A THOUSAND MILES FROM ANYWHERE

BY SANDRA CLAYTON (ADLARD COLES NAUTICAL, 2013; 287 PAGES; 13.95, $10.49 EBOOK)
REVIEW BY SUSAN LYNN KINGSBURY
PORT LUDLOW, WASHINGTON

A Thousand Miles From Anywhere is Sandra Clayton’s third book chronicling her passages with her husband David aboard Voyager, a cruising catamaran built by Solaris Yachts.

The author provides readers with an extremely detailed and exceptionally imaginative visual account of crossing the Atlantic, sailing the Madeira Islands, the Canary Islands, and the Caribbean before finally reaching the southeastern coast of North America (Florida).

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RUN DOWN THE WIND

BY LAURENCE EUBANK (WILD DOG PRESS, 2013, 563 PAGES; $20.00; $9.99 EBOOK)
REVIEW BY KAREN LARSON

With the publication of his first book, Laurence Eubank has created an epic historical novel and launched a very promising writing career. Run Down the Wind intertwines the real people and historical events of the mid-19th century with a cast of credible fictional characters who encounter the historical people and experience the actual events in a way that makes history fun and exciting. His descriptions of places and scenes are excellent and his ability to write convincing dialog (and dialects) is topnotch.

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ONCE UPON A GYPSY MOON

BY MICHAEL C. HURLEY (CENTER STREET, 2013; 288 PAGES; $19.99; $8.89 KINDLE; $9.99 NOOK)
REVIEW BY SUSAN LYNN KINGSBURY

“My decision to embark had been the final expression of a boy’s will that his life should find some deeper meaning.”

In his memoir, Once Upon A Gypsy Moon, Michael C. Hurley shares his deepest feelings of sorrow and longing as well as the discoveries of joy, dreams, and love realized during his passage. This is not a coming-of-age story but the story of a man searching his soul to find what is worth saving. He opens his heart and bears all, causing readers to feel the emotions of his words.

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TIGHTWADS ON THE LOOSE: A SEVEN-YEAR PACIFIC ODYSSEY

BY WENDY HINMAN (SALSA PRESS, 2012, 374 PAGES; $14.95, $5.99 KINDLE)
REVIEW BY CAROLYN CORBETT

Neither a “How to go cruising” book, nor a “Fiji on fifty cents a day” book, Wendy Hinman’s Tightwads on the Loose is a great read. It tells the tale of experiencing “vastly divergent cultures, frolicking in waterfalls, and snorkeling in pristine aquamarine waters” in the South Pacific. It also tells how Hinman and her husband, Garth, pursued the path of World War II history as they made landfall in Saipan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Okinawa, and Nagasaki. They hadn’t intentionally planned to follow the trail of armed conflict in the Pacific, but were pleased that their mid-cruise decision to sail to Japan would trace those historical events.

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Book Reviews From 2013

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The Galley Slave’s Handbook:
Provisioning and Cooking for an Ocean Crossing

by Richard Bevan (ChangeStart Press, 2010; 136 pages; $9.95).
Review by Susan Lynn Kingsbury, Port Ludlow, Washington

Captain Charlie Tongue was looking for the “fresh perspective of a first-timer” when he asked Richard Bevan to take charge of the provisioning, manage the cooking, and write a blog while crewing onboard the Neroli of Fowey, a 1999 Hallberg Rassey 42. Bevan accepted the challenge to voyage from St Lucia to the Azores in May and June 2010 and shares all that he learned during that ocean crossing in The Galley Slave’s Handbook.
Bevan, formerly a weekend sailor, doesn’t call himself an expert; however, he learned a lot from the project and shares his wealth of knowledge in a very organized and thorough manner.
Sections in the book cover:

  • Basic food needs and emergency supplies
  • Meal plans — with fresh, frozen, or packaged ingredients
  • Storage guidelines
  • Provisioning list
  • Cooking at sea
  • Landfall (meals)
  • Recipes for freezing, fresh ingredients, packaged ingredients, emergency dishes, bread, pasta, rice, etc.
  • Afterword: Reflections from the Captain

The author advises readers in each section how to plan enough meals, as well as how to plan for unplanned circumstances, based on both their own experience and circumstances. For example, his planned meals included the use of fresh, frozen, and packaged ingredients. Some vessels may not have freezers/refrigerators but may have ice boxes and coolers. Additionally, some sailors would prefer to keep it simple and use more packaged meals. The key to his plan is its flexibility — you can adjust it depending on your needs and preferences.

Bevan kept track of supplies using entries in a blog. Additionally, he used an actual spreadsheet to plan meals and make Neroli of Fowey’s provisioning list. Being organized, and having enough emergency meals on hand, came in handy when their vessel’s generator failed and refrigeration was no longer available.

Included recipes are simplified “recognizing that they may be used under challenging conditions.” Quite a variety of recipes are provided, from pancakes to chicken chili and risotto to baked ham with vegetables. Add your own recipes, or use those provided. The author recommends, however, that any recipes be tested first on shore.

Readers will want to make sure to read the section titled Guidelines to Storage. Valuable information is provided about which fruits and vegetables last longest, whether to buy green or ripe, or even whether to bring them onboard at all. Reading further, readers will find out which ones can be stored together and which ones should be kept separate.

The Galley Slave’s Handbook is a combination “How-to” book and cookbook. Whether you are going on a coastal cruise, or an ocean crossing, Bevan’s provisioning tips and guidelines are worth considering, making it an excellent read for experienced boaters and novices alike.

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We Who Pass Like Foam

by Benjamin Zartman (Amazon Digital Services, 2012; 707 kb; Kindle edition, $9.99).
Review by Jaja Martin, Bremen, Maine.

In a world where the cruising boats seem to be getting larger, We Who Pass Like Foam by Ben Zartman is a welcome and refreshing insight into small boat cruising on a tight budget. With a minimal outpouring of cash, Ben and his wife, Danielle, use creativity and ingenuity to solve the myriad problems that beset them. Their combined endurance during difficult, uncomfortable passages strengthens their resolve to continue their adventure. When other cruisers tell them, “You’ll never be able to do that!” it increases their determination to succeed.

Leaving Fort Myers, Florida, on their unfinished boat, Capella, Ben and Danielle strike out across the Gulf of Mexico for Isla Mujeres. Armed with youth, energy, and a strong sense of self-reliance, they unflinchingly survive their first offshore passage without waterproof clothing, self-steering, or a dry warm cabin. During the crossing they deal with a broken swing keel and an alarming leak that fills their bilge and soaks their bed and cushions. They arrive exhausted, cold, and wet but exhilarated with their success.

During their ensuing adventure Ben and Danielle experience the joys and difficulties of life afloat. The theft of their dinghy, accompanied by a village of deceitful locals, illustrates the darkness of human treachery. On the next island a local family adopts them and that family’s unselfish giving restores their faith in the abundance of human kindness.

Ben and Danielle employ traditional nautical methods not only to save money, but also for aesthetic reasons. Ben skillfully uses a lead line, calling soundings to Danielle at the helm. They have kerosene running lights, using old theater gels to color them for port and starboard. Throughout the book Ben struggles with his ideal of using only celestial navigation to pilot Capella. However, he balances his ideals with the safety of the boat by using GPS to occasionally check his accuracy.

We Who Pass Like Foam is a story of youthful courage, determination, and joie de vivre, with a surprise at the end.

