Articles, Volume 1 and Volume 2: Book Review

Review by Rob Mazza

When I was with Mark Ellis Design in the mid and late 1980s and early 1990, Mark was in the process of successfully incorporating more powerboats into his design portfolio. I expect that was the reason we started to receive copies of Power & Motoryacht magazine. That’s how I was introduced to the writings of Tom Fexas. When the magazine arrived each month, I immediately went to his column. He was always refreshingly irreverent and an enjoyable read.

Most of us know Tom Fexas through his very distinctive powerboat designs, most notably a sleek black 44-footer named Midnight Lace that debuted at the Fort Lauderdale Boatshow in 1978. She was a striking departure from all the motor yachts of the day, employing design elements that Fexas admired in the commuter yachts of the 1920s. She was uncompromisingly black, narrow, low, and sported a large amount of varnished mahogany on her rounded contours. She was a showstopper and established Fexas as a designer of international renown. It was when Power & Motoryacht magazine entered the scene in 1985 that Fexas’ articles started to appear. It was in that very first article in February 1985 that he established his irascible tone that would continue in all his writing for the magazine. That first article, and the first article in Articles: Volume 1, was entitled “Sailing is Silly (or, sooner or later one must face the fact that a so-called “sailboat” is merely a powerboat with a funny cabin and masts).” How’s that for an opening salvo! Volume 1 covers all Tom’s monthly articles for Power & Motoryacht from February 1985 to March 1987, and Volume 2 covers April 1987 to the December 1991. For reasons unknown, Volume 1 is the slimmer of the two books, at 163 pages, compared to 313 pages for Volume 2. My understanding is that future volumes will contain more of his prodigious output. (Articles, Volume 3 was released on January 26—Eds.)

Tom passed away at the far-too-young age of 65 in 2006. These articles have been collected for independent publication by Tom’s widow Regina Fexas, who is often mentioned in Tom’s writings. Articles provides an interesting glimpse into the powerboating industry of the past 30 years, told from the perspective of someone writing at that time. The articles are easily and quickly read and are as entertaining now as they were when they were written, though some of the writing may not ring with the modern ear, including his rants against holding tanks and the computerization of engines and boat systems. That said, having lived through it, his riling against the Luxury Tax of 1990 certainly hit home!

Among my favorites of Tom’s articles are those in which he talks about his own upbringing, growing up as part of a Greek immigrant boating family in Queens, NY, and his early exposure to the type of boat he would grow to love and that would become an inspiration of his future design career. In one series of articles, in response to the question from a young reader, he documents his own journey to a successful yacht design career. Oddly enough, it is only through these glimpses contained in his own writings that we get any background on who Tom Fexas was. There is a short biography on the last page of Volume 1, but neither book presents anything close to a full description of his remarkable life and design career. (For that, you need to go to Wikipedia.)

Rob Mazza is a Good Old Boat contributing editor. He set out on his career as a naval architect in the late 1960s, working for Cuthbertson & Cassian. He’s been familiar with good old boats from the time they were new and has had a hand in designing a good many of them.

Articles: Volume 1 and Volume 2, by Tom Fexas (Independently Published, 2018; 171 pages)

A Salty Piece of Land: Book Review

Review by D. B. Davies

Jimmy Buffett, the novelist. Who knew? Well, apparently a lot of people. After all, this is his third book for adult readers, including his autobiography, A Pirate Looks at Forty. But, in a way, Jimmy Buffett, the novelist, makes a lot of sense. His music is about telling stories, creating characters, taking listeners away to another place and experiencing people and adventures far different from their normal lives. A Salty Piece of Land is all of that.

Through the voice of cowboy Tully Mars, his protagonist, Jimmy takes us from the foothills of Montana to the dark streets of the American south and eventually to the salty waters of the Caribbean…all the while in the company of a faithful horse, Mr. Twain, in tow, even if it means being lashed to the deck of a 30-foot sailboat venturing out from the coast of Florida. As unlikely as that sounds, it all starts to make sense as you get to know the naively pleasant Tully.

