A Sailing Guide to the Colonies of South East Asia

By HECKFORD, N[athaniel], 1882 

Practical Sailing Directions and Coasting Guide From the Sandheads to Rangoon, Maulmain, Akyab, and Vice Versa, with a table for the Dangerous Gulf of Martaban, sets and currents, and Descriptions of the Land. To which is added Directions for the Entire Bay of Bengal and the Straits of Malacca

Maritime & Military
  • Author: HECKFORD, N[athaniel]
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: H. Hughes
  • Publication date: 1882.
  • Physical description: Octavo (220 by 140mm), 148pp., 2pp testimonials, with lithograph plate, bound in original cloth, slightly worn.
  • Inventory reference: 18225


In the aftermath of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, Britain consolidated its rule over the subcontinent by transferring authority from the British East India Company to the Crown. The official inauguration of the Raj naturally resulted in increased interest in and travel to India, and consequently there was more demand than ever for guide to sailing to, in and around the subcontinent. Captain Nathaniel Heckford, who had been stationed in Calcutta throughout the mid-nineteenth century, responded to this demand with his Practical Sailing Directions and Coasting Guide’, first published in 1859 and subsequently appearing in numerous editions: the present edition is the expanded eighth edition published in 1882.

The work contains extensive description of the seas of south east Asia, with instructions as to handling the tides, monsoons and other obstacles faced by sailors. The most significant addition to the eighth edition is a chapter entitled Practical Sailing Directions for the Straits of Malacca”; the European community in the Malay Peninsula grew steadily throughout the 1880s as British influence was strengthened in its Crown Colony of Malacca. No doubt for this reason, Heckford’s directions include Pulo Pera to Singapore, Calcutta to Penang, and Madras to Penang. Instructions are also given for the dangerous approach to the coastline of Burma, as well as for safe passage through the Bay of Bengal. The present edition also contains a lithograph plate illustrating the Entrance to Kyouk Phyoo Harbour, 3.5 Miles Distance.” At the end of the book there is a full index listing numerous ports and islands, as well as a number of testimonials from readers who found previous editions of Heckford’s guide invaluable in their travels. 

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