JEREMY HOWARD-WILLIAMS, who has died aged 73. was a night-fighter pilot in the Second World War, and went on to publish the classic account of the sail-maker’s art.
Sails was published in 1967 and has remained in print ever since; it went through six editions and was translated into as many languages. The book, illustrated by drawings and photographs. detailed not only how sails and spars work but also how to extract the most speed from them.
The son of an RAF officer, Jeremy Napier Howard - Williams was born on March 13 1922 and educated at Hordle House preparatory school. He recalled a remarkable cricket match at the school when, after dismissing the opposition for four, the Hurdle House opening bat hit a six off the first and only ball of the innings.
Howard-Williams went on to Felsted and the Institut de Touraine at Tours. In 1940. when he was 18, he joined the Local Defence Volunteers, precursors of the Home Guard, before volunteering for the RAF.
In 1941 he served in No 604, the night-fighter squadron commanded by the redoubtable Cat’s Eyes’ -Cunningham. Then, rather than take the usual rest from active service, Howard-Williams joined the Fighter Interception Unit, which made use of the RAF’s early experiments with radar. He was awarded the DFC.
After the war he served in Singapore. Germany and finally as Assistant Air Attaché to the British Embassy in Paris. A keen sportsman all his life, he sailed and played hockey for the RAF.
On leaving the RAF Howard-Williams returned to Cowes to work for the sail-makers Ratsev & Lapthorn. a job from whom he gained much of the material for his books. Teach Your Child About Sailing was published in 1963.
During this period he used to race a Dragon at Cowes. A poor swimmer, he invented the first all-in-one sailing jacket. It incorporated several safety features – buoyancy, harness, whistle and rocket pouch – which have since become standard. His Solent tide calculator, which gives the currents at any time of day, also proved popular.
Howard-Williams followed Sails with more nautical books, and in 1974 was appointed managing editor of Adlard Coles, his publishing house, where he remained for eight years. His own books included Night Intruder (1976), about his wartime experiences, and The Complete Crossword Companion, now in its fourth edition.
Jeremy Howard-Williams married, in 1951, Jill Inglis. daughter of Air Vice-Marshal Frank Inglis, who was assistant chief of the Air Staff for Intelligence during the Second World War they had two sons and a daughter.
About Sailing was published
During this period he used to race a Dragon at Cowes. A poor swimmer, he invented the first all-in-one sailing jacket. It incorporated several safety features — buoyancy, harness, whistle and rocket pouch — which have since become standard. His Solent tide calculator, which gave tl:ie currents at any time of day, also proved popular.
Sails with more nautical
Howard-Wtiitams (1~67): books about sailing