Rick Spilman

Rick Spilman is a writer of tales about ships and the sea. His novels, Hell Around The Horn and The Shantyman, are set in the final days of the great age of sail. Rick is the founder and host of the Old Salt Blog, a virtual port of call for all those who love the sea. He is also a founding partner in Old Salt Press. Professionally, he has worked as a naval architect (ship designer) for several major shipping lines. An avid sailor, Rick has sailed as volunteer crew on the replica square-riggers “HMS ROSE” and “HMS BOUNTY,” as well as sailing on modern and period vessels along the New England coast, the west coast of Florida, the Caribbean, the Great Lakes and the southwest coast of Ireland.

Friday, April 12, 2019
mv derbyshire at sea

Canadian Premiere – Trapped in Typhoon Alley, the Mystery of MV Derbyshire

Discovery Channel (Canada)’s new documentary series, “Disasters at Sea,” premieres on April 16th at 10 PM ET.  The first episode, “Trapped in Typhoon Alley,” looks at the mysterious sinking of...

April 12, 2019
Total Views: 512

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Review: Disasters at Sea — Deadly Neglect, the Loss of the Marine Electric

Thirty-six years ago this week, the SS Marine Electric sank off the coast of Virginia with the loss of 34 officers and crew. There were only three survivors. The tragedy...

February 13, 2019
Total Views: 905

Monday, July 24, 2017

Movie Review – Nolan’s “Dunkirk,” Immersive Tour de Force, Incongruous Muddle, or Both?

Christopher Nolan’s movie, Dunkirk, opened Friday to rave reviews. The New York Times calls it “a tour de force …both sweeping and intimate.”  The Guardian calls it “utterly immersive” and...

July 24, 2017
Total Views: 141

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Cyber Security at Sea – Microsoft XP on Carriers, Hacking Tridents & Spoofing GPS

When reporters were recently being given tours of the Royal Navy’s new “supercarrier,” HMS Queen Elizabeth, some were surprized to see a distinctive logo on several computer screens on the...

June 29, 2017
Total Views: 59

Sunday, November 27, 2016
Deadly Straights by R.E. McDermott

In Books: Deadly Straits by R.E. McDermott

For the sake of full disclosure, I am not a huge fans of thrillers, particularly thrillers involving ships. The plots often strike me as implausible and the descriptions of the ships and ship operations often border on the laughable. (Too often, they leap across the border.) This is not the case however with R.E. McDermott’s Deadly Straits.

November 27, 2016
Total Views: 27

Thursday, October 13, 2016
Lifesaving Incidents

San Francisco Capsize Echoes Past Tragedy — Kandi Won and Khaleesi

Last Saturday, the 30 passengers aboard Khaleesi, a Silverton 34 power boat, were watching the Navy Blue Angels over San Francisco Bay as part of Fleet Week.  On the way back to the...

October 13, 2016
Total Views: 105

Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Seventeen Fathoms Deep Cover Photo

Book Review — Seventeen Fathoms Deep: The Saga of the Submarine S-4 Disaster by Joseph A. Williams

Book Review by Rick Spilman – On the afternoon of December 17th, 1927, the US Navy submarine S-4 was surfacing near Provincetown, MA, when it was run down by US...

September 20, 2016
Total Views: 25

Saturday, September 10, 2016
The pilot boat New York underway off Lower Manhattan on 9/11

Book Review: American Dunkirk, The Waterborne Evacuation of Manhattan on 9/11

Book Review by Rick Spilman – The great New York boatlift of September 11th, 2001, is one of the less well known and least understood of the events of 9/11....

September 10, 2016
Total Views: 229

Friday, May 27, 2016

Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse

By Rick Spilman – Next only perhaps to an anchor, lighthouses are symbols of security and safety. Even with modern electronic navigation, there is something incredibly reassuring about seeing the lume...

May 27, 2016
Total Views: 21

Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Tall Ship Sailing Regatta At Sea

Book Review: Alaric Bond’s HMS Prometheus, The Fine Line Between Valor and Recklessness

In Alaric Bond’s most recent novel, HMS Prometheus, the eighth of his Fighting Sail series, the Mediterranean is a dangerous place for the Royal Navy. In the autumn of 1803,...

March 9, 2016
Total Views: 39

Thursday, March 3, 2016
Rogue Wave Photo

Warning: Rogue Wave Ahead — Predicting the Ship Killing Waves

Rogue waves are real sea monsters. Rising many times higher than surrounding waves, they have the power to sink ships and to cripple offshore platforms. Recently, engineers from MIT have...

March 3, 2016
Total Views: 61

Friday, February 12, 2016
anthem of the seas

Anthem of the Seas — Is She Seaworthy?

On Wednesday night, the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Anthem of the Seas, made it safely back to its berth in Cape Liberty in New York harbor, a bit battered, but generally...

February 12, 2016
Total Views: 423

Friday, February 5, 2016

Movie Review – The Finest Hours, Greatest Small Boat Rescue in History

By Rick Spilman – “The Finest Hours” is far from a perfect movie. Nevertheless, it recounts a remarkable story of heroism at sea that is well worth retelling. For anyone...

February 5, 2016
Total Views: 176