174: Nigel Calder


Nigel Calder is universally recognized as the guru of yacht systems. His hardcover tomes grace the bookshelves of yachts the world over. On Isbjorn, his are some of my most referenced books. But while many of you will know Nigel for his writing, I’d bet that few know his background. I didn’t. He came aboard Isbjorn during the Annapolis Sailboat Show last October and told me his backstory, which included living in a commune in the UK, years working on oil rigs in the Gulf, building pipe bombs in his parents back yard and much, much more. 


Show Notes:

Topics discussed in the podcast including links:

  • The episode was recorded a rainy morning onboard Isbjorn during the Annapolis Sailboat Show
  • SAIL Magazine
  • Nigel Calder used to work on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and lived then in New Orleans
  • The interest in sailing came from a church camp he attended when he was young, no one in his family was sailors.
  • 59 North coffee served during the recording
  • “Hiscock was the only book I read”
  • Nigel borrowed his brothers boat back in the days, a 26 footer, and sailed her to Amsterdam with his now wife Terrie. "On the way we got run down by a ship and destroyed the back of the boat, we didn't sink it but did a lot of damage. I had to get a job and pay for it. My brother didn't even know we had his boat, we sent him a postcard from Holland!”
  • Nigel’s time living in a commune. 
  • When Nigel became an American Citizen
  • "Once is enough" by Miles Smeeton
  • Nigel’s first boat was an Ingrid 38, also called Nada.
  • The shakedown sail from the Gulf of Mexico to he Yukatan, the first stop was Isla Mujeres where a neighbor boat gave them a spin pole, identical to the one they lost on the crossing. 
  • Nigel & Terrie raised their kids Pippin & Paul onboard the boat Nada, a Malo 46.
  • Books by Paul Humann on Fish, Reef and Coral recognition was great education for the kids
  • “Never live an expensive life style”
  • Paul’s 28 ft Cape Dory and Pippin’s pontoon boat
  • Pauls and Pippin’s trip to Cuba
  • “The Boat-owner manual came together because I needed to learn that information myself“. The “Refrigeration for Pleasure boats: Installation, Maintenance and Repair” came first,  “I though, if I need it, other people must need it. I sent it to a couple of publishers but all declined. Self-publishing that book was a disaster and cost me quite a lot of money”
  • The technical interest came already when he was young, Nigel and his brother got motorcycles at young age and they helped their friends fixing up their cars in the school parking lot.
  • Making pipe bombs and fireworks in his parents back yard
  • Hybrid electric propulsion on sailboats
  • Hybridmarine in UK
  • Torquedo
  • The Gunboat Moonwave and their hybrid system onboard .
  • Parallell hybrid vs Single hybrid 
  • Lithium batteries and potential fire
  • Nigel's Malo 46 Nada, is currently in SW England. In the near future, they are planning to sail to the Atlantic Coast of Spain and Portugal, Azores and maybe back to Cuba.
  • "The cruising guide to Cuba was written in the 90th and I like to back there!"
  • Getting young people involved in sailing again!

Articles and stories about and by Nigel Calder:

Books by Nigel Calder: