Scots descendent of Captain Cook pens memoir aged 89

Captain Bill Sturrock

Captain Bill Sturrock

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A Highland seadog – whose heritage includes the most famous of sailors, Captain James Cook – and who only hung up his seaboots aged 82, has put pen to paper to write his memoirs.

And the outcome is the publication of True from Seaward, the first novel by Captain Bill Sturrock, now 89.

Captain Bill Sturrock

Captain Bill Sturrock

It dips into a lifetime’s memories of the sea.

His son David said: “It is a remarkable book full of tales of his many experiences from working on commercial vessels to yachts, an Atlantic passage and running a sailing school.

“Interesting, humorous and insightful, True from Seaward is a refreshing reflection of years of seafaring experience told in Dad’s inimitable fashion.

“With stories from both the east and the west coast and in locations known to so many, the book should prove a delight to read.”

It is illustrated by sketches from the author himself and photographs from the Northern Lighthouse Board.

Far from opting to take life a little easier after retiring, he took up the challenge of putting his memories down on paper.

Helped by his wife Ellen, who typed up his hand-written sheets, and by neighbour Liam MacLarich who worked with him on editing the book, the result is the new book.

David added: “It was a work in progress for some time. Its captivating content is sure to be well received by sailors and non sailors alike.

“And the good news is that Dad is starting on the second novel which will expand on his vast experiences to allow us to enjoy more of his tales.

Bill said: “I am delighted this book is now available and hope it will bring a lot of pleasure to many people.”

His son, who runs his own charter business David Sturrock Yachting said: “Dad was still doing trips with us when he was 82 and we’ve been encouraging him to write down all his stories that have been so much part of our lives.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with him latterly to produce this book using modern technology and it’s a great achievement for him.”

Seafaring runs in Bill’s blood with his family descending from the sister of the famous Captain Cook.

As a sixteen year old left his home by the Tay Estuary to join the Blue Funnel Line during WW2. He climbed through the ranks in a seafaring career that took him all round the world and he first sailed across the Atlantic in 1950 with a former US airman John P Noble.

Family commitments saw time ashore for a period until he bought a Falmouth Quay Punt -Stormalong - for family holidays.

He worked with the Royal Yachting Association as a Yachtmaster Instructor becoming a Yachtmaster examiner. After home completing a Colvic 29’-6” yacht, Bill sailed her to the west coast of Scotland setting up a sailing school and yacht delivery service and also looked after a small fleet of yachts at Dunstaffnage Marina.

A jack-of-all-trades, Bill still found time for shooting, fishing and writing for yachting magazines. In his late eighties, this old seadog is still active, growing vegetables, flowers and fruit. He lives with his wife Ellen and has two sons and two daughters.


READ MORE: A visit to the Cook Islands

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