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Child of the Sea

by Doina Cornell (Cornell Sailing Ltd., 2012; 224 pages; $19.95).
Review by Chas. Hague,Des Plaines, Illinois

Jimmy Cornell Lived the Dream: While in England in 1974, he bought a bare hull, finished and outfitted it, then spent the next seven years sailing Aventura around the world.
This is not his story.

Accompanying him on this journey were his wife Gwenda, his son Ivan, and his daughter Doina. From the ages of 7 to 14, Doina grew up on her parents’ 36-foot sailboat, traveling in the Mediterranean from Gibraltar to her father’s home country of Romania, then across the Atlantic, up the Eastern seaboard to Maine, then three years in the Pacific, visiting islands and making friends with kids her own age all over the world.

Ms. Cornell writes with the voice of her adolescent self, which makes the descriptions of the sights and events of her journey as fresh as when they first took place. Mum became qualified as a teacher, so she could “boat-school” her children; one lesson on the Peloponnesian Wars takes place on a rocky hill overlooking the actual battlefield in Greece.

Most cruising books are written by the captain and, therefore, contain involved descriptions of the sailing, weather, difficulties, and problems. Not so Child of the Sea. Instead of a technical discussion of what exactly went wrong with the engine and what was required to repair it, Doina simply says, “Had to wait for a new starter motor to arrive from Australia. Stayed in Rabul for over a month.” Doina writes about her life on board, her feelings as a proto-teenager (nobody, apparently, bothered to explain puberty to her), romance, and her own desire to write.

The book does not end with crossing the wake. After over six years at sea, she and her brother yearned for a more normal life. Doina continues her story, returning to England, struggling to fit in at regular school, and adjusting to life on land. She does well, despite the casual cruelty of other kids. And things get better.

Child of the Sea is a unique view of a circumnavigation, as seen through the very observant eyes of a young girl growing up under sail.

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The Great Book of Anchorages:
Hampton Roads and Norfolk to the Florida Keys

by Chuck Baier and Susan Landry (Beach House Publications, 2012; 154 pages; $24)
Review by James Williams, S/v Alizee, St. Petersburg, Florida

“Do we need another book of anchorages along the ICW?” I asked myself this question several times after receiving The Great Book of Anchorages, and the answer still evades me. On my trips along the ICW, from the Chesapeake to Key West, I’ve used The Intracoastal Waterway Chart Book; Jack Dozier’s Waterway Guides; Skipper Bob’s Anchorages Along the Intracoastal Waterway, which now is in its 17th edition and published by Dozier; Maptech charts and their cruising guides; as well as Navionics electronic charts and, more recently, ActiveCaptain online. Frankly, there is no shortage of guides, and it’s hard to keep track of them. It turns out that much of the time motoring along the ICW is spent reading charts and guides, all the while running the risk of missing the trip.

I wish Chuck Baier and his wife and partner, Susan Landry, former general manager and former editor, respectively, of Dozier’s Waterway Guide, had explained forthrightly why we needed this new anchorage guide, the first of what they plan to produce for the Bahamas and then the Great Loop. They claim on their website (<http://www.tgboa.com/home>) that “Over 20 years of cruising these waters has provided us with the knowledge and understanding to provide our fellow boaters with the information you’ve asked for.” Yet, I’m not sure this new contribution to the field really offers more than can be found elsewhere, even with an abbreviated interactive map of anchorages on their website.

Anchorages begins with a three-page discussion of the six most common anchor types, three pages on how to anchor, and then nine pages in which the authors offer their suggested trip down the ICW, with anchorages but without marina stops. The actual information for each anchorage follows, with three “chartlets” from NOAA charts showing the approach to each anchorage. Each chartlet includes the anchorage name, statute mile on the ICW, Lat/Long, approach depth, anchorage depth, type of bottom and holding, wind protection, shore access, and a box with brief comments focusing on such topics as room in the anchorage, current, boat traffic, giving a close-by alternate anchorage, and approach information. The anchorage descriptions begin in Hampton Roads, Virginia, and proceed to the Florida Keys from SM 0 to SM 1238, including the Virginia Cut route and the Dismal Swamp route at the beginning and the Hawk Channel and ICW routes south of Miami. Following mile 1238, anchorages for the St. Johns River are listed beginning at river mile 3 through RM 160 (Lake Monroe Park).  An anchorage index by SM and another alphabetical one close out the volume.

In general, I found the chartlets relatively easy to read, although I had to compare them with a full chart to really grasp the orientation of many, and the information provided was adequate but limited. The authors promise on the cover a list of over 530 anchorages and free docks; however, there are only 381 named anchorages, each with chartlets. The additional 149 anchorages promised must be on the chartlets that show one, sometimes two, alternate spots to drop the hook (I did not try to count them all). I was surprised at the omission of one Florida anchorage, Maule Lake, at SM 1077.5, which is probably the best anchorage in the vicinity, and even though a small anchoring fee is charged in No Name Harbor (SM 1095.5), I found it surprising that the authors recommended the exposed Cape Florida anchorage outside the harbor.

I took the time to compare every listed anchorage with those appearing on ActiveCaptain and I found the exercise enlightening. I found only 38 of 258 ICW anchorages listed in Anchorages, just under 15 percent, were not on ActiveCaptain. In 24 cases, anchorage names were different between Anchorages and ActiveCaptain. More significantly, I found that the brief comments on each anchorage paled in the face of multiple reviews of anchorages on ActiveCaptain.

The Great Book of Anchorages certainly will provide first-timers on the ICW with useful anchorage information, and sailors like myself, who just can’t keep their hands off cruising guides and the like, will probably add it to their collection. But I’m not sure I see a big future in print editions of anchorage guides. Earlier this year, Garmin licensed Active Captain’s interactive cruising guidebook to integrate it into their BlueChart Mobile app for iPad and iPhone, and I cannot believe that other electronic charting firms will not similarly be drawing on ActiveCaptain’s rich database. Rather than another series of printed guides, all rather pricey, I’d prefer to have an electronic chart system with the anchorage guide built in. Well, that is, until the electronics fail.

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A Call to Arms

by William C. Hammond (Naval Institute Press, 2012; 256 pages; $29.95).
Review by Karen Larson
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Novelist and historian William Hammond has been delighting readers of historical fiction since 2007, when the first volume of the Cutler Family Chronicles was published. A Matter of Honor was a big success and could rival Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series as one of the best naval historical tales of all time. As the series has moved along, key protagonist Richard Cutler has grown from young midshipman to captain and father of the next generation of Cutler seafarers.

In A Call to Arms, the fourth book of the series, Bill Hammond’s research and storytelling skills bring the events of the first Barbary War (1801-1805) to life with the bombardment of Tripoli (“From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli,” anyone?) and the burning of the USS Philadelphia. These events grew out of the anger felt by U.S. citizens when the pirates of the Barbary States took and held prisoners for ransom and required exorbitant annual bribe payments “to ensure safe passage.” In the quest to free itself from yet another kind of tyranny, the young republic of the United States responded with naval battles and an incredible desert march concluding with an improbable marine assault by land.

During the same period, the War of 1812 is brewing and an American naval presence is being developed to deal with the arrogant and unlawful impressment of U.S. sailors by British war ships on the high seas.

Bill brings perspective to the events you studied in history class by showing how historical events affected the personal business decisions and activities of the people of the times. In doing so, he offers an authentic view into the daily lives of individuals in the early 1800s.

