World-famous boating cartoonist Mike Peyton was recognised at the boats.com YJA Yachtsman of the Year Awards with its Diamond Jubilee Lifetime Achievement Award today, in recognition of his six decades as an author and illustrator in yachting publications around the world.
Peyton, who celebrated his 95th birthday on January 8 2016, has been described as ‘The world’s foremost yachting cartoonist' and has been a unique commentator on the sailing scene for more than 60 years. His cartoons have been published in scores of magazines from Japan to America, the antipodes and every sailing magazine in Britain.
Comedian and sailor Griff Rhys Jones says of Peyton: “He captures the anti-glamour of yachting.’ Sir Robin Knox-Johnston says: “Mike’s been my favourite yachting cartoonist for decades.” A video of the presentation and his career highlights follows below.
After studying at Manchester Art School, Peyton bought a 12ft canvas sailing canoe from a man in a Richmond pub. He worked his way down the River Thames sleeping on moored barges and remembers frying breakfast on a primus stove under the shadow of Big Ben. He even spent his honeymoon in a canoe with Kath, his wife.
Eventually, he reached salt water and learned to cope with tides and how to reef sails the hard way. His first proper boat was 24ft Vagrant, so-called ‘because she had no visible means of support.’
In the East Coast mud, Mike Peyton discovered an emerging sub-species of the yachtsman. In those days’ sailors wore peaked caps and ensigns were lowered at sunset. He immediately felt impelled to stick a pin in the balloon of sailing snobbery and pomposity.
There’s no other sailing cartoonist in the world to match his elegant, economical wit and wisdom.
He has been a unique commentator on the sailing scene for more than 60 years. His humour is gentle rather than vulgar, brash or cruel. As well as a superb draughtsman, he has a winning way with words, whether it’s a clever punch line, a headline or a caption.