Jill Dickin Schinas

Jill and Xoë (Xmas 1993)

Jill started sailing at the age of three weeks and subsequently spent her formative years messing about in racing dinghies in Chichester Harbour. She made her first blue-water passage at the age of 18 and has lived aboard boats from a similar age, but it was to be a further ten years before she was shanghaied by the skipper and started her career as an ocean-going hobo. In the interim she cycled from Austria to Holland on a tandem, with a friend, making and selling pencil drawings along the way to pay for the adventure; and she also spent half a year in Canada, crossing the country by bus and then flying float-planes in BC. Her next travel adventure was to have been in West Africa – and then she met Nick.

Jill has written a handful of books about cruising and has many more in the pipeline, but her true vocation is as an artist. She is custodian of the ship’s camera – which is why you won’t often find her likeness in these pages. Photography is the quick-fix which she employs when time does not allow her to engage in the far more satisfying pursuit of painting in watercolour or oils.

Jill recently discovered the Buddhist Dhamma and now ‘wastes’ large amounts of time sitting cross-legged on the bed watching her breath.

Her pet hates are doing the washing, rinsing the washing, and hanging up the wet washing. She also dislikes taking the clothes off the line and folding the clean laundry.

Click here for a list of articles by Jill on this website.

How NOT to Build a Boat - front cover

Jill’s latest book, How NOT to Build a Boat, is now available!

This is the story of the good ship Mollymawk, and of how she was built, and where, and why. It is a DIY instruction manual, a travelogue, and – at times – a comic tragedy, all rolled into one.

Packed full of advice about such things as ocean-worthy design and sail plans, it will also tell you how to operate a cutting torch, how to avoid a leaky stern-gland, how to pour your own rigging sockets, how to handle a ferocious gander, how to sandblast, how to weld in mid-Atlantic, how to amuse three young children in a cabin space the size of a phone booth… and much, much more besides.

Copious illustrations and photographs ensure that even the most complicated piece of engineering can be understood by all, and Jill’s observations and anecdotes, combined with the cartoons scattered here and there ensure that the account never gets too heavy.

Like the boat itself, this book has been a long time in the making.

At last, the truth about steel boat building — Nick Skeates, designer of the Wylo II

Read more about How NOT to Build a Boat  —  See Jill’s other books