What sets his Cutler Family Chronicles apart is that Bill Hammond offers his view of naval history from the perspective of the United States of America, rather than Great Britain. A Matter of Honor starts the series. It is followed by For Love of Country (2010), The Power and the Glory (2011), and this newest one: A Call to Arms (2012). It’s worthwhile to read all four. Then stay tuned for numbers five and six as the War of 1812 boils over, personally involving the entire Cutler family on land and sea.

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Unsinkable: A Young Woman’s Courageous Battle on the High Seas

by Abby Sunderland and Lynn Vincent (Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2011; 221 pages; $22.99)
Review by Susan Lynn Kingsbury
Port Ludlow, Washington

“I am not the same person who set sail from Marina del Rey on January 23, 2010…I have a different take on life than before. Alone with myself at sea for months, I learned who I am…” Abby Sunderland

Unsinkable is a story about a young woman coming of age. The obstacles 16-year-old Abby encounters at sea while attempting a solo sail around the world, are only part of the story. Before she has even begun her voyage, she and her parents find themselves having to convince the world that she is ready to embark upon such an adventure. Despite many naysayers and critics, sponsors, and a team of experts come together to form “Team Abby” — and her dream becomes real.

Abby Sunderland grew up on boats. In 1998 she and her family moved onto a mooring in Emerald Bay (Catalina Island), where her father was working as a harbor patrolman. In 2001, Abby, her mother and father and three siblings set out for Mexico on their fifty-one-foot Aleutian cutter-rigged sailboat Amazing Grace. For three years the Sunderlands cruised and Abby’s parents taught their children safety at sea and how to appreciate simple pleasures.

Once Abby got saltwater in her veins, there was no turning back. When she was thirteen, she started helping her dad deliver boats from port to port. It was on the water that Abby felt the most at home. That year she told her father she wanted to sail around the world someday — alone.

As time went on, Abby Sunderland’s desire to sail solo did not waver. After much planning and hard work, sponsors and the gathering of a team of experts, she set out aboard Wild Eyes on January 23, 2010, on an adventure to catch the golden ring.

Unsinkable is written in three voices: Abby’s, the narrator’s and the rescuers’ who saved her in the Indian Ocean. This method works wonderfully, allowing readers to feel like they are right beside Abby throughout her voyage. When she spends ten hours ripping apart the electronic system and putting it together over and over again in different ways, in order to have one working autopilot (while wet and freezing), readers shiver too — and feel a sense of accomplishment for this young and determined sailor.

“Feeling frustration start to build in my chest, I squashed it like a cockroach before it could turn to fear.” Abby Sunderland

Additionally, readers know what her parents and the members of her support team are doing, thinking, and feeling — especially when Abby is having problems with something going wrong on Wild Eyes or when they have no way to contact her. Readers feel the frustration and tiredness of Abby’s pregnant mother, as she waits long hours to hear that her daughter has been located and taken to safety — and the pride of her team members when they see her face situation after situation, and give no sign of giving up.

Knowing what the rescuers are doing, thinking and feeling, makes them very real – and shows their determination to find and rescue Abby. Readers will find themselves crossing their fingers and cheering for them to be successful.

Unsinkable is not a story of failure, but one of accomplishment. Abby’s trip did not end the way she had hoped, but she had sailed twelve thousand miles and she was proud of her accomplishment. And — she still loved sailing.

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Living on the Edge with Sara B: A Sailing Memoir

by Susan Peterson Gateley (Ariel Associates/Whiskey Hill Press; 150 pages; $12.50+$2.00 postage and handling from the author’s online store at: www.chimneybluff.com.
Review by Carolyn Corbett
Lake Shore, Minnesota

Susan Peterson Gateley’s memoir is the story of desiring, acquiring, and sailing Sara B, a wooden gaff-rigged schooner. Gateley and her husband bought the schooner, complete with two masts and five sails, on eBay in 2004, after a road trip to view the boat in person.

They lived “on the edge” with Sara B in a number of ways. They were on the edge socio-economically as self-employed Schedule C filers with a small business and a needy boat. They were on the geographic edge — the shoreline of Lake Ontario. And Sara B herself was on the edge at the time they met her, kept afloat by two bilge pumps and “the tenuous force that owners of old wooden boats call “memory” that still held her aged timbers together.”

That first season, Sara B’s owners considered their eBay purchase to be either a gift or a curse, depending on the day. “No matter whether it was a good or a bad day, our relationship with her had an intensity far beyond the norm for boats and boat owners. The frequent swings between euphoria (when we were sailing her) and despair (when we were working on her, which was most of the time) were wearing, to say the least.”

By 2011 there were half a dozen “associates” contributing time or money to Sara B’s upkeep and, eventually, the decision was reached to cover the classic woodie with fiberglass, creating a leak-free hull. They had qualms about doing so, but it cost less than 5% of what a traditional rebuild would have cost, and they went for it, figuring that Sara B, with her new cover of plastic, could well outlive them.

Susan intersperses Sara B’s story with forays into history: the HMS Ontario; Oswego, claimed to be the oldest freshwater port; New York’s waterfront and the Hudson; and the shipwrecks (and the wreck of a B24 bomber) in Mexico Bay on Lake Ontario. The book also features black and white pictures of the beautiful little schooner. It tells a good story, though it could benefit from some punctuation editing.

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Better Than Ever, Again

by Mitch Davies (Pensmith, 2011; 236 pages; $11.95)
Review by Susan Lynn Kingsbury
Port Ludlow, Washington

Sailors Wanted. Crew for South Pacific. No Experience Necessary.”

The Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, newspaper ad stated no experience was necessary, but it seemed a bit odd to Ben Beck that any employer would be looking for crew members so far east. Still, he is intrigued and desperately needs a job. So with romantic images of swaying palm trees and turquoise water dancing in his head, he decides to apply – and
takes what appears to be a dream job crewing on a luxury sailing yacht.

The rich owner of the yacht, Carl, tells Ben during his interview that he has not been using his sailboat for a year and has decided to use it as a tour boat in the South Pacific and then sell it to make a profit. All Ben has to do is crew on the yacht for a year, all expenses paid, and then, when the boat is sold, he will receive 5% of the proceeds. Wondering if it is a too-good-to-be-true opportunity, Ben shakes off his doubts and jumps in head first, accepting the job.

Ben then embarks on a strange journey, beginning with an off-the-beaten track drive to Las Vegas, a plane ride to Orange County Airport (California) and, finally, a drive to Huntington Beach, where the yacht is moored. He meets an unusual collection of coworkers: Carl’s “hostess” and “personal assistant,” Purrette, (or Miss Malloy for formal occasions); Rudy, whose job description for the project Ben can’t figure out (as he knows nothing about boats and continually picks a fight); and Duane, the Captain of the 90-foot Aurawind.

Before he even leaves Las Vegas, and every stop along the way, Ben has misgivings about the legitimacy of his dream job.

“These are the people I work with. Give it to Vegas and then decide again; that won’t be too late to turn back.”

Crewing on the Aurawind, Ben finds himself cruising to Catalina, Hawaii, Tahiti, and New Zealand. Most of the tourists Carl sets up to sail appear to be looking to invest in a fleet of yachts and Ben wonders if the story he was originally told by Carl is what is really going on. Nothing seems to be as he’s been led to believe and none of his coworkers will answer any questions about the nature of the business. Nevertheless, he is enjoying crewing and cruising so he stays on.

