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East Clare author casts off for first book

East Clare resident and boat enthusiast Nicki Griffin will launch a craft of a different kind next week when she launches her first book documenting 10 years on Irish waters.

East Clare resident and boat enthusiast Nicki Griffin.The Skipper and Her Mate will be launched at this year’s Scariff Harbour Festival at the Waterways Ireland building on August 3 at 5pm.

The book invites readers to follow Nicki on her one-woman journey along Ireland’s inland waterways as she develops from an enthusiast to an experienced boater.

Nicki has lived in East Clare for the past 17 years, having moved from Cheshire in 1996 with her husband Joe, who hails from Dublin. Discovering the Shannon some time later, her love affair with the inland waterways began and she now frequently spends time on her boat Winter Solstice on Lough Derg.

When she started boating in 2000 having purchased her first boat Towed in a Hole, later becoming known as Caoimhe, the inland waterways were largely occupied by older family boats. In the years to follow Nicki would witness these being replaced by larger cruisers and what she describes as ‘gin palaces’, changing the character of the Irish waterways and threatening what was, for many, a unique and special way of life.

Told from her own perspective as a woman with only a week’s hire boat experience learning to skipper a vintage timber cruiser, The Skipper and Her Mate is a journey through rivers and canals, and an apprenticeship in the ways of boating among a vibrant community of new and diverse people.

It is a not just about boats, but about the people she meets and her learning curve as she gains competence and confidence in handling a vessel.
Written with the immediacy of a novel and with the humour of someone not afraid to laugh at her own mistakes, it is easily accessible to the boater and non-boater alike.

Following in the wake of such works as Theo Dorgan’s Sailing for Home and Time on the Ocean, and Dick Warner’s television shows, The Skipper and her Mate will appeal to the novice, the river rat and the non boater alike.

Nicki Griffin is a columnist for the Inland Waterways News magazine and author Theo Dorgan will be the guest speaker at the launch event next week.

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