AN exhibition marked the re-launch of the autobiography of a legendary explorer from Essex.

In his autobiography first published in 1957, August Courtauld described himself as “just an ordinary chap” from Bocking in Braintree.

But just aged 26 he spent five months alone on the Greenland icecap.

There he spent the final weeks buried underground exhausted, dreaming of his fiancée Mollie and his ideal yacht, and never doubting he would be saved. 

Courtauld and Mollie married in 1932 and raised six children in Great Yeldham.

In later life the explorer turned to yachting - and Mollie recalled life with August was "to consist largely of life at sea".

His inspirational legacy and his family’s generosity has established Duet – his dream-yacht – as the longest-serving sail-training vessel in the UK.

The vessel, bought in Burnham, is now used by the Cirdan Sailing Trust in Bradwell-on-Sea to take young people on voyages to help build their confidence.

Gazette: Augustine Courtauld with wife Mollie aboard The DuetAugustine Courtauld with wife Mollie aboard The Duet

Essex publisher Golden Duck has brought out a new edition of the biography with input from the younger members of his family.

The relaunch event for Man the Ropes took place at Salty Dogs’ Christmas show in Maldon.

Julia Jones, of Golden Duck, said: “Republishing 20th-century memoirs like August Courtauld’s Man the Ropes is another way of reminding 21st-century people what we owe to those who are no longer with us or who died before we had a chance to meet them.

“August Courtauld was a significant Essex figure yet none of the grandchildren and great grandchildren who attended the event had had a chance to know him.

“Part of his legacy lives on in the well-known yacht Duet – the longest serving sail training vessel in the UK, managed by the locally based Cirdan Trust and giving young people the opportunity to experience adventure in peacetime circumstances.”