If you have enjoyed the rest of this blog, you may be interested in my books. For formats and reviews see them on the Amazon site.

Old Man Sailing – Some dreams take a lifetime

When COVID-19 struck the UK, the government advised the over-70’s to “shield” while the country went into Lockdown. One old man went sailing instead. Single-handed and self-isolated, retired journalist John Passmore used the pandemic to achieve an ambition which had eluded him for 60 years. For 3,629 miles, he disappeared into a world of perfect solitude, adventure and adversity – arriving back 42 days later, short of water and with shredded sails to find himself celebrated on national radio as the embodiment of everybody’s Lockdown dream. This is his story. It is also a story for anyone who ever thought a dream was unattainable.

A word-of-mouth bestseller – Yachting Monthly

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Please note: If you would like to listen to the Audible edition and are taking out a new free trial subscription, if you use this link, Amazon will send me a nice little thank-you:

French translation of Old Man Sailing:

Le vieil homme hisse la voile

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The Voyage: #1 – BVIs to Falmouth

This is what it is like to sail an ocean alone.
Not the world-girdling marathon of the Southern Ocean racers or the “cruise in company” as part of a trade-wind rally, but what it is really like to set off for 3,496 miles from the British Virgin Islands to Falmouth in the UK, totally alone.
That means no contact with the shore, no high-frequency radio or satphone. No weather forecasts, no texts from loved ones. No news…
Just complete and uninterrupted isolation for 44 days.
In other words, this is singlehanded ocean sailing at its purest: One man in a world shrunk to its bare essentials.
John Passmore is a life-long sailor and professional writer. His book Old Man Sailing was described by Yachting Monthly as “a word-of-mouth bestseller”.
In The Voyage, he takes it a step further. At times truly hilarious, at others, quite frankly weird; as Yachting World’s Tom Cunliffe said of the author: “A
professional storyteller who always sees the funny side, even when laughs must have been hard to find.”

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Audiobook of  The Voyage #1, read by the author: 

A note from the author: I tried for the best part of a year to record the Audible version of Old Man Sailing but could never get it past the quality control checks. However, people have been very kind about the oldmansailing podcast (which has no quality control at all). This book is recorded in the same way – with a cheap gaming headset. Consequently, it has to be distributed in a similarly amateurish fashion:


The Voyage #2… Falmouth to Grenada

The Voyage #1 was a success – even though nothing happened. It turned out that readers liked the easy style – the sideways v view of a singlehanded ocean crossing in a small boat without long-range communications. no news, no weather forecasts. Just one man and his boat in the middle of nowhere.

As one Amazon reviewer put it” “The man can write. Entertaining and fun. Makes you wish you had the courage to do this too. He turns every disaster into an opportunity. Great character and great attitude.”

So, here is The Voyage #2 – and this time something did happen: A knockdown, a broken rudder, 1,500 miles with the steering held together with string…

In his easy style, with his usual mixture of humour and exasperation, John Passmore coped with it all – and still managed not to run out of beer…


Good Stuff – Book One

John Passmore is the author of Old Man Sailing: Some dreams take a lifetime – the story of his escape from Lockdown by sailing alone into the Atlantic for 42 days and 3,629 miles. Yachting Monthly called it “A word-of-mouth bestseller”.
Many of the five-star reviews claimed it worked so well because there was more to the story than the adventure: There were humorous anecdotes. There was a love story…
What the readers did not know was that all of this was chronicled in detail as it happened. Throughout the early 80s and into the noughties, Passmore was writing for yachting magazines and national newspapers.
Here, for the first time, is a complete and chronological account: Everything from levitating the dog and navigating by smell to meeting his wife Tamsin through the Lonely Hearts column of Time Out and attempting to run away to sea and raise a family on a 27ft boat.
It is a laugh-out-loud, real-life story of love and exasperation afloat – when it’s not making you cry.
It is, as the editor of Yachting World said at the time – Good Stuff.

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The Good Stuff – Book Two

In this second volume of The Good Stuff, John and Tamsin have a baby on the boat – and then another one. The idyllic lifestyle, sailing where the wind blows them, sitting over a glass of wine as the sun turns the estuary to liquid gold is suddenly more complicated. Where do you find a launderette in the middle of the French countryside? How do you keep to the maintenance schedule with help from a two-year-old?
At least it was good copy. There was Yachting World’s Dogwatch column to feed every month and the Daily Telegraph’s travel page. Apparently, the readers were captivated by the couple’s determination to put a brave face on even the most desperate situation – or maybe they just liked the dog.
Here you will discover how to win third prize in the Tayvallich Regatta one-oar race and what the home counties school nurse said to the Liverpool “Scally”. And where else do you think you would find detailed instructions for casting The Curse of the Stones on troublesome neighbours?
It is, as the editor of Yachting World said at the time – Good Stuff.

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Faster, Louder, Riskier, Sexier: Learning to love ADHD

As a top-flight foreign correspondent, John Passmore was at the pinnacle of his career: The Chief Correspondent of the London Evening Standard. Then, at the age of 45, he announced that he was bored and resigned.

It would not be until he was 68 that this made any sense. It turned out that he had ADHD. In fact, his particular condition was in the 1% of the most severe cases.

Suddenly everything made sense – the chronic search for excitement, the chaotic relationships, bad driving – his complete inability to remember anyone’s name…

It is a startling thing to have your whole life explained to you when you are practically in your dotage. Indeed, it can be a crushing emotional experience.

Passmore dealt with it the only way he knew how. He wrote about it.

He wrote about it with all the urgency and passion he brought to his newspaper despatches. He filled it with the humour that had been his trademark.

From farmworker and door-to-door salesman to singlehanded sailor and network marketer, he came to terms with a mental kink which affects 5% of the world’s population. Indeed, he learned to embrace it.

If you are one of the 1.5 billion people in the world with ADHD – or if you live with one of them – you need this book.

If you just want to laugh out loud at the story of the Load of Straw, you need this book.

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Trident – The novel in the attic

…and this is the novel I wrote in the early 80’s which was accepted by the prestigious Laurence Pollinger literary agency but rejected by publishers as “a little far-fetched”.

Here’s the basic plot: A new Prime Minister committed to scrapping Britain’s nuclear deterrent – a Russian president meddling in other countries’ elections and an isolationist in the White House…Does any of this sound familiar?

John Passmore’s prescient novel, written in the 1980’s and set in what was then the future, suddenly becomes terrifyingly relevant today. As NATO collapses and Russia looks to the West, the future of the world rests in the hands of a submarine captain, his aged father, an old-fashioned reporter and a government secretary in love with a man who is not what he seems…”Fast-moving and immensely prescient, there are echoes of the early works of Ken Follett and Frederick Forsyth.” – Daily Mail

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3 Responses to Books

  • You were an inspiration on the radio: I was telling all my friends about you. Would definitely buy a book of your sailing adventure: please write it!!
    Bon Voyage!

  • I think you must would be a really interesting read

  • Hello John, I have just listened to you on the radio, brilliant. I have just bought your book, hope that helps you. Keep sailing I admire your approach. Keep safe. Kind regards Ian Mittell. If you have time have a look at me on Facebook.