Tully’s departure from Montana was not without complications and as he moves from one adventure to another, there’s always the prospect of hired bounty hunters capturing him and taking him back to Montana justice—or injustice, depending on your point of view.

Many of the characters Tully encounters are unlike people you’d ever meet in daily life: a retired country singer who loves to fish, a Crow medicine man dying in a veteran’s hospital, a rich and spoiled young beauty who sets her sights on him and won’t let go, and a ninety-year-old woman in command of a wooden sailing schooner plying the southern trade winds in search of a rare, obsolete bulb for her ancient lighthouse. These characters moved the story along and kept me turning the pages.

There’s more I want to tell, but to do so would be to rob you of the joy of discovering the narrative story-telling magic of Jimmy Buffett. I found A Salty Piece of Land a delightfully decadent way to spend time aboard my boat, wasting away in the cockpit, swept into the vivid, humorous, engaging imagination of Jimmy Buffett. Jimmy Buffet the novelist—yes, indeed!

D.B. Davies is a sailor and writer who is a frequent contributor to Good Old Boat. He sails Affinity, his 1974 Grampian 30, around Lake Ontario. After extensively researching the men and sailing schooners of Canada’s Maritime provinces, Don wrote a dramatic screenplay about the famous Bluenose and her skipper, Angus Walters. You can find out more at

A Salty Piece of Land, by Jimmy Buffet (Back Bay Books, 2005; 480 pages)

The Tears of Dark Water: Book Review

Review by D. B. Davies

Is The Tears of Dark Water a novel about sailing?

It begins on the water. Daniel Parker and his 18-year-old son, Quentin, are well-weathered Americans long into a circumnavigation aboard their 46-foot sloop, Renaissance. Such an epic endeavour always begs the question…are they sailing to or from? Daniel hit his mid-life crisis and walked away from a lucrative legal practice in Washington after realizing that his obsession with his work was costing him his marriage and his son. Quentin is sailing from a life skewing toward drugs and disillusionment with a man who has been a stranger throughout his childhood. They tiptoe around the cockpit, salon and each other, while ashore a wife and mother fears for their safety and ponders her feelings for a man who deserted her for a law practice. Soon, their conflicts will seem all but meaningless.

As the voyage unfolds, other lives emerge and soar and eventually collide in a page-turning adventure tale that keeps churning relentlessly toward an unexpected conclusion that shatters the entrenched morals and dogmatic beliefs of everyone caught in the aftermath. The book took me places I’ve never been nor imagined existed. It made me question beliefs and perceptions I thought were hard-wired into my soul.

Corbin Addison’s prose is silk and seduction…it flows swiftly and smoothly like gentle waves beneath a gliding hull. His research is exhaustive and revealing. His canvas of Somalia…the land…its people…the past and daunting present is riveting and disturbing. You don’t want to see it but you can’t turn away. His clinical examination of the United States military response to piracy on the high seas exposes a stark contradiction. Addison gives us no cookie-cutter villains or heroes. All of his characters are real people with desires and doubts and emotions and insecurities they can never escape, but must follow to a destiny that is as eminent as the next sun rise.

Every novel is a voyage and the reading takes the reader to places they’ve never been. The Tears of Dark Waters took me to a new understanding of the disparities that exists in our world today, and the tsunami that is coming if we don’t expand our horizons and seek to embrace the cultural differences and basic human needs that drive all our lives—for better or for worse.

Don Davies is a sailor and writer who is a frequent contributor to Good Old Boat. He sails Affinity, his 1974 Grampian 30, around Lake Ontario. After extensively researching the men and sailing schooners of Canada’s Maritime provinces, Don wrote a dramatic screenplay about the famous Bluenose and her skipper, Angus Walters. You can find out more at

The Tears of Dark Water, by Corban Addison (Thomas Nelson, 2015; 480 pages)

Blue Water Women: Book Review

Review by Kyra Crouzat

There’s more to going offshore than buying a boat and outfitting it. It’s also an unbelievably emotional journey. It turns your world inside out. Often, books about going offshore will only broach the nuts and bolts (which are very important). Gina deVere, on the other hand, doesn’t shy away from the human side of the equation.