Eventually, Ben finds out what is really going on, but it is too late for him to escape. He finds out just what his boss and coworkers are willing to do to keep their secrets. His too-good-to-be true dream job becomes a very real nightmare — and at times it looks like he may not wake up.

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Sailing – Philosophy for Everyone:
Catching the Drift of Why We Sail

Edited by Patrick Goold (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012; 216 pages; $19.95 ($10.93, Kindle edition)
Review by John Butte,
Lopez Island, Washington

In Catching the Drift of Why We Sail, editor Patrick Goold has assembled a wide-ranging group of essays written by an impressive array of authors, from sailing-savvy academicians to racing and cruising sailors. While Goold attempts to group these fifteen essays under four headings with (to me) rather unapproachable titles (like the title of Part 1, “Passing through Pain And Fear In The Place Of Perpetual Undulation”), I found it more rewarding to read them indiscriminately as stand-alone reflections.

Using words like “flow,” “fulfillment,” “losing oneself” and “meeting the challenge,” some of these authors seek to help the reader appreciate the state of mind of the sailor who may occasionally achieve a zenith moment while sailing. One author will experience this rush in a moment of “unconscious” balance and perfection on his windsurfer board; another will achieve a “Zen-like focus” in the “fine art” of perfecting harmony and consonance among the forces acting on his sailboat.

But in the words of one author, while “sailing can be beautiful … it can (also) be awe-full,” dangerous and life-threatening. While that author meant the word “awe-full” in a cautiously positive sense, a recurring theme in many of the essays is the huge danger faced by sailors throughout maritime history. Perhaps because the authors are predominantly academic philosophers, the theme of dealing with the psychological effects of the dangers inherent in venturing onto an alien element seems to permeate many of these writings. The essays often refer to the ways in which thinkers, including the ancient Greek philosophers, current Zen practitioners, and even Christian Bible authors, have dealt with such threats.

For the more practical minded, Goold includes, for example, an essay on racing attitudes and tactics by prominent, winning racer Gary Jobson; an insightful moment-by-moment ride-along on a Chicago-to-Mackinaw race and even glimpses into the mindsets of Robin Knox Johnson and Bernard Moitessier during their first-ever solo circumnavigation race (including the thinking of the latter when he famously forsook the race finish and just kept on sailing).

Also assembled in this compendium are some practical lessons. For instance, authors Gregory and Tod Bassham urge us to practice what they call “negative visualization.” That is, getting in the habit of imagining the loss of each of the elements we commonly associate with an enjoyable sail — “good health, sound boat, pleasant weather, and so on.” Imagining what we’d do in each of these circumstances both increases our safety margin and reduces our fear.

I particularly appreciated the Basshams’ expanding upon sailing’s tendency to increase man’s awareness and appreciation of his “agency” in life. That is, “understanding the fine lines between what we can control, what we can influence but not control, and the vast world that is beyond our control.”

Goold even includes an entire essay on the physics of sailing in which the author explains, first verbally and then with extensive formulae, the physics behind the answers to common questions like: How can a sailboat sail into the wind? Faster than the wind? And can a sailboat make its own wind?

I confess that my first impression of this book was less than positive. On page 2 I discovered that it is the latest in a series of volumes collectively entitled “Philosophy For Everyone,” edited by Western Michigan University philosophy professor Fritz Allhoff. Numbering over twenty to date, the subjects in this series of books could hardly vary more widely. Asserting that “every activity is a possible subject for philosophical reflection,” Allhoff’s book series has thus far explored subjects ranging from running to college sex, Christmas to porn, motherhood to cannabis. The initial impression is of yet another opportunist seeking a niche market, as in the ubiquitous DIY series, “(you name it)” For Dummies.

But I recommend the book. While I found Goold’s collection of essays somewhat disjointed as a whole; taken individually, many of them are rich and thought provoking. I resonated with several of the authors’ colorful word pictures and thoughtful discussions of the expanded consciousness available in the experience of sailing.

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You Can Do It; Inspiration &
Lessons from an Inventor, Entrepreneur, & Sailor

By Stanley A. Dashew and Joseph S. Klus (Constellation Press, 2010; 275 pages; $14.95)
Review by Wayne Gagnon,
Antigo, Wisconsin

I recently opened my latest issue of Time and saw on their Milestones page that Stanley Dashew passed away at the age of 96. As a young man growing up during the Great Depression, Dashew started a number of small business endeavors, several of which were successful, and some that were not. As an adult he continued to explore business opportunities and, according to Time, ended up holding 40 patents. Perhaps his most visible invention was the machine that embosses those numbers we all have on our credit cards. In his 90s, Dashew wrote You Can Do It; Inspiration & Lessons from an Inventor, Entrepreneur, & Sailor to help motivate people to follow their dreams and pursuits with the same passion he did. And by adhering to his “you can do it” attitude, he tells us that the chances of success are still pretty high, in spite of our current political and economic climate.

The book is supposed to be a motivational piece, but I found it to be more of an autobiography. Dashew writes about how he got started, some of his early successes and failures in the professional and personal arenas, and some of his sailing exploits, which is why the book is being reviewed here, although the sailing is a minor portion of the book. On virtually every page there is a little box with some witticism from Dashew meant to encourage, inspire, and advise. For example, in business matters: “Don’t shy away from challenges that seem beyond your abilities. Stretch yourself, and try. You may fail. But if you do not try at all, you are sure to fail.” In his personal life he learned that “Love, in our society, is often treated as a disposable commodity. It is not. When you find love, do not hesitate to move mountains to merge your lives together.” These sound like common sense, but it’s worthwhile to hear them from time to time.

If you’re looking for a real page-turner, with adventure around every corner, this book won’t do it for you. But if you want to learn how one man succeeded by trying, and trying again, you’ll find something worthwhile here. Although the writing is somewhat dry, the book may prove to be a worthwhile look into the mind of one of the premier inventors of the twentieth century.

Editor’s note:
Stanley Dashew, inventor and sailor, should not be confused with his son, Steve Dashew, the designer of a number of sailboats. Wikipedia states:

Shortly after marrying Martha Grossman in March 1938, Dashew took an interest in sailboat ownership and cruising. At the same time, from the late 1940s to early 1950s, he started writing short magazine articles about the sailor’s skills and travels, published in magazines such as Outdoor Life and Motor Boating & Sailing. In 1949, he and Martha outfitted a 76-foot schooner, Constellation, and set sail with their young family. They sailed from the Great Lakes, up the St. Lawrence Seaway, down the East Coast, through the Caribbean and West Indies, through the Panama Canal, and up the Mexican Pacific to finally arrive and settle in Los Angeles, California. Their voyage was notable — making headlines across the Americas — because of its duration, the tall ship’s masts and sails, their visit to a Haitian voodoo ceremony, and the fact that crew included their seven-year old son, Skip (Stephen), and their three-month-old baby daughter, Leslie.

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MoonWind at Large: Sailing Hither and Yon

By Constant Waterman, aka Matthew Goldman (Breakaway Books, 2012, 296 pages, $14.95)
Review by Wayne Gagnon,
Antigo, Wisconsin

During the off season I read to wile away the hours, days, weeks, and months until I can once again feel the deck moving under my feet, the spray on my face, and hear the wind and waves press against the boat. During the sailing season I read for motivation to pull away from the marina and head out for the horizon to see what’s on the other side. In MoonWind at Large: Sailing Hither and Yon, Constant Waterman has given me something for all seasons.

