How and why this book was written

I started this book in 1990, after enquiries from various editors resulting from a series I wrote for Practical Boat Owner magazine. Somewhat later I signed a publishing contract for it. Regrettably, the publisher ran into difficulties with other books and went out of business. Although I eventually and somewhat desultorily finished the text, I got side-tracked into other issues, so never got as far as submitting it to any other publisher. It's appearing here in full form for the first time.

Because of this almost-ancient provenance, the book was originally written using LocoScript on the Amstrad PCW8512, which was a CP/M capable Z80-based all-in-one monochrome machine. LocoScript was at the time an excellent if idiosyncratic word processor. Although it got poor reviews when the PC version arrived, there's still many writers using it today.

The text was transferred to PC in about 1993 or 94, using a serial link. The graphics were drawn not on the PCW (although it was capable of graphics, it was rather slow) but on an Atari Mega ST4, using Degas Elite in monochrome mode. I still have and use the Atari (with Cubase) as well as the PCW8512, but opening the Degas pictures after they were transferred to PC was problematic. I then found a product called AtariPic by Tom Kirk which did the job, just in Summer 2000.

Because of their origins, the graphics are rather minimal. I decided to leave them as they were, partly because it's an awful lot of work to redraw them all, partly because I reckon they are pretty clear anyway, and partly because the minimal black-and-white-ness means that they are also very compact, which is important because there's a lot of them! The text has, of course, been updated and revised.