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It’s life on an ocean wave for Barkham’s Robin and his best-selling book

Robin and Helen Lamb with their book Sundowner, named after their sailing boat Picture: Steve Smyth
Robin and Helen Lamb with their book Sundowner, named after their sailing boat Picture: Steve Smyth

AFTER SPENDING 11 summers in the Ionian Sea, a sailor has turned author and released a book of his adventures.

Robin Lamb, 77, who grew up in Essex but now lives in Barkham, released his coastal memoir last month – and it’s been such a hit the publisher is organising a second print run.

Robin and his wife Helen bought their sailing yacht, Sundowner after a night of discussion in a taverna on the Greek island of Ithaca.

“Helen mooted the idea while we were on holiday,” says Robin.

“I’ve sailed most of my life but Helen was a latecomer to it.”

Robin’s first experience was as a 10-year-old, which he describes as wet, cold and miserable.

But the love of the sport pushed through, and as a young man, he taught sailing lessons at the Maldon Sailing Centre, run by his father.

During their working lives, the couple regularly visited Greece for their holidays.

“We’d been backpacking around the Greek islands every summer since the 80s, and just fell in love with the place,” Robin says.

On their retirement, and familiar with the hundreds of islands in the archipelago, the couple decided to take their adventures to the sea.

“Living in Greece was very enjoyable, we made lots of friends out there. And the boat was big enough for us, our children and grandchildren when they came to visit.

“We saw all sorts of creatures, dolphins, turtles, a monk seal –which is a threatened species.

“We actually saw it wrestling with an octopus, trying to eat it. And the octopus was trying to escape its grasp.”

The Ionian Sea is west of mainland Greece and has a different climate to the Aegean Sea, creating a greener environment in the western islands.

Robin describes the area as a wildlife enthusiasts dream and a beautiful place to sail, with beautiful bays and villages steeped in mythology to visit.

The tome started with the ship’s log and Robin’s personal diary of his travels.

“After five or six years I started assembling it into a book,” he explains. “I’ve always had a yen to write a book. I’ve had one or two stabs at it but it’s never got this far.”

The memoir touches on the trials and tribulations of starting an adventure in retirement, with boating expertise and humour woven through the pages.

Robin says it was a smooth six-month process to finalise the book, make any edits and get production organised.

“The book launched at the end of July and we’ve already gone for another print run,” he says. “The feedback so far has been encouraging. I know that a lot of folks have an ambition to write a book and I would encourage them to go ahead — especially those of mature years and a lifetime of experience.”

Although Robin and Helen sold Sundowner last year, they hope to visit the Greek islands as soon as the coronavirus has passed.

“We’ve got friends out there to visit,” Robin adds.

The book, Sundowner, is available at Waterstones and Amazon for £12.99

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