCC Pilotage Foundation Norway pilot book by Judy Lomax is reviewed below by Madeleine Strobel
Norway 3rd Edition
Covering mainland coast, fjords and islands, including Svalbad and Jan Mayen
In this recently published, fully revised and thoroughly supplemented 3rd edition of the RCC Pilotage Foundation Norway pilot book, Judy Lomax describes one of the most complex coastlines in northern Europe. She embarked on this epic task in 2007 after many years spent sailing together with her late husband David and her family along the whole length of this fascinating coast, from the Swedish border in the south all the way to Jan Mayen (71ºN), Bjørnøya (74ºN) and Svalbard, Kvitøy(80ºN).
The Norway pilot, 3rd edition will be an essential companion to all those who wish to embark on a Norwegian voyage. The book has 321 pages, with many new photographs, revised and comprehensive area plans, new harbours, anchorages and routes. The most remarkable feature of this sailing companion is the logical and clear description of many possible alternative ways across the myriad of islands, skerries and fjords that form the Norwegian coast.
Having used the 2nd edition myself and comparing it to the 3rd, I found that some interesting changes had been made to extend the coverage and to clarify some of the most tricky passages, notably in South Norway East of Lindesnes, in the fjord region north of Bergen, between Statt and Kristiansund, in Trondheimsleia, Hitra and Frøya.
But most of all, the description of the northern regions of Norway between the Lofoten, Vesterålen, Ofoten and Tromsø has been significantly expanded as has the farthest North: Bjørnøya, Svalbard and Jan Mayen. For the farthest North you can find up to date cruising information on around 90 places, mostly but not exclusively anchorages. A comprehensive introduction to the area includes information on permits and regulations, ice reports and glaciers, weather forecasts, polar bears and everything you need to know before you embark on this Arctic challenge.
Only someone like Judy Lomax with her remarkable attention to detail is capable of updating and revising such a complex pilot book. I am certain that everyone who uses it will find it as informative as it is enjoyable.
Published by Imray at £47.50
Available through http://www.rccpf.org.uk/pilots/137/Norway
The RCC Pilotage Foundation is a charity sponsored by the Royal Cruising Club. Close collaboration among its experienced sailing authors make it the authoritative provider of the famous pilotage books and passage planning guides for cruising areas worldwide. Its books and downloads about ocean passages, ports and anchorages can be found for purchase or download on their website http://www.rccpf.org.uk/.
Atlantic Islands Pilot
A Sixth Edition of the RCCPF Atlantic Islands Pilot has just been published by Imray. It is reviewed by Alan Spriggs (RCC) below.
It is remarkable quite how many changes have taken place in the last five years that effect Atlantic sailors. But it is not for this reason alone that this revised edition is both timely and welcome.
The new chapter on Bermuda, probably the Atlantic island with most navigational challenges, will be a boon to transatlantic sailors many of whom have given these beautiful islands a wide berth in the past. The information is clear and where costs are involved they are happily not accompanied with such weasel words as swingeing.
The established chapters have all been fully updated with more diagrams and are even more richly illustrated with photographs. The information takes into account modern electronic aids without ignoring the traditional navigational skills.
I have visited, by sail, all of the island groups in this volume and most of the islands within them, always with the Atlantic Islands guide on my chart table. To do otherwise I would regard as foolhardy. However, this is not simply a reference book for pilotage but a fascinating and absorbing read for those fire lit winter evenings.
Puerto de Mogan
Never Fear – Reliving the Life of Sir Francis Chichester by Ian Strathcarron
A new biography of Sir Francis Chichester, the first for 40 years, by RCC member, Ian Strathcarron
Never Fear follows in the footsteps and wakes of Sir Francis’s life of adventure, adversity and triumph. Born in 1901 into a troubled childhood in rural Devon, he suffered through the sadism of the English public school system, then in 1918 left for New Zealand where he made his first fortune. There he took up flying and in 1930 became one of the first aviators to fly from London to Sydney. After being the first solo flyer across the Tasman Sea from New Zealand to Australia, he set off to circle the world, only to crash, nearly fatally, in Japan.
After serving in the RAF in the Second World War, he took up sailing at the age of fifty-four and in twelve years became the most famous yachtsman in the world. Along the way there are struggles and triumphs, climaxing in being knighted with Sir Francis Drake’s sword in Greenwich. Ian Strathcarron, himself an aviator, yachtsman and adventurer, follows him all the way, comparing what Sir Francis found then to what he finds now, meeting the descendants of the people who played important parts in his life and getting under the skin of what made the man, the man.
This book is published by the Unicorn Publishing Group, www.unicornpress.org
Ian Strathcarron is the author of the travel biographies Vasco da Gama’s Grand Crusade, Joy Unconfined! Lord Byron’s Grand Tour Retoured, the Mark Twain travel trilogy Innocence and War, The Indian Equator and Mississippi Mayhem and the philosophy works Living with Life and Mysticism and Bliss. He is also Chairman of Unicorn Publishing Group and a mediator with the cultural property ADR service Art Resolve.
Heavy Weather Sailing
This is the 7th edition of this well-known and popular book. There is much that is new in this edition, all beautifully explored and explained.
The first edition of Adlard Coles’ Heavy Weather Sailing came out in 1967. Most of us, if we were around then, were sailing more primitive boats than we are now, and knowledge and experience were in short supply. The book exerted a profound influence, even on those of us who had yet to venture offshore, let alone experience ocean sailing.
The book underwent several reprints, and all the time offshore racing and passage-making were becoming less esoteric. More experiences of extreme conditions were logged, and more conclusions drawn.
