Cruising community remembers the inspiration behind East Coast Pilot

Author, journalist, and popular East Coast sailor Colin Jarman has died after a four year illness. Based in West Mersea, Colin, 65, was the inspiration behind East Coast Pilot (ECP) – the yachtsman’s guide to the waters of the greater Thames Estuary.

A professional sailing writer and photographer for over 40 years, Colin began his career on PBO’s sister title Motor Boat and Yachting before moving to another of PBO’s sister magazines, Yachting Monthly, as Features Editor.

The Royal Yachting Association has paid this tribute to Colin:

Colin Jarman, winner of the first worldwide Endurance Award by the Ocean Cruising Club

Colin Jarman, winner of the first worldwide Endurance Award by the Ocean Cruising Club

More mud than blood

Colin turned freelance in 1979 and set up a syndicated news and feature service for boating magazines worldwide. At its height, Eyeline contributed to every major boating magazine.

A chance meeting in the offices of Practical Boat Owner led to Colin teaming up with fellow photojournalist Philip Dunn to start the magazine Sailing Today in 1997. Later the two of them also launched the first internet only sailing magazine.

Born and brought up on the East Coast of England, where he also learned to sail, the jest was that there was more mud than blood in Colin’s veins. He was quite open about his love for these shallow, muddy waters and until only a few months ago kept his little cruiser, the junk rigged Kingfisher 20+ called May Morning, moored in Salcott Creek off the River Blackwater.

Cruising inspiration

Colin’s first book, Coastal Cruising, was published in 1975 and was followed by a dozen or so books covering various aspects of sailing and seamanship. His most popular book, Knots in Use, is now in its fourth edition and is available in many different languages. There are also 10 instructional videos linked to this book.

Colin wrote his popular Riding Light column in Sailing Today for 15 years and despite failing health continued to write regular book reviews and occasional features for Yachting Monthly until his death. A member of the Ocean Cruising Club ( since 1974, Colin edited and designed the club’s quarterly OCC Newsletter.

In 2014, Colin was named inaugural winner of worldwide Endurance Award for being ‘an inspiration’ to OCC members. While battling cancer and enduring multiple surgeries and chemotherapy, Colin bent publication deadlines to get the OCC Newsletter out without fail.

Colin will be sadly missed and our thoughts are with his family and friends.

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