Julian Blatchley went to sea at the age of seventeen and has not really come back yet. He is expected imminently.
After reading Swallows and Amazons at an early age he was convinced he could sail, and borrowed a boat to try it out. Unfortunately, the boat belonged to a policeman, but the resulting pre-PC clip under the ear did nothing to dissuade him, and all things to do with the water became his obsession. He taught himself to sail, race and dive (not recommended) and progressed to racing quarter-ton yachts (with occasional success) by the time he left school.
Schooldays were not the best part of his life; he was an artful truant and games-dodger and emerged at an atypical sprint with a haphazard selection of mediocre qualifications, a liking for Shakespeare and Beethoven, a solid grasp of tractor-reversing and a reputation as a good man with a spinnaker. Having spent most of his spare time with older people, he was so alienated from popular culture that he thought David Bowie made knives and had a vague idea that Thin Lizzy was the consumptive-looking girl at the back of the class. There was really very little for it but to pack him off to sea.
Julian loved the sea-life and spent ten years on tramp cargo-ships. He travelled world-wide and spent a lot of time in the Pacific, a period he calls his Conrad Days. He showed a real aptitude for astro-navigation, and so was not at all surprised when someone invented a machine which made it obsolete and put him in the dole-queue. After a decade at sea, he was forced to accept a position on an oil-tanker and learn a new trade.
He rose quickly to Chief Mate but didnt like tanker life much. Consequently, when he overstayed a sailing holiday in Greece (the story told in Adjacent to the Argonauts) he found it an easy step to leave commercial shipping and go into charter yachting. He worked as a charter-skipper in the Mediterranean, set up a charter company in Malaysia, and in between did long- and short-distance yacht deliveries
mostly against the prevailing winds doing the trips no-one would pay to do; as a result, he believes that he has sailed further to windward than anyone should have to.
After four years in the yacht charter game, it became apparent that the doctors might be wrong and Julian might yet need a pension, so back to sea he went, driving supertankers. He got his first command shortly after, and found being in charge made tanker life a lot more bearable! He later spent some time as the offshore manager of a few oilfields. Getting very bored with oilfield politics after a while he became a marine pilot, which is still the day-job, and one he adores. He works berthing and loading large tankers at offshore oil rigs, a job which combines doing something he loves with avoiding politics and giving him time to write. He describes himself as a parking attendant.
Julian bought his first house at the age of thirty-six
up to then he had lived on his boat when on leave
and did not put a television into it until he was forty-two. Now fifty, he has considered attaching it to an antenna, but isnt rushing into it. He made a late but highly successful debut in the fatherhood market and lives with his partner Renate and four-year old daughter Nerissa, two wonderful dogs and cat who deigns to drop by once a week or so. He spends every possible moment sailing his 45-foot sloop in the Mediterranean, and takes inordinate pride in the ability of his dogs to climb up the swimming-ladder. Nerissa loves to sail, and thinks being seasick is enormous fun.
Adjacent to the Argonauts is Julians first book. A sequel covering his life as a charter-skipper is planned, but he is currently working on a humorous historical novel set in the Napoleonic wars
when he is at work. At home he wonders how anyone with a kid ever manages to read a book, let alone write one!
"A brilliant book- not only a travelogue but a history and good food guide as well. A laugh a minute, and at times I could not read about the antics for the tears running down my cheeks. Julian Blatchley has written a seafaring classic. Highly enjoyale and a great read."
-The Nautical Magazine
Adjacent to the Argonauts is not just a book. It is a delicious, boaty, sunny Aegean sailing experience that takes the reader to Greece and gives him a damn good holiday.
Beautifully written and occasionally hilarious, this book deserves to become a best seller.
- David Baboulene, author of Ocean Boulevard and Jumping Ships.