John is the author of 12 boating books and scores of articles in boating magazines on three continents, including Cruising World, Sail, and Good Old Boat. His career as a newspaperman spanned nearly 40 years in America, England, and South Africa. He has written more than 5,000 humor columns and more than 2,000 editorials for metro daily newspapers.


John Vigor was born in Plymouth, England, but emigrated to South Africa with his family at age 13. After being trained there as a newspaper reporter and photographer, he returned to England to gain experience of British journalism. He joined a paper in Maidstone, Kent, and there met his American-born wife, June, a journalist working for the same paper. They married in Maidstone and later moved to Durban, South Africa, where they raised three sons.

In 1987, John sailed from South Africa to the United States on his 30-foot sloop with June and their youngest son, Kevin, then 17. The story behind that stressful six-month voyage is recounted in his acclaimed book, Small Boat to Freedom.

John is now an American citizen living in Bellingham, Washington.

  • Former national sailing dinghy champion, Mirror Class, South Africa
  • Sailing and navigation instructor, accredited by the American Sailing Association.
  • National winner of the prestigious John Southam Award for the book Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Started Sailing.
  • Former editorial writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune, Calif.
  • Former managing editor of nationally circulated Sea magazine, Irvine, Calif.
  • Member of the Authors Guild, New York.


John Vigor, a freelance journalist and editor, is one of America’s best-known boating writers.