Scarborough's Fred Normandale releases new book in series about his life at sea

A well known Scarborough fisherman has penned the fifth in a five-part book series about his life at sea.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 4:31 pm
Updated Friday, 26th March 2021, 4:32 pm
Fred Normandale with his latest book Low Water in Scarborough harbour. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

Fred Normandale, who fished out of Scarborough for many years, began writing books around 20 years ago.

After he stopped to sea he to make a record of the many interesting characters he'd met and experienced he's had over his life.

From growing up in the Old Town of Scarborough to becoming a deckhand, skipper and ultimately owner.

The latest, and last, book in the series of five, Low Water, charts his time in the 2000s spent volunteering on tall ships all over the world as well as vessel losses and near misses he experienced in his career.

Fred said: "A lot happened since I last wrote a book, I've been on 90 odd voyages around the world on tall ships."

He travelled the world volunteering on STS Lord Nelson, a tall ship owned by sailing charity the Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST), which was specially designed and fitted to allow people with physical disabilities to sail alongside those without.

Fred described when he first saw the ship: "After finishing fishing about 20 years ago I was on a trip to Amsterdam with my wife and some friends and I saw her and thought oh I'd love to have a go with something like that. But I never thought I'd get the chance."

The 55m tall ship with 30m mast launched in 1986 and, along with JST's other ship Tenacious, has sailed all over the world with Fred aboard on over 90 trips.

Though he went on trips from Europe to Australia, Fred's tall ship adventure began closer to home.

Whilst a member of the Rotary Club, the opportunity arose to accompany a teenager the club was sponsoring to sail on the Lord Nelson.

The trip sailed from Kings Lynn to Newcastle but Fred caught the bug and ended up joined the ship for many more trips, including a leg of her round the world voyage, sailing from Ushuaia in Argentina to Uruguay via the Falkland Islands.

Fred said: "A tall ship is a unique experience and brings its own challenges - climbing masts and stowing sails.

"Anyone who goes on those trips, everything they do is to contribute to the whole, not to see what they can get out of it."

He says from his many voyages he now has hundreds of friends all over the world, but thinks his sailing days may finally be over.

As well as his experiences on tall ships, Low Water details near misses, a diving expedition in the Orkney Isles, the loss of vessels and reminiscences on family and life in the Old Town of Scarborough.

The last in the series, Fred has no plans to write further books.

He said: "I never say never but I don't intend to write anymore."

Low Water and the four previous volumes - First of the Flood, Slack Water, The Tide Turns and Ebbing Tide - are published by YPS Publishing and available to purchase from YPD Books.