MoonWind, Waterman’s 26-foot Chris-Craft Pawnee, designed by Sparkman & Stephens, is probably similar to what many of the rest of us own — a simple, relatively small but sturdy vessel that helps us find our hidden Slocum or Magellan. His book is an account of some of his own adventures, and misadventures, as he plies the waters and ports of southern New England in search of his own hidden explorer. The stories can be read in the order they appear for a chronological record of his travels, or in no particular order at all, but it’s a pleasure and a treasure either way. In addition to his expertise as a raconteur, Waterman is an accomplished illustrator and the book is sprinkled with several dozen pen-and-ink sketches of places he’s visited (physically and in his mind’s eye), maps of his cruising territory, and vessels and critters he’s encountered.

I would imagine that many of us who do a lot of reading have probably thought about writing a book at some point. We think, “I can do that,” and some of us do, while many more of us are still wannabes. Waterman has done it several times with at least five books to his credit and, according to the bio page at the end of Moon Wind, works of “drama, poetry, comedy, and farce.” As of now my personal muse is still incubating, but if she ever wakes up, this is the kind of work I’d be proud to put on my list of accomplishments. In the meantime I’ll be content to read what others write, and keep this particular volume close at hand. Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.

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THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO SAILING & SEAMANSHIP

by Twain Braden, with illustrations by Sam Manning (Skyhorse Publishing, 2013, 189 pages; $16.95 ($9.99 Kindle, $10.49 Nook)
Review by Bob Wood
Angola, New York

This Complete Guide just might surprise the word-weary voyager. Described as “An illustrated guide for beginner and expert alike,” a cursory glance could relegate it to the shelf of innumerable other books on learning to sail. That would be a mistake.

Like a buffet of information, what the reader finds in this book . . . and what they take away . . . is directly related to what interests bring them to the table. This is truly an enjoyable feast of a read for every sailor of any skill level.

Not only enjoyable but logical, understandable, and filled with real substance, the Complete Guide is that rare medley of artful words and well-crafted content to be consulted time and again. The forces that drive a sailboat are explained along with the techniques to accomplish them. How techniques evolved through painfully acquired knowledge and tradition is explained. Examples are offered from the author’s experiences as well as sailing giants like Pardey and Chapelle. Illustrations are clear and invaluable.

Equally important are threads of the author’s philosophy that weave through this unique book, contributing to a cohesive work. One is that the essence of sailing is a mindset different from life ashore. It is the acceptance of the wonderful yet unforgiving water world and the required outlook to become part of it.

A second thread is that all sailing is local. Sailors should understand that conditions and the necessary preparations for cruising or racing off New England are vastly different from Chesapeake Bay, which is different from Bora Bora.

There is very little to fault with this book. I would perhaps disagree with radar being the most essential of electronics aboard a small sailboat. But if I were sailing off the Maine coast, as the author does, my priorities might change. The only handicap could be its size. At 8 ½ by 11 inches, it may exclude itself from many small boat bookshelves.

This is a solid treatise on a very large topic. It handles an amazing amount of detail and explanation in a concise and readable manner. And upon second thought, you can always stow this jewel in the chart drawer. The Complete Guide to Sailing & Seamanship: don’t leave port without it.

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A SWIM: THE RHODE ISLANDER WHO REFUSED TO DROWN

by John K. Fulweiler, Jr. (Flood Tide Press, 2013, 75 pages; $12.99 on Amazon.com)
Review by Tom Lochhaas
Newburyport, Massachusetts

This small book is the story of Joe, a Rhode Island fisherman who not long ago fell off his boat and treaded water and swam for 11 hours in the cold Atlantic before being rescued. No spoiler alert needed here: you know from the book’s cover what it’s about. It’s not written as a tale of suspense, which would have been unlikely anyway once you know it doesn’t end in a drowning.

Nor is it a deeply psychological story, page after page of what it was like to be in cold water at night for all those hours, your life flashing or spooling endlessly before your eyes, every mental and bodily response minutely detailed.

Still, there is the drama of perseverance and some of the psychology. Mostly, however, it’s a detailed account of the incident itself, including wide-ranging information about fishing, the Coast Guard, Joe’s family members and others, and one man’s character — surrounded by a broad context of how drownings occur, what the sea is like, and much more, with cross-cutting between the main story and matters on shore, among the Coast Guard men in their search, and his wife’s worries.

What I like best about A Swim is its lack of romanticism: the author glorifies nothing in the tale and pulls no punches to ensure we like Joe. Joe is described as drinking beer during several of the interviews, and he doesn’t claim any life-changing revelations from the experience. He admits to certain stupidities. He seems totally honest when he describes what happened and what he did. Remember the heroics of George Clooney in the movie version of The Perfect Storm? That’s not our Joe here. You might end up not even liking the guy enough to invite him on your own boat, but you’ll learn something from his story nonetheless. Similarly, we see the personalities of the Coasties, who ultimately saved him, as individuals, not guardian angels.

So what do we gain from this little book besides the joy of reading about someone else’s torment and being glad it’s not us? Wear your life jacket! Make a real effort to stay on the boat! Have a submersible VHF on your belt! Interestingly, these are not the author’s own “lessons” at the end of the story. He focuses on some other interesting psychological and sociological observations about character — that you really must depend on yourself in survival situations, that in the end we are all pretty much on our own, that this man survived the situation based on his “grit” and calm determination. I don’t dispute this at all, but I personally would like to have seen a little more emphasis on how he could easily have prevented the disaster from occurring rather than perhaps implying, for some readers, that if you have true grit and determination, you will survive. What if this fisherman had been a few miles further out? What if his boat hadn’t run aground by itself in a place where it was seen and reported empty to the authorities? I doubt all the grit in the world would have saved him then, and I guess we’d have a very different moral to the story. So maybe the real “lesson” of the book is there regardless of what its author tells us.

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CHANCE ALONG

by Christina & Kirby Salisbury (Biama Books, 2013, 311 pages; $15.95)
Review by Carolyn Corbett
Lake Shore, Minnesota

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.

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THE SINKING OF THE BOUNTY

by Matthew Shaer (“The Atavist,” Issue No. 22, February 2013, $1.99. Available at Atavist.com via the Atavist iOS app or Web reader; Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iBookstore versions are also available.)
Review by James Williams
St. Petersburg, Florida

Journalist and writer Matthew Shaer offers a short but interesting and well-written account of the 2012 loss of the Bounty, a replica of the British vessel of the same name whose crew famously mutinied in 1789. In what is now considered a most controversial decision, Bounty’s veteran captain, Robin Walbridge, took Bounty to sea from New London, Connecticut, on October 25, just as Hurricane Sandy was drifting northward off the east coast of Florida. New London’s crowded port, thought Walbridge, would give Bounty no “sea room.” Therefore, adhering to the old adage “Always safer at sea than at anchor,” he sailed southeast to put Bounty windward of  the slow-moving Sandy, which he and his crew all assumed would be turning landward around North Carolina. Four days later, Bounty was at the bottom of the Atlantic, Walbridge and one crew member were dead, and the other fourteen were in Coast Guard helicopters on their way to Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

Shaer constructs his tale around brief stories of the crew: Josh Sconavacchi, 25, an adventurer and one of three who twice climbed the foremast in the midst of the hurricane to furl the ripped forecourse (the lowest sail on the foremast); Chris Barksdale, the ship’s engineer who struggled with the failing bilge pumps; Doug Faunt, a retired computer engineer and volunteer crew member; and Claudene Christian, who perished in the Atlantic with the captain and who had long been told she was a descendent of Fletcher Christian, leader of the 1789 mutiny on the original Bounty. It’s a tale of chutzpah and imprudent seamanship, of a captain whose bravado lost his ship and almost lost the crew who trusted him implicitly.