In Blue Water Women, de Vere shares pragmatic information in bite sizes for aspiring female cruisers. She effectively draws the reader’s attention to important aspects of cruising by touching on a wide range of topics. She offers advice while giving it context through the personal stories of women who have first-hand experience with offshore sailing.

Stories fed my hunger for adventure when I was planning my first offshore voyage. Reading about others’ experiences provided motivation and inspiration. In that sense, the book is successful. Knowing that someone else has experienced a challenge like what she’s facing, and learning how they coped, can be validating to any woman heading out on her own journey. It can also give her tools and perspectives to cope when faced with similar situations.

The book flows well, and there is plenty to hold interest. Though some of the writing didn’t resonate with me. The section that directly addresses the male counterpart of a cruising couple was somewhat problematic. The author primarily addresses women in established relationships, yet out of the blue, she directly lectures men on how to behave and support their partner. While well-intentioned, this appears out of place. It would have been more effective had she tackled this topic by showing helpful ways for a woman to ask her partner for what she needs.

Because if there was one recurring theme in the book—which I wholeheartedly support—it’s that as an offshore sailor, you must take responsibility for your own learning. That’s how you build confidence. Take ownership of your life and you can immerse yourself in a lifestyle that can be at times harsh but also filled with some of the most incredible experiences only this kind of voyaging can offer.

The author’s simple and direct delivery reminds me of conversations I enjoyed over a glass of wine with my female mentors as I prepared to sail offshore. Blue Water Women may not speak to all women, but many will benefit from its nuggets of wisdom.

Kyra Crouzat has lived aboard Nyon, a 60-year-old strip-planked yacht, for over 12 years. She and her husband, Rick, sailed away from Canada in 2011, spending 16 months in Mexico before crossing the Pacific and making landfall in New Zealand. Now based in the Bay of Islands, Kyra manages a Trust that takes young people on voyages aboard a square tops’l schooner.

Blue Water Women, by Gina de Vere (Blue River Press, 2018; 332 pages)

Self Sufficient Sailor: Book Review

Self Sufficient Sailor, by Lin and Larry Pardey (Pardey Books, 2019; 332 pages)

Review by Michael Robertson

There’s no questioning or disputing the sailing (and writing) creds that made Lin and Larry Pardey household names among sailors and dreaming-to-be sailors. Their successes—in both sailing and writing—have been huge and enduring. They’ve earned the respect of all sailors, including the vast majority who do not sail engine-less, who do not sail simply, and who do not go small (and thus, in not a few cases, don’t go). And even the vast majority who don’t follow the Pardey ethos and approach have long nonetheless found relevance in the books they’ve written, on subjects ranging from provisioning to storm tactics.

But over the past few years, Lin has voyaged like she never has before, aboard a larger boat with an engine and many of the electronics and amenities that were never aboard the two cruising boats she and Larry built and sailed so many miles. In short, she’s recently been sailing in the way that most of her readership has for a long time. The revised and expanded edition of Self Sufficient Sailor is the product of her past couple years cruising.

This edition is 40% bigger than the previous edition. The themes of the book—cemented in the first 1982 edition—are unchanged. In fact, the original material is all there, revised and updated, but then enhanced by the addition of new material borne from Lin’s exposure to and perspectives on her recent experiences. In this edition, she offers her take on the advantages and disadvantages of this equipment; some of her thoughts might surprise readers. The sailboat cruising world continues to evolve and Lin is on top of it all.

I had breakfast with Lin in October, at the Annapolis sailboat show. We sat outside eating crepes and the septuagenarian told me about her fountain of youth: young sailors. She engages with them at every opportunity. They challenge her, keep her sharp. She is encouraged by all the young cruisers—sailing the boats they’ve got on the budgets they’ve got—with whom she’s crossed paths on her recent Pacific voyaging. In November, I invited Lin to offer words of wisdom (in writing) to a young couple I know who were traumatized by a near-death (and near boat-loss) experience. They were defeated and I didn’t have much to say to help them gain perspective on the incident or resolution of their feelings. Lin responded with words that were sensible and compassionate and empathetic. Here letter was both instructive and encouraging. It was true and perfect. It was evidence of the value of both her experience and her ability to communicate it.

