The Luckiest Thirteen

The Luckiest Thirteen: The forgotten men of St Finbarr – A trawler crew’s battle in the Arctic

By Brian W. Lavery

The Luckiest Thirteen

Category: Maritime, Nonfiction

Formats available: Hardback, Ebook

Pages: 256

Publication date: 09/11/17

ISBN-13: 9781909954229

ISBN-10: 1909954225

    • A true-life drama of an intense battle for survival on the high seas. The Luckiest Thirteen is the story of an incredible two-day battle to save the super trawler St Finbarr, and of those who tried to rescue her heroic crew in surging, frozen seas. It was also a backdrop for the powerful stories of families ashore, dumbstruck by fear and grief, as well as a love story of a teenage deckhand and his girl that ended with a heart-rending twist.
    •  From her hi-tech hold to her modern wheelhouse she was every inch the super ship, the great hope for the future built to save the fleet at a record-breaking price but a heart-breaking cost. On the thirteenth trip after her maiden voyage, the St Finbarr met with catastrophe off the Newfoundland coast. On Christmas Day 1966, twenty-five families in the northern English fishing port of Hull were thrown into a dreadful suspense not knowing if their loved ones were dead or alive after the disaster that befell The Perfect Trawler.
    •  Complete with 16 pages of dramatic and poignant photographs from the period.

THE LUCKIEST THIRTEEN launches in the USA and CA on 24th October 2023.


Another epic story from Brian W. Lavery very well told, with some beautifully crafted detail. You really feel like you're there on that sinking ship -and you can't get off!

- Steve Humphries, documentary filmmaker and historian, Testimony Films, Bristol, UK

With the novelist's eye for drama and the historian's eye for detail, no one writes Hull's recent history like Brian Lavery.

- Nick Quantrill, Hull-based crime writer, arts commentator, critic and sports journalist

Brian W Lavery brings a journalist's eye for detail to a superbly realised tale of courage, loss and exceptional bravery. The Luckiest Thirteen is an important book, powerful, heartbreaking and triumphant.

- David Mark, internationally acclaimed crime writer, Cruel Mercy, Dark Winter, The Zealot's Bones.

Brian W. Lavery

Brian W Lavery spent 25 years in various senior roles in journalism before undertaking a first-class joint honours degree (English and Creative Writing) and a doctorate in creative writing at Hull. His prose includes the books The Luckiest Thirteen (2017) and The Headscarf Revolutionaries (2015), the latter of which gave rise to the song cycle 12 Silk Handkerchiefs written by radical musician Reg Meuross with which Brian toured the UK, backed by Arts Council (England).  The Headscarf Revolutionaries was also featured in the BBC4 documentary, Hull’s Headscarf Heroes (2018) and has been highlighted in two Radio 4 documentaries and two programmes …

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Writing True Stories of Seafolk and the Sea – A conversation with Brian W. Lavery

You live on Hessle Road in Hull, albeit on the posh end. How does it help you as a writer, living in the community you are writing about? Being able to ‘walk’ the setting for my books is invaluable. Even though much has changed in some parts, there are still …

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