He also addresses whether the Bounty should even have been taken to sea. Crewman Faunt described her as “very much a work in progress,” a ship in subpar condition with dry rot throughout her framing and very-much-deferred maintenance. The HMS Bounty Foundation and Bounty’s owner, Robert Hansen, seemed unable to provide the funds necessary to keep her in good repair and the captain misjudged or ignored how badly degraded she was. But Walbridge was experienced. He’d taken Bounty through gales before. John Svendsen, the 41-year-old first mate, said of the captain: “I never witnessed Robin seeking out a storm. If there was a storm, he would put the ship in the safest position.” Walbridge’s plan to put Bounty in the hurricane’s southeast quadrant was theoretically correct but, in terms of Sandy — 1,000 miles across — dead wrong. He sailed Bounty directly into the maw of the hurricane. Much of the story, with Coast Guard videos embedded in the eBook, is of the rescue itself and the harrowing experiences of the crew. And it is well told, indeed.

Unfortunately, Shaer’s tale suffers from a glaring geographical error. In dealing with Bounty’s itinerary, in Chapter 2, the author notes that Bounty left Connecticut bound for Florida with a mid-November ETA, which allowed for making a tour appointment in St. Petersburg and “a pit stop in Key West for the crew.” Does this sound a little odd? Then, “Bounty would sail around the tip of Florida, across the Gulf of Mexico, and into Galveston, Texas, where she’d put up for the winter.” What happened to St. Petersburg? Where is St. Petersburg? Surely, I thought as I read this, Shaer doesn’t think St. Petersburg is between Connecticut and Key West! But, alas, he apparently does, for in Chapter 5, in describing Walbridge’s pinpointing Bounty’s position on the map on October 27 and then turning southwest toward the hurricane, Shaer writes: “Walbridge reasoned that … Bounty had made it out far enough beyond Sandy’s eye that if he steered inland again, the winds shipping counterclockwise out along the margins of the storm would help propel the ship to St. Petersburg.” When an author makes such a basic error, readers ought to wonder about the author’s overall reliability. And this is a shame, because the story of the Bounty is a good one.

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THE CRASH TEST BOAT: HOW YACHTING MONTHLY TOOK A 40-FOOT YACHT
THROUGH EIGHT DISASTER SCENARIOS

edited by Paul Gelder (Adlard Coles Nautical, 2013 — available September 5, 176 pages; $29.95; $9.69 Kindle, $9.49 Nook)
Review by Karen Larson
Minneapolis, Minn.

A few readers in the U.S. and Canada read Yachting Monthly magazine, which is published in the United Kingdom. But if you missed their eight-month-long Crash Test Boat series last year, you will want to read the book about it. Yachting Monthly is my favorite British publication and I was alternately fascinated by the subject matter and in awe of those who made it happen.

First they acquired a boat, a 40-foot Jeanneau Sun Fizz ketch. Then they ran it aground for an article discussing groundings and methods of getting off, capsized it for an article about what happens in a capsize and how to secure things in the cabin, followed by a dismasting … you get the idea. After the dismasting, the next month’s article focused on the possible jury-rigs that will get you home. They sank it, caused serious leaks to test ways to plug them, and set off fires to practice putting them out. Are we having fun yet?

Finally, they caused a gas leak and subsequent explosion that blew off the cabintop. Since that was the most dramatic event and the grand finale, there’s a video of that event. You don’t want to miss this: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yxm3uMy6MPI. While they were at it, they made videos of the rest of the abuses they invented for this boat and posted them on YouTube. This book provides a handy QR code for videos of seven of the eight destructive tests. There were remote cameras inside, for example, when the boat capsized and when it exploded. That did it for me. I had to figure out how to scan QRCs on my iPad. I downloaded a free app and sallied forth.

Following the explosion, since the Crash Test Boat didn’t sink, they hauled off what was left of this poor abused sailboat to a boat show or two as a real show-stopper meant to cause people to consider safety practices on their own boats. Even Great Britain’s Princess Anne, a keen sailor, stopped by to see the Crash Test Boat and left with a thoughtful expression.

Mere humans created this series. What’s more, they were editors and authors and subject experts very much like the mortals at Good Old Boat. I know they were plenty busy with other projects and the daily grind of making a magazine happen. Some of them even have real lives beyond the magazine and sailing activities. They don’t walk on water. How then, were they able to pull off a feat like this every month?

The red tape alone would have dampened my resolve. In his introduction, Paul Gelder briefly describes the agencies that had to be informed and had to give their approval for every test. Appeasing every agency and bureaucrat was, no doubt, the most daunting task of all.

Each chapter in this book tells about the events and what was learned to make us all better sailors and boat owners, of course. But each also discusses how the destructive tests were accomplished: the setups and executions. Each includes equipment reviews where appropriate — equipment such as rig cutters or fire extinguishers — and also shares true-life stories of sailors whose boats were involved in similar disasters, whether it be sinking or fire aboard.

I wish they would have given bylines to the author of each article. I was not sure whether all articles (chapters) were written by the same individual or not. But it’s disconcerting to have the information presented in the first person singular as “I did this” or “I thought that” without knowing which of the team members did or thought such and such. Some of the British expressions, such as the “head torch” someone wore during one of the tests, will stop you cold for a moment until you realize that these folks speak the King’s English and we speak whatever it is that we speak, and it doesn’t include head torches when we mean flashlights on ball caps or elastic bands.

Sailors often say we should do a man-overboard drill on our own boats. Some of us actually do run a practice MOB event from time to time. But none of us is willing to run a practice grounding, capsize, dismasting, jury-rig, sinking, leaking, fire, or explosion. We must read about these events and take measures to avoid them on our boats based on what we learn in this way. We should be very grateful that a whole team of individuals at Yachting Monthly — editors and authors, subject experts, and members of the regulatory agencies, heroes each and every one — took the time and trouble to run the events, record what they learned, and share it with the rest of us.

All we have to do now is buy the book and read it. I highly recommend that you take that action. This book is an eye-opener.

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COYOTE LOST AT SEA: THE STORY OF MIKE PLANT,
AMERICA’S DARING SOLO CIRCUMNAVIGATOR

By Julia Plant (International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press; 2013; 256 pages; $25.00; $11.99 Kindle; $13.99 Nook)
Review by Kim Ode
Minneapolis, Minnesota

When Mike Plant was 8, he learned to sail on Minnesota’s Lake Minnetonka. By 11, he’d designed and built his own boat. By 14, he was hiding bottles of bourbon. By 25, he was on the run for drug smuggling.

We learn this by way of Julia Plant, whose book about her older brother is, while no rose-colored memorial, still imbued with affection.

Plant was an internationally renowned sailor who died at 41, washed overboard in the North Atlantic sailing to his fourth solo race around the world. His sister recounts the less-than-heroic facts of his life with a pragmatism he’d likely have appreciated. Not that he’d admit it.

