Paid to Live the Dream

A Seafarer’s Tale of Life Afloat – a nautical memoir

Now with 31 illustrations, including maps, photos and 5 tug paintings by Ian Boyd

This is an inspiring nautical memoir. I describe my first job as cook on the Thames steam tug Cervia, and the steady progression to running charter yachts in the Med. It is an honest and humorous account of life, loves and disasters and as such has a universal appeal to landlubbers as well as those of a more nautical bent.

My name is Anthony Edwards, known to my friends as Tony. My book, ‘PAID TO LIVE THE DREAM’ is about my experiences at sea and of living on boats. Over the years the happenings have entertained friends with a glass in their hands, but it was time to get pen to paper for the benefit of a wider audience.

The yacht not fit for purpose!

This is a nautical memoir like no other! It features the ‘Passing Fancy’, a vessel with serious shortcomings that everyone but the owner could plainly recognize on first setting eyes on her! It was her failings and their consequences which initiated the writing of this book. She was my first command and what happened aboard was not what you would normally expect on a supposedly luxury new yacht bound for chartering in the Med. Even from a distance, there’s something not quite right about her! (It is not her real name as I wouldn’t like to upset anybody)

The Passing Fancy

I joined her in Belgium and delivered her to Cannes via the Belgian and French canals. We endured mishaps that were, at the least, unusual for a brand new vessel! It all began on the first day we left the safety of the port when both rudders snapped off in the North Sea leaving me with no steerage.

A summer season chartering in the Med

I then spent the summer season cruising the Western Mediterranean with charterers. One of my crew members was almost shot. Another was an oversexed female who had a miscarriage in her cabin. I found myself adrift in a boat with no power and my only survival tactic was to make it to the base of a cliff and scale the heights to a lighthouse at night.  We suffered the second worst sea passage I’d had in my 20 plus years as a mariner. One group of six charterers opened my eyes wider than they’d ever been opened before. I was no prude but their antics were singularly deviant whilst we were anchored offshore of a nudist colony – and there was much more.

It began on Thames steam tugs

Although this is mostly a nautical memoir, it was suggested to me that I include my errant childhood on a council estate in the 1960’s, as it puts into perspective everything that followed afterwards. Also, my years working on Thames steam tugs are an insight into what was a hard and dangerous working environment which wouldn’t be allowed nowadays – and deserved to be told. It started when I joined Ship Towage Ltd at the age of 15 in my native Gravesend. First of all, I was employed as cook on the Cervia, then progressed to junior deckhand aboard the Atlantic Cock and then finally as senior deckhand on the company’s latest diesel tug, the Moorcock.

The tough life aboard

I have tried to capture the essence of life aboard with the tough, hard working tugmen, the ever present potential dangers, the long hours working through the days and nights in the open air, what those days were like for a young boy in that hard environment and the joys of living through the swinging sixties and the “make love not war” attitude


The upcoming sequel – ‘Moving On’

Those who have read ‘Paid to Live the Dream’ have been curious as to what happened next. The new book ‘Moving On’ is now out and available on Amazon. (8the June 2020)

Your free book

‘You Couldn’t Make it Up’ is a collection of funny and improbable anecdotes which didn’t really fit into either ‘Paid to Live the Dream’ or the next book ‘Moving On’, but which were worth telling anyway. After I left the Thames tugs I was working for various yacht owners who used their boats either for their own use or for charter and I was privy to all their quirks and failings.

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