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Open boat cruising has never been more popular, in the doing or the reading of it; magazines, websites, associations and events around the world attest to this, and of course the countless sailors who just 'get on with it' in their own unassuming manner. Two such, some 40 years ago, long before today's explosion of activity, were Ken Duxbury and his wife B; Ken's three volumes recounting their adventures in the 18ft Drascombe Lugger Lugworm delighted many, this writer included, at that time, yet the books have been largely unavailable since. Imagine our pleasure at locating Ken still going strong - but as an artist not a sailor these days - enjoying his eighties at home in Cornwall with B. [Now in his nineties! - Ed] He was thrilled at the prospect of Lugworm sailing again in print, and was even able to provide the negatives for most of the books' photographs, ensuring their good reproduction quality. The light touch of Ken's writing belies the sheer ambition, resourcefulness and seamanship which infuse these voyages. And beyond pure sailing narratives, the books convey the unique engagement with land and people which is achieved by approaching under sail in a small boat. Lugworm inspired a generation in her day, and can now inspire another. 'Lugworm on the Loose' describes how Ken and B quit the 'rat race' and explored the Greek islands under sail. 'Lugworm Homeward Bound' recounts their voyage home from Greece to England. 'Lugworm Island Hopping' has Ken and B exploring the Scilly Isles and the Hebrides.
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Born in 1923, Ken Duxbury entered the Royal Navy as an Ordinary Seaman early in the Second World War and gained his Commission in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve shortly after. Later he spent five years demolishing wrecks around the coast of Great Britain - a ticklish job involving the use of large quantities of high explosive from small open boats operating from a parent ship in the open sea. After transfer to the Royal Navy he held his own command before retiring in 1954 and embarking on a four-year cruise in his fourteen-ton yacht. In 1958 he took up journalism and also founded a highly successful school of sailing in North Cornwall. As Principal of this school he gained many thousand hours' experience of instructing complete beginners to handle small sailing dinghies. He later co-founded a boatbuilding firm. He retired from business in 1970 to take up full time writing, and in later years has been active as an artist from his home high on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall.
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