In an especially cogent passage, she writes of Plant’s failure to thank friends and family when they sprang him from a Portuguese prison: “Mike said nothing,” she wrote. “Thanking people meant acknowledging that he had screwed up, and he didn’t want to do that.”

You want to smack him, yet not hard enough that he can’t raise a sail. The chapters about racing the southern oceans, drawn from his journals and radio transmissions, are spellbinding.

Sailors who followed his circumnavigations likely never caught a whiff that he was anything less than a boyishly handsome daredevil. His sister, writing because “he truly was the most alive person I had ever known,” said the book took 20 years because she was afraid to embrace “the parts that showed what a schmuck he had been at times.”

The result is a credible account that leaves you admiring his tenacity, his skills, his respect for fellow sailors and, in the end, his relationship with himself. The risks he took, whether driven by lack of money or his own demons, cost him. Yet Julia Plant resists suggesting there’s a lesson here, because only a thimbleful of people live such a life.

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TIGHTWADS ON THE LOOSE: A SEVEN-YEAR PACIFIC ODYSSEY

BY WENDY HINMAN (SALSA PRESS, 2012, 374 PAGES; $14.95, $5.99 KINDLE)
REVIEW BY CAROLYN CORBETT

Neither a “How to go cruising” book, nor a “Fiji on fifty cents a day” book, Wendy Hinman’s Tightwads on the Loose is a great read. It tells the tale of experiencing “vastly divergent cultures, frolicking in waterfalls, and snorkeling in pristine aquamarine waters” in the South Pacific. It also tells how Hinman and her husband, Garth, pursued the path of World War II history as they made landfall in Saipan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Okinawa, and Nagasaki. They hadn’t intentionally planned to follow the trail of armed conflict in the Pacific, but were pleased that their mid-cruise decision to sail to Japan would trace those historical events.

The transition point in their 34,000-mile odyssey, between snorkeling those pristine depths filled with ocean life and diving on World War II wrecks, came after four years of sailing when they had a major equipment meltdown in the Solomon Islands and took two years off to work at the U.S. Army base at Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. So while they spent seven years sailing, they were actually gone from Seattle for nine years.

Wendy says that she learned that the cruising lifestyle brings emotional highs that are higher and lows that are lower than those she’d ever felt ashore. She was the adventure seeker, the one who needed to see and try everything at every port. When Garth grew weary of life as a perpetual traveler, she still wanted to sail their 31-foot boat around the world. She returned reluctantly from the water.

Wendy’s new adventure became telling the story of their journey, and she has done a wonderful job. This is a great read accompanied by a map, a glossary for those unfamiliar with sailboats, and fifteen pages of photos. One only wishes there were more pictures and more stories!

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ONCE UPON A GYPSY MOON

BY MICHAEL C. HURLEY (CENTER STREET, 2013; 288 PAGES; $19.99; $8.89 KINDLE; $9.99 NOOK)
REVIEW BY SUSAN LYNN KINGSBURY

“My decision to embark had been the final expression of a boy’s will that his life should find some deeper meaning.”

In his memoir, Once Upon A Gypsy Moon, Michael C. Hurley shares his deepest feelings of sorrow and longing as well as the discoveries of joy, dreams, and love realized during his passage. This is not a coming-of-age story but the story of a man searching his soul to find what is worth saving. He opens his heart and bears all, causing readers to feel the emotions of his words.

Recently divorced, jobless, and desperate to find himself and redemption, 51-year-old Hurley sets out solo from Annapolis on a 1,000-mile journey to Nassau aboard his aging 32-foot sloop, Gypsy Moon. Although he admits that many thought him crazy, he believed that escaping his complex world was a way of focusing on finding out what was most important in life.

He writes of Gypsy Moon: “ … her worth to me was measured more in dreams than dollars. She was a magic carpet … my partner … a tangible reminder that, despite all that had occurred to make my life so much smaller, there was still a reason to dream big dreams … ”

As his personal journey begins, Hurley is lonely and self-doubting. After encountering his first storm, he realizes that it is time to commit to the voyage offshore — and he finds he is terrified to even start. But he is also determined to go on, and so the journey begins. He encounters many stops and starts and in no way does he experience smooth sailing.

While stopped in port to have repairs completed, through an online dating service Hurley connects with a woman who just happens to live near his next planned destination. After corresponding and finding they have much in common, he meets Susan, who becomes the love of his life and, later, his wife.

Hurley has his most traumatic experience during the last leg of his journey — sailing (again singlehanded) from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, to Panama, a 1,000-mile passage via Cuba and Haiti. On the second day of his trip, he has a change of heart and decides instead go north to Miami — and then go home for good. He attempts to reach Susan, but his satellite phone won’t work well enough for him to tell her of his change of direction.

Then the wind and the wave conditions worsen. Hurley’s head is slammed against the cabin top, and he realizes too late that his sails need to be reefed. The jib halyard splits at the top of the mast and the jib collapses and things continue to go wrong. He finds himself dead in the water, some 300 miles from Jamaica and 600 miles from South America, with no jib sail or engine.

It seems a miracle when not one, but two, ships radio that they are near enough to save Hurley. Sadly, he has no choice in the end but to abandon Gypsy Moon, possibly the most difficult decision he makes throughout his over two-year journey.

Hurley’s writing prose is revealing and poetic, making his memoir a great read for those who go to sea, and those who only dream of going.

“A ship’s wake tells you where she has been, not where she is going.”

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Run Down the Wind

by Laurence Eubank (Wild Dog Press, 2013, 563 pages; $20.00; $9.99 ebook)
Review by Karen Larson
Minneapolis, Minnesota

With the publication of his first book, Laurence Eubank has created an epic historical novel and launched a very promising writing career. Run Down the Wind intertwines the real people and historical events of the mid-19th century with a cast of credible fictional characters who encounter the historical people and experience the actual events in a way that makes history fun and exciting. His descriptions of places and scenes are excellent and his ability to write convincing dialog (and dialects) is topnotch.

This book, encompassing the years 1851 to 1865, could easily have been split into three volumes. If you wonder what could possibly be so important about a period of just 14 years, consider that the clipper ships experienced a brief moment of glory during only nine years (1851 through 1860); that the American Civil War brewed, began, and finally bloodied all participants during those years; that California gold rush fever was upon the nation; that the rights of black Americans were an incredibly divisive issue of the time as were the demands of women suffragettes . . . and you have the tempestuous events that swept the characters, both real and fictional, along in their path.

Two of the characters are young boys who ship aboard the clipper ship Flying Cloud on her record-breaking trip in 1851 from New York to San Francisco in just under 90 days. They serve before the mast as the ship goes through Cape Horn storms and tropical heat to deliver fortune seekers and supplies to the rapidly growing gold rush community and then races across the Pacific to pick up tea in China before her return home. These two boys arrive home older in many ways and much wiser in the ways of trade, navigation, and reading and writing skills.

As they grow up, the young men make trades of their own, becoming relatively wealthy and creating a strong partnership and wonderful multi-ethnic families long before this was considered normal. Unfortunately, one of these young men is from the South and one is from the North with the problematic allegiances that set up brother against brother during that loathsome period of our history. Their separate struggles during the war and the eventual reunion of the two protagonists and their families will keep anyone flipping pages.

Author Laurence Eubank says he is considering a sequel. He would like to move the offspring of these fellows forward a century and do it all again. It is bound to be a terrific second book and another epic work. <http://www.rundownthewind.com/>.

