In the 1960s, when Hoxton-born Mick Hugo ‘skinned out’ to sea he was joining more than 150,000 other British merchant seamen then serving on ships across the world. The Merchant Navy provided a safety valve for a lot of young working class men, enabling them to tear up their past and start again. Yet we have very little idea of what life was like, ‘cabined, cribbed, confined’ at sea for long periods of time amongst strangers, who became by default, in Hugo’s words, ‘your adopted family’.

‘Skinning Out’ provides a rare and affectionate account of life above and below decks, as well as bouts of shore leave mayhem, all described by the writer’s own captivating illustrations.

— Ken Worpole

Skinning Out – To Sea reads like a message in a bottle penned by Garcia-Marquez, so fantastical is the life it described; but ultimately it is a dispatch from the last of a certain breed of Britons, a first hand account of the men who walked on water.’
Caught By The River

‘Written by someone with a sense of wonder and the desire to impart it…a pure kind of folk art, telling a nearly forgotten tale.’

The Guardian

‘1960s seafarer Mick Hugo’s brief and lively memoir is classic stuff…an astonishingly beautiful paperback and Sam Blunden’s design is an elegant product.’

The Morning Star

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