It’s the same value Lin offers in a big heaping portion in this new edition of Self Sufficient Sailor. Even sailors who have read a previous edition of this book, should read this edition. It’s a chance to be reminded of all that made it an enduring classic, and to discover all that makes it better than ever. This isn’t a half-hearted, publisher-requested update of a title, it’s a revision and expansion of a beloved book by a woman driven to share what she knows will make it better and more worthwhile and more relevant.

Michael Robertson is editor of Good Old Boat magazine.

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Falling: Book Review

falling book cover and reviewFalling, by Brion Toss (C-Star Press, 2018; 52 pages)

Review by Michael Robertson

Maybe you’ve met people doing what they’re born to do? People who early-on embraced a vocation that was perfectly aligned with their interests and aptitudes? Not only are these folks usually the best in their chosen fields, they’re also happy, and balanced—at peace. I would put my master-electrician brother-in-law in that category. I would put Nigel Calder in that category. I would also put master-sailmaker Carol Hasse of Port Townsend in that category. And I would Carol’s good friend, Port Townsend master-rigger Brion Toss firmly in the club.

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Boat Sense: Book Review

BoatSense book reviewBoat Sense: Lessons and yarns from a marine writer’s life afloat, by Doug Logan (Seapoint Books, 2019; 120 pages)

Review by Gregg Bruff

Comfortable. Boat Sense is a comfortable book to read. And enjoyable. And informative. And don’t forget humorous. Boat Sense is likely directed at those who are thinking about buying a boat, or are relatively new owners, but informs old hands as well. Doug writes from decades of experience aboard boats (both power and sail) and marine journalism. I found his book a great combination of wisdom, stories, and what we all depend on now and then, checklists.

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L. Francis Herreshoff: Book Review

L. Francis Herreshoff: The flowering of genuis, by Roger C. Taylor (Mystic Seaport Museum, 2019; 644 pages)

Review by Rob Mazza

Nowadays, when the name Herreshoff is mentioned, I suspect most people conjure the face of L. Francis Herreshoff, not his more successful father, Nathanael, who won six back-to-back America’s Cup races from 1893 to 1920. This despite the fact that, as even Taylor admits, L. Francis Herreshoff’s design output was not nearly as great as his father’s, numbering 125 individual designs, of which only 70 were actually built. However, of those 70 designs, some, like his 1936 73-foot Ticonderoga, not only became racing legends, but to a very large extent defined the attributes that would come to define classic yacht aesthetics, most notably her clipper bow, low freeboard, and wineglass transom. The definition of what constitutes beauty in yachting developed throughout his long career, culminating in his 1956 design Rozinante, a classic canoe yawl, but with a distinctive Herreshoff interpretation

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A Sea Vagabond’s World Book Review

A Sea Vagabond’s World, by Bernard Moitessier (Sheridan House Maritime Classic, 2019; 218 pages)

Review by Brian Fagan

Eric and Susan Hiscock, Peter and Ann Pye, and Bernard Moitessier are immortals of ocean cruising in the days before electronics when sextants and good, old-fashioned DR plotting, and meticulous pilotage carried one over the horizon and along challenging coastlines. Moitessier was one of the last of these unique folk, famous for his lengthy voyages and simplicity aboard. A Sea Vagabond’s World is his last, incomplete book, completed and ably edited by his companion, Véronique Lerebours Pigeonniére. As she says, he was part fish and part monkey, “which was very useful at sea.” He merged with the sea in ways that are unintelligible to many modern-day sailors by philosophically merging himself with the marine environment, just like ancient navigators.

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Compass & Sextant: The Journey of Peregrin Took Book Review

Compass & Sextant: The Journey of Peregrin Took, by Phil Hoysradt, with Carol Hill (Yankee Publishing, 2019; 157 pages)

Review by Michael Robertson

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This is author Phil Hoysradt’s memoir, covering the span of his life that begins in a Portland, Maine, classroom in 1968, when he dropped out of college to join the Peace Corp, and ends roughly seven years later, when he sailed into the Gloucester, Massachusetts, harbor aboard Peregrine Took, capping a near-circumnavigation.

