Whilst researching for our forthcoming China, America and the Pacific project I came across a book entitled ‚ÄėFore and Aft; Or Leaves from the Life of an Old Sailor‚Äô, by a chap called William Dane Phelps. As a teenager I sailed on the gaff-rigged pilot cutter, the Jolie Brise. Whilst my adventure on the high seas was fun, it was also at times testing. I was intrigued what it was like to be an actual sailor in the eighteenth century. And the answer is considerably harder!