Christina and Kirby Salisbury’s book is their love story with Belize and with Chance Along, the boat they built on her shores. The couple shares the telling of the story in alternate chapters. It is well written and accompanied by plenty of photographs, including one of the boa constrictor they found one morning wrapped around their bobstay!

The book is divided into two sections. The first two-thirds of the story — Chisels, Chips & Creativity — details the building of the wooden schooner with the ferrocement shoe. The second portion — Saltwater, Sailing & Sunsets — tells about life after launch and the people Kirby and Christina met along their way. The book is more about the building of Chance Along and the creativity of the couple in financing their venture through woodworking and chartering than it is about sailing itself. Detailed descriptions bring both the birth of the boat and the culture around them to vivid life.

Kirby’s prediction for both building costs and estimated launch date evolved throughout the lengthy process. In wanting to live on the water they were seeking simplicity, but found there was nothing simple about boatbuilding itself, nor in trying to finance it. Their timeline was highly unrealistic, but the challenges that faced the couple only brought them closer together. The tension builds as the boat nears completion with the need to have the boat ready to float before the rainy season begins and the dilemma of how to get the boat to the water.

The pair have spent 40 years sailing the waters of Belize, and the publication of this book celebrates Chance Along’s 25th anniversary. Christina and Kirby still live aboard this beautiful schooner they built from the bottom up.

It’s a great read for those interested in wooden boats, boatbuilding, and Belize.

Chance Along by Christina & Kirby Salisbury (Biama Books, 2013, 311 pages)