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Arrow’s Fall Book Review

Arrow’s Fall, by Joel Scott (ECW Press, 2019; 340 pages)

Review by Chas. Hague

Good Old Boat uses affiliate links and may earn a small commission if you purchase anything after clicking through one of them. This comes at no cost to you. 

Jared Kane and Danny MacLean are intrepid Canadian yachtsmen, sailing the ketch, Arrow, around the South Pacific. Although they are starting to run low of the funds they obtained from a previous adventure, described in the book Arrow’s Flight, they are not so bad off that they need to take on a charter from a pretty young woman, Laura Kennedy, to go looking for a lost shipwreck.

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The American Practical Navigator ‘Bowditch’ Book Review

The American Practical Navigator ‘Bowditch’, by Nathaniel Bowditch and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (Paradise Cay, 2018; 1228 pages)

Review by Fiona McGlynn

If you’ve ever found yourself aboard, beyond cell phone reception, with a pressing question, you’ll no doubt appreciate the value of having a good reference book aboard. As you wrack your brain to remember, “How to calculate the distance between one point and another?” or, “What’s the difference between a flashing and occulting light?” you’ll reach for your trusty “Bowditch,” as sailors before you have done for 200 hundred years.

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200,000 Miles: A life of adventure

by Jimmy Cornell
(Cornell Sailing, 2018; 409 pages)

Review by Fiona McGlynn

Reading 200,000 Miles: A life of adventure, I had the sense of sitting over a cup of tea, below deck, with a sailing legend, while he enthusiastically told me everything I ever wanted to know about offshore cruising.

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Storing Food Without Refrigeration

by Carolyn Shearlock
(Blue River Press, 2019; 160 pages)

Review by Fiona McGlynn

On day 20 of a Pacific Ocean crossing, having long-since raided the fresh-food stores, my husband and I were subsisting on cans of chicken and “vegetable medley.” I know now that if I’d read Storing Food without Refrigeration before departure, I might have saved myself some heart ache (and heart burn!).

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Chapman Boating Etiquette

by Queene Hooper and Pat Piper
(Hearst, 2005; 144 pages)

Review by Jerry Thompson

Have you ever heard the machine-gun rat-a-tat of halyards slapping masts? I have, quite often in my marina and marinas I visit. It occurred to me that some folks are oblivious to the need to quiet their halyards. And it may not be their fault. After all, who teaches sailors about the need to take steps to make sure their halyards do not constantly bang and clang in a breeze? Where is it written that thou shall not allow ones halyards to disturb thy neighbors? The offenders may not even realize the unpleasantness caused as they may not be aboard when a blow comes through causing the disturbing cacophony of noise.

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John Rae, Arctic Explorer: The Unfinished Autobiography

by John Rae
edited by William Barr (University of Alberta Press, 2018; 648 pages)

Review by Brian Fagan

Orkney-born John Rae (1813-1893) acquired many of his survival skills and his toughness from an idyllic childhood. He became a surgeon for the Hudson Bay Company and soon thrived in the challenging environments of the far north. Over his lifelong association with the Company, he became known as a consummate northern traveler and acquired a remarkable knowledge of Inuit culture. It was Rae who first broke the news of the fate of the Franklin expedition and brought back artifacts from the sailors acquired by Inuit informants. This was his main claim to fame, but he has always remained in the historical background.

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All the Oceans: Designing by the seat of my pants, a memoir

by Ron Holland
(Ron Holland Design, 2018; 350 pages)

Review by Rob Mazza

Anybody who lived through, and was part of, the extraordinary growth in offshore racing in the 1970s will be familiar with the name Ron Holland. He and his friend Doug Peterson, and later, German Frers, were the top independent designers of IOR offshore racing yachts in this New Age of Sail ushered by the new IOR rule in 1970. Indeed, Holland points out that these three designers accounted for 49 of the competitors in the 1979 Admirals’ Cup racing — 29 by Holland, 35 by Peterson, and 17 by Frers!

