he Skipper & Her Mate is a book about the people, boats and wildlife on the Irish waterways. Told from the perspective of a woman with only a week’s hire-boat experience learning to skipper a vintage timber cruiser, it is a journey through rivers and canals, and an apprenticeship in the ways of boating among a vibrant community of new and diverse people. When Nicki Griffin started boating in 2000, the inland waterways were occupied by older family boats. In the years to follow, however, she would witness these being replaced by larger cruisers and ‘gin palaces’, changing the character of Irish waterways, and threatening what was, for many, a unique and special way of life. Following in the wake of such works as Theo Dorgan’s Sailing for Home and Time on the Ocean, and Dick Warner’s television shows, The Skipper & Her Mate will appeal to the novice, the river rat and the non-boater alike.