Our resident YouTube aficionado accepts Tom Cunliffe's invitation to check out his YouTube offerings, and ends up dreaming of an ocean passage with Florence Arthaud, Vito Dumas and George Dibbern.

Tom Cunliffe recently wrote in, asking if I’d already featured his YouTube channel Yachts and Yarns, which I’d not.

I suppose it might be because he’s such an institution I assumed most PBO readers who spend time on YouTube would already be aware of his channel.

But then it struck me that, as our online readership is more demographically and geographically diverse than the print readership, perhaps my assumption was incorrect.

So for the benefit of my non-Brit, non-boomer readers: Tom Cunliffe is a vastly experienced and well-read sailor, merchant mariner, sailing instructor, yacht master examiner, writer and broadcaster.

At the time of writing his channel has more than 130 videos and 27.3K subscribers, which puts it between Sailing Cadoha and Vet Tails’ Sailing Chuffed in terms of popularity.

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It certainly deserves more, since, as he points out in his letter, it contains a wide variety of interesting and useful content covering everything from practical how-tos for anchoring and astro navigation, to readings from classics of maritime literature, to visits to historically significant boats and the people who work on them.

By far his most popular video is one in which he sails aboard the 1913 gaff-rigged Le Havre pilot cutter Jolie Brise on which he served as a skipper during the 80s.

He gives a potted history of the boat, from its role in the establishment of the Royal Ocean Racing Club to its present day role as a sail training vessel for the students of Dauntsey’s School.

We get a glimpse into the impressive teamwork required to sail and race a boat like this. And of course Toby Marris, who has skippered and managed the boat for the past 25 years, also gets some well-earned praise.

I’m looking forward to the 2027 Fastnet Race, in which I hope to see a rematch between Jolie Brise and Tally Ho, 100 years after they first competed on this course.

In another recent video, he responds to B&G’s request to choose three historical figures he would like to have as shipmates. His answers are certainly surprising and thought-provoking.

The question’s been the springboard for some of the most interesting conversations I’ve had with friends lately, with a fun variation being ‘which three sailing YouTubers would you most like to have aboard?’.

I’d be curious to hear your answers to both questions.

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