Considered to be the saltiest shore in England, the Blackwater provides the background for John Leather's story of Essex seafaring. It is an accurate study of men and craft that have sailed form the small communities beside this broad estuary and river. It is a varied story where fishermen, bargemen, boatbuilders, sailmakers, wildfowlers and often smugglers join the sailing smacks and bages, brigs, bumkins and gunpunts in this workaday watery world. The great yachts are there too, and the local seamen who became captains and crews when summer cruising and racing, even to crossing the Atlantic in quest of the elusive America's Cup. Sailors of the sail, these men were of humble origin but proud of their skills and craft. Their traditions, independent outlook and everyday enjoyments have lingered to the present in the Blackwater's unique flavour of sail and oar.