Peter Brennan has “wrung more salt water out of his socks than most of us have sailed over.” This memoir encompasses 10 voyages the author has made aboard his Pearson 30, Happy Times; on Mists of Avalon, a two-masted schooner out of South Carolina; on the Irish tall ships Asgard II and Thallassa; and on Anthie, a 1979 37-foot CSY. Aboard these varied vessels, Brennan takes us to varied places: Block Island Sound, the waters surrounding Ireland, across the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Isla Mujeres, and to Havana, Cuba.
The author’s recounting of these voyages is pretty straightforward, detailing the challenges of sailing on various tall ships, watch on watch, making and striking sail as needed on 100-foot masts. When he tells stories from his times in port, he dives deeper, illuminating places like Havana, Block Island, Dublin, Cork, and Galway.
This book reads like a series of log entries or a diary. But, fortunately, this sailor’s yarns are interesting, and the locations and vessels are varied enough to keep my attention. Sometimes the writing is in past tense, sometimes in present tense, and sometimes both in the same paragraph. This is surprisingly irritating.
The book is copiously illustrated with snapshots of tourist sites in Ireland and Cuba. And any book called Fun with Sailboats that uses Winslow Homer’s “Gulf Stream” as a cover illustration has something going for it.
Fun with Sailboats, by Peter Brennan (Page Publishing, 2018; 152 pages)