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Erebus: One Ship, Two Epic Voyages, and the Greatest Naval Mystery of All Time

by Michael Palin
(Greystone Books, 2018; 352 pages)

Review by Rob Mazza

Most of us know Michael Palin from his days with Monty Python’s Flying Circus, but he has also produced several superb BBC travel documentaries. It was probably his fame from the former and involvement in the latter that led to his becoming President of the Royal Geographical Society, and then being asked to address the Athenaeum Club in London, being required to tell the story of one of their past members. Palin chose the renowned 19th Century British botanist Joseph Hooker (whose story Palin had first encountered during filming of one of his travel documentaries in Brazil).

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Fun with Sailboats

by Peter Brennan
(Page Publishing, 2018; 152 pages)

Review by Chas. Hague

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.

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Dick Carter: Yacht Designer in the Golden Age of Offshore Racing

by Dick Carter and John Rousmaniere
(Seapoint Books, 2018; 192 pages; $29.95 print)

Review by Robb Mazza

Over the past several years, the sailing community has been blessed with the publication of several excellent biographies of prominent yacht designers, including those of L. Francis Herreshoff by Roger Taylor, Starling Burgess by Louie Howland, Ray Hunt by Stan Grayson, and GL Watson by Martin Black. However, there have been few autobiographies, other than perhaps Olin Stephens’ excellent All This and Sailing Too. So it is gratifying to read Dick Carter’s first-person-singular narrative of his own remarkable design career during the surge in offshore racing in the 1960s and 70s. Carter says the genesis of this book was his need to dispel the persistent rumor that he died five years ago!

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The Accidental Captain: the Hilarious True-Life Adventures Of the Nerd Who Learned To Sail Across the Atlantic – Eventually

by Glenn Patron
(self-published, 2016; 257 pages, soft cover).

Review by Wayne Gagnon

Glen Patron was born, as he says, “on the wrong side of the docks,” and grew up on Great Neck, on Long Island, New York. As a young boy, Glen developed a love for all literature that had anything to do with adventure. In this book, he chronicles his life and some adventures of his own. And he’s had his fair share. He spent his early adult years wandering around Mexico as a (kind of) student who couldn’t, or wouldn’t, live up to his father’s expectations. When he finally settled down enough to work for his father, he started “at the bottom,” as a stock boy, but learned enough about business to eventually take over and revive a failed company in Puerto Rico. But while Glen attained success as a businessman, he also pursued lives as an entertainer in local nightclubs and on TV, as a dirt bike racer, and eventually as a sailor. There’s a lot more to that story. I touched on the highlights only to illustrate the author’s diverse background, one that sets him up for a life worth writing about.

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A Drop in the Ocean

by Jasna Tuta
(Independently Published, 2018; 192 pages; $12.00 print, $5.99 digital)

Review by Karen Larson

Jasna Tuta and her partner, Rick Page, are self-described sea gypsies, members of the water tribe who cruise the world’s oceans. Their first book, Get Real, Get Gone: How to Become a Modern Sea Gypsy and Sail Away Forever, describes how they adopted the cruising lifestyle, what liveaboard techniques work for them, what you must have, what you can do without, and what to look for when buying a boat for your own cruising adventure. Get Real, Get Gone is a liveaboard how-to book and a good one.

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The Impractical Boat Owner

by Dave Selby
(Adlard Coles, 2017; 112 pages, $14.00 print)

Review by Tom Wells

When I started reading this humorous take on boating and boaters, I expected more of the usual, but Dave Selby has a new and refreshing approach to the genre. The description on Amazon says a lot: “It is a book with no practical purpose whatsoever. It won’t make you a better sailor, and it won’t provide any instructions on boat maintenance. But it will entertain: Selby’s light but observational writings tap the rich well of all those things that sailors know but few dare admit.” As he did with the title on the cover, Selby has scrawled additions to headings throughout the book. This device reflects his tone, evidence of his dry and self-deprecating humor. All and all, it makes for a very enjoyable read.

