The Geoff Pack Memorial Award - 2012
An eventful series of voyages in the Merchant Service pumped salt into Valentine Howells' young bloodstream, resulting in a succession of sailing dinghies and the eventual acquisition of a Scandinavian Folkboat. This vessel, launched in 1958 and named Eira after the owner's wife, was sailed in the 1960 single-handed trans-Atlantic race when Val was invited to take part by Lt Colonel H. G. Hasler. At the time the whole concept of a singlehanded oceanic race was novel. The boats were small and wooden, the word electronics was not even in the dictionary and sponsorship was non-existent. Author and boat thus played a not insignificant part in helping to establish what has become a major event in the international yachting calendar.
The account of this trip was published as 'Sailing Into Solitude' in 1966. Nearly half a century on, the sailing public's appetite for a good seafaring yarn remains as strong as ever, and now Val has extensively re-written 'Solitude' and set up his own publishing company to produce a beautifully bound book that is at once a cracking yarn, a study of a deeply interesting individual and a piece of yachting history.
'Solitude' is not the author's only work . . . it is the one to read first, but we guarantee that you will then be compelled to follow it up with the appositely titled 'Up My Particular Creek'