Does the perusal of marine catalogues adversely affect a sailor's libido? An unlikely theory....

That got your attention didn’t it? And why wouldn’t it, because there is nothing so fascinating as boat kit. Especially deck fittings, which are sheer catnip to the boating gent according to this 1974 ad for Jack Holt.


I had a fun hour or so earlier this week flicking through back issues of Yachting World, specifically from the 1970s while looking up details of the launch of the Mirror dinghy.

Despite the seriousness of profuse technical articles on matters such as rating rules, the advertisements illustrate that the tentacles of the sexual revolution had touched even this earnest organ.

Ads for new boats, which were some of the very few pages printed in colour, could be quite racy. A yacht, they implied, was the admission ticket to a life of drinks parties with perky looking sailing couples and a total inability to stop your bird stripping down to a bikini, even if everyone else on board were fully clothed in a sailor suit or even PVC foulies.

I seem to remember an ad for a plotter in which the navigator (somewhat improbably a woman) was plotting a course while discreetly topless. What the message was I have no idea, but let’s face it you’re bound to go a bit crazy if there’s someone perched on your candlewick bedspread reading a Jack Holt catalogue all night every night.

I rather like this ad for a fleet review of the Nicholson range of yachts, which is one of the campest I’ve yet seen. It really is like a trailer for Carry on Yachting.