“Hard down! Hard down!”

B O E K B E S P R E K I N G  by : Auteur : Frank NEYTS

Recently Whittles Publishing released ‘Hard down! Hard down! The life and times of captain John Isbester from Shetland’, by Captain Jack Isbester. ‘Hard down! Hard down!’ describes the eventful of a Shetland man in pursuit of his ambitions – to reach the top in his profession, to find a wife, to cherish a family, to do his job well and to be respected by his peers. The account is enlivened by extracts from numerous well-chosen family letters, diaries and postcards revealing the minutiae of shipboard and family life 120 years ago. After four years as a fisherman in the stormy waters around Shetland, John Isbester chose to spend his next forty years in large square-rigged sailing ships from Liverpool at a time when shipping casualties were all to common. Remarkable feats of survival and tragic deaths are described with clarity and detail. Happier times are also remembered with picnics in Sydney harbour with captain, family and friends transported in the ship’s longboat. John Isbester”s wife, and sometimes their children, sailed with him on several year-long voyages accompanied by her upright piano. Her letters provide an extra dimension, describing conditions ashore in Sydney, ‘Frisco, Antwerp and La Rochelle. Technical issues are illustrated with numerous diagrams for the reader and there are new insights into the tragic loss of the ‘Dalgonar’ and the acclaimed saving of 26 of the crew.

Hard down! Hard down!” (ISBN 978-1-84995-402-0) is issued as a paperback. The book counts 240 pages and costs £18.99 or $24.95. The book can be ordered via every good book shop, or directly with the publisher, Whittles Publishing, Dunbeath Mill, Dunbeath, Cairness IKW6 6EG, Scotland (UK), e-mail: ,




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