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Magnetic North: Sea Voyage to Svalbard

Magnetic North: Sea Voyage to Svalbard, by Jenna Butler

by Jenna Butler
(The University of Alberta Press, 2018; 120 pages, $19.95 print, $18.95 digital)

Review by Wendy Mitman Clarke

“I feel my body gone glass, emptying and refilling with Arctic swell. Darkness and safety a trick of the mind, as distant as the long, light fields of home.”

So writes Jenna Butler in Magnetic North: Sea Voyage to Svalbard, a collection of prose poems that reads like a hybrid memoir of short essay and prose poem describing her two-week journey as a writer-in-residence aboard the ice-class barquentine Antigua with Arctic Circle Expeditions. Each year, the organization invites a small group of scientists and artists to travel through the waters and fjords of Svalbard, an Arctic archipelago within 10 degrees latitude of the North Pole.

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A Dream of Steam

A Dream of Steam by James W. Barryby James W. Barry
(Aloft Publishing, 2018; 326 pages; $14.95 print, $4.95 digital)

Review by Karen Larson

Great Lakes sailor James Barry was inspired to write his first historical fiction novel by a true story he discovered while sailing among the islands of Lake Huron’s North Channel. The short version, as he tells it, was that of, “the Moiles brothers who, in 1889, executed the heist of their own sawmill to save it from being taken by creditors.”

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Ten Degrees Of Reckoning

by Hester Rumberg (Putnam/Berkley, 2010; 272 pages; $24.95 hard, $15.00 soft, $12.99 digital)

Review by Don Davies

On November 24th, 1995 the sturdy 47-foot Compass, Melinda Lee, sailed in 35-knot gusts and 8-foot seas at the end of a long passage and only 20-odd miles from her destination in New Zealand. Mike and Judith Sleavins had tucked their two children into their berths and were preparing for their last night at sea.

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Rigging Modern Anchors

by Drew Frye (Seaworthy Publications, 2018; 147 pages, $24.95 print, $9.95 digital)

Review by Robin Urquhart

This is a guide to everything you could possibly want to know about anchors and anchoring. Rigging Modern Anchors includes elegant illustrations and informative graphics and tables. Frye presents facts and withholds from giving personal opinions on anchor types. It’s unlikely you will need any other book on anchoring.

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The Adventures of Mike the Moose

by Ellen and Ed Zacko and illustrated by Robert McKeon (Pomona Club Productions, 2018; 24 pages, $19.95)

Review by Karen Larson

You already know Ed and Ellen Zacko. Ed writes award-winning articles for Good Old Boat. Ellen is the smiling co-sailor occasionally pictured in those articles. Also occasionally pictured in those articles is any one of a few small stuffed animals. “The boys” are hams who like to have their pictures taken and have been known to sneak into a photo when Ed and Ellen forget to check the background.

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Uncharted Waters

by Mary McKSchmidt (14 Karat Books, 2018; 272 pages; $24.99 hard, $15.00 soft, $9.99 digital)

Review by Don Davies

Mary McKSchmidt was like many idealistic young people of the 1970s. She eschewed business and material possessions. She was going to travel, write, seek adventure, and live free. And for a short time, she did just that until she found herself penniless and unable to work in South Africa. Food was not a problem, there were always scraps to be had. With apartheid, the poor and the blacks walked miles to muddy, polluted sources, but cool, clean, potable water was available only to those whites who could afford it; and she was not one of those people. So against every moral value she learned growing up, she stole it. That experience changed Mary’s life forever and it may well change yours if you read this book.

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Shakedown Cruise

by Nigel Calder (Adlard Coles, May 2018, 225 pages, print $25.00, eBook $22.50)

Review by Sara Dawn Johnson

As a cruising parent, I’ll be frank: narratives that sugar-coat what it’s like to set sail with very young children (the children are happy day and night, nobody gets seasick, it’s always blowing 15 knots, the anchor never drags…) are — how do I say this nicely? — lies, all lies. Shakedown Cruise is not one of those stories; it’s probably the most truthful tale of sailing with young children that I’ve ever read.

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