In consequence, Adlard produced two further editions, each wiser and more informative than its predecessor. By the time a need for a fourth edition became apparent, Peter, son of Adlard’s friend, sailing rival, and co-publisher Erroll Bruce, took it over. And now Peter Bruce has produced the 7th edition. It is hugely more informative and better suited to our times and our boats than the first edition, obviously, but also than the 6th. Yacht design and construction continue to change, and new equipment is developed. But a storm at sea is still a fearsome thing, and anyone encountering one will want to be armed with as much information about how to deal with it as possible.
The book is split into two sections, Expert Advice and Storm Experiences. Each is as enlightening as it is comprehensive. But only the second section makes you feel seasick. Contributors to both parts are drawn from the ranks of those who know what they’re talking about, and though some of the topics – meteorology, seasickness, waves, and preparations for heavy weather – are of universal interest, there is also specialist advice for powerboats, RIBs and multihulls.
If this latest edition of Heavy Weather Sailing was the first, the book would be hailed as ground-breaking, extraordinary, and essential reading. Well, most of us have read previous editions and may be excused for thinking we don’t need to read more of the same. This would be a mistake. There is much that is new here, and so beautifully explored and explained that the prudent mariner (a description which surely fits all RCC members) will no more ignore it than neglect the latest weather forecast.
Blue Water Medal Awarded to Tom and Vicky Jackson
The Cruising Club of America (CCA) has selected Tom and Vicky Jackson to receive its 2015 Blue Water Medal.
The Blue Water Medal was established in 1923 to recognize “a meritorious example of seamanship.” The Jacksons were cited for their extensive cruising and racing over the past 34 years aboard their 40’ Sparkman & Stephens-designed Sunstone. On the now nearly 50-year-old sloop, they covered close to 200,000 miles, including a circumnavigation. The medal will be presented at the Club’s annual Awards Dinner in New York on March 4, 2016.
The Jacksons met 45 years ago while crewing together in the Fastnet Race. They married thereafter in 1972 and, except for a short pause, have been cruising and racing since. Starting in 1978 they lived aboard a 31' Kim Holman design on the East Coast of England. They bought Sunstonein 1981, and moved aboard her, residing first on the East Coast and later in the Hamble, England. The couple initially raced Sunstone in numerous British offshore racing events, and during the period from 1982 to 1997 they collected a series of class and overall victories, including the British Commodore’s Cup in 1996. Out of eight Fastnets entered, Sunstone won her class in four.
In the Wake of Heroes
In the Wake of Heroes is sailing's greatest stories introduced by Tom Cunliffe, a renowned sailor, journalist and RCC member.
The book comprises Tom’s 40 favourite extracts from stories of great seamanship from classic yachting books and covers the entire scope of yachting concerns, from small-boat handling to yacht racing to long-distance cruising and exploring.
Introduced in Tom’s quintessential lively, engaging fashion, and illustrated with photos both from the original books and Tom’s own archives, this beautifully packaged book contains a wealth of yachting wisdom and is a collection to be treasured.
It is published by Bloomsbury
Hardback £18.99/eBook £16.99
Voyage of the Harrier by Julian Mustoe Kindle edition on sale at Amazon
Before he tragically lost his boat (see Notices) Julian Mustoe (RCC) published a kindle version of his account of sailing around the world in the wake of The Beagle.
One of the most important ocean voyages in history was the circumnavigation of the world by the survey ship HMS Beagle in the early 1830s, with Charles Darwin aboard as ship’s naturalist. Darwin’s account, published in 1839 as Voyage of the Beagle, has never been out of print.
Voyage of the Harrier, is the story of the first detailed re-enactment ever made of the Beagle’s famous voyage. Between 2001 and 2012 the author in his small sailing yacht Harrier went to nearly every port used, and almost every anchorage visited, by the Beagle. Harrier’s voyage was guided in detail by Robert FitzRoy’s Narrative and Darwin’s Beagle Diary. The Beagle’s voyage involved much labourious survey work and it saw the beginning of Darwin’s personal development as a scientist. Harrier’s voyage included a shipwreck and an attack by smugglers in the Timor Sea. The author’s book, Voyage of the Harrier, combines accounts of the Beagle and Harrier voyages in such a way that the two voyages cast light upon one another. Together, the two narratives help to illuminate the world. See link to Amazon below.
RCC Awards 2014
From inspiring cruises to outstanding seamanship, the Royal Cruising Club has announced its annual
award winners for the 2014 sailing season.
The Club’s most distinguished award, the Royal Cruising Club Challenge Cup is awarded to Charlotte Watters with her husband Dan Johnson, selected for an inspiring cruise in Hestur, a self built 34 ft junk-rigged schooner (Pictured). They tell of ocean voyaging and coastal exploration in West Africa.
The American Cruising Club Bowl was awarded to Andrew and Máire Wilkes for their voyage to Greenland, Labrador and Newfoundland collecting detailed pilotage information for 'Arctic and Northern Waters' published by the RCC Pilotage Foundation.
The remarkable seaman and navigator Roger Taylor was the worthy recipient of the Royal Cruising Club Medal for Seamanship. Describing himself as ‘the simple sailor’, Roger’s achievements as a single-handed sailor are of legendary proportions.
The Medal for Services for Cruising went to the National Coastwatch Institution which has become an established part of safety for those sailing in UK waters with 50 lookouts over both sea and coastline. Its volunteers perform an enormous service as they log our coastal passages.
Details of the Open Awards made by the RCC together with past winners are on the Awards section of this website.