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A Thousand Miles From Anywhere

by Sandra Clayton (Adlard Coles Nautical, 2013; 287 pages; 13.95, $10.49 eBook)
Review by Susan Lynn Kingsbury
Port Ludlow, Washington

A Thousand Miles From Anywhere is Sandra Clayton’s third book chronicling her passages with her husband David aboard Voyager, a cruising catamaran built by Solaris Yachts.

The author provides readers with an extremely detailed and exceptionally imaginative visual account of crossing the Atlantic, sailing the Madeira Islands, the Canary Islands, and the Caribbean before finally reaching the southeastern coast of North America (Florida).

Readers see everything through her viewpoint, and feel, smell, taste, and hear the details of the journey as though they are along for the ride.

Madeira . . . Its coastline is striking as you approach because the island is a volcano. . . Fora, the large rock at its eastern corner, with St Laurence’s lighthouse perched on it, rises steeply to a point. This white lighthouse gives every appearance of having been iced onto the top, like a bride on a wedding cake, with the white icing running downhill to cover . . . the tiny summit.

At times readers will imagine that they are reading straight from Clayton’s log book, and that they are on the journey with the Claytons, right there in the cockpit, onboard Voyager.

“. . . twenty days since leaving the Cape Verde Islands we have covered 2,255 nautical miles . . . saw only seven ships. . . one yacht . . . averaged 4.7 knots. Since leaving England seventeen months ago…we travelled 7,600 miles. We have a light meal and are asleep by 6pm.”

Weathering gale winds and planning around the Atlantic hurricane season is another concern for the Claytons and much planning is required. Sometimes, no matter how prepared they are, communication quandaries throw a monkey wrench into their plans to sightsee.

The Claytons experience numerous encounters with creatures of the sea.

“When David wakes me . . . for my second watch of the night, he says that as he left the cockpit he could hear a whale breathing.”

Clayton explains to readers that this is very troubling because if you can hear a whale breathing, they are very close, on top of the water, and possibly asleep! What if the whale wakes up and rams the boat? She explains that this is just another one of many possibilities cruisers encounter while crossing the open ocean at night.

Later, as they cross the Atlantic, a dark gray 25-foot male Minke whale “visits” Voyager and her crew bodysurfing, rolling onto his back and then swimming under the catamaran. Again and again he repeats his “dance,” as Clayton writes, “having a whale of a time.”

Included in the book are charts of the journey, information on the Beaufort Wind Force Scale and a glossary of terms for non-sailors. These additions make A Thousand Miles From Anywhere an appealing read for sailors, armchair sailors, and novices.

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Legends and Lore of Lake Ontario

by Susan Peterson Gateley (History Press, 2013, 128 pages; $14.99, $9.99 ebook)
Review by Don Davies
Toronto, Ontario

I suppose every sailor has experienced it —those frustrating times when it seems the gods conspire to keep him or her at the dock. For me it had been several weeks of lawns to cut, gutters to clean, drains to snake, anniversaries that must be attended, grandchildren to be entertained, and on and on — always something to prevent me from getting out on the lake and letting the wind and waves take me to a peace of mind that only the helm of a good old boat can bring. And so it was, with steeled determination, I swore that nothing — hell-fire, hurricanes, or hollering guilt-trips — would prevent me from slipping those mooring lines and heading out to open water.

However, as I stood in the cockpit staring skyward at the flags hanging motionless from the pole atop the clubhouse, I faced a difficult decision. Should I stubbornly keep my promise to myself and motor out to bob around a glassy expanse, or accept that once again the gods were laughing at my mortal plight?

The day was gray with heavy moisture in the air. Fall had brought a bit of a chill to the air. I stepped below and put the kettle on for tea. Still wrestling with the conflict of decision-making, my eyes descended on the cover of a book sitting prominent in the rack—Legends and Lore of Lake Ontario by Susan Peterson Gateley. As steam began to rise from the kettle, the thin book seemed perfect, a small literary commitment in case the weather changed and I might still be able to hoist a sail instead of a cup of tea. I grabbed a plush pillow from the V-berth, made my tea, and stretched out on the settee to skim through a few pages, mourning what looked to be a wasted day.

I’m not much for ghosts and it would appear that Susan Peterson Gateley shares my cynicism. However, as she slowly enticed me in with multiple witnesses and documented collaborations, the logical explanations became somehow less logical. Sailors lost at sea in violent storms appearing ashore years later . . . ashen, disheveled, in soaking clothes, staring blankly at astonished beach wanderers before fading into the horizon. Visages of long-ago murder victims appearing in lighthouses. Or the phantom spirit of a soldier who walks the ramparts at Fort Ontario and has been seen clearly by several sentries, particularly before the nation goes to war. There are those who believe it to be the ghost of Lieutenant Basil Dunbar, who served during the French and Indian Wars. He’s said to have fallen in love with his commanding officer’s wife with disastrous results. A duel ensued, which Dunbar lost, and now his spirit lurks about the ramparts to beguile the young recruits of today. For myself, I couldn’t help thinking that the lady in question might have selected a lover who was a better fighter . . . or perhaps a husband who was a better lover.

I had no time to ponder the question further because the author quickly moved on to tales of monsters and mysteries that abound — a captain and crew who swore they cut a fifty-foot sea monster in half with their hull as it slept on the water’s surface. Each half then swam away.

I read of weather abnormalities that can create visions and mirages that confound and frighten, and ships that have disappeared without a trace with no logical explanation for their demise.

The afternoon was wasting away as I lay reading. But rather than checking the weather, I arose only to fortify myself with something a bit stronger than tea and settled back down to read more. And there was more . . .  so much more. Sea battles, captured ships, goods smuggled back and forth across the lake both in days gone by and today when drugs, cigarettes, and human cargo are found by border patrol agents. In the final chapters, Susan chronicles the saga of what she calls “Lake Ontario’s Legendary Trio” — the Sturgeon, the Silver Salmon, and the American Eel. With knowledge gained from her years as a fisheries biologist she tells of an aquatic species that pre-dates the dinosaurs and can grow to 300 pounds over a 150-year life span, a time when salmon in Lake Ontario were so numerous that farmers could stand in a river and spear hundreds in a night with pitchforks as they returned to their spawning grounds, and eels that live more than a hundred years and swim over 3,700 miles from Lake Ontario to Bermuda to spawn before dying. All still swim beneath the waters of Lake Ontario, but with climate change, pollution, and the introduction of foreign species, who knows for how much longer?

When I finished, it was dark. The boat swung gently at her lines. I had not gone sailing, but my spirit was calm and I couldn’t help but think, “There should be more wasted days like this.”

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AnchorGuide for the Intracoastal Waterway

(ICW), 2 vols. by Captains Mark and Diana Doyle (semi-local publications, 2012; Vol. 1, Norfolk, VA, to Beaufort, SC, 134 pages, $29.95; Vol. 2, Hilton Head, SC, to Miami, FL, 140 pages, $29.95).
Review by James Williams
Charlotte Harbor, Florida

In the 1980s, development of the satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS) launched a revolution in marine navigation. Following Magellan Navigation’s first commercial handheld GPS in 1989, a plethora of GPS-based charting systems came to market. Computer-based charting is now so ubiquitous that many boaters see paper charts as antiquated, a view testified to by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s recent announcement that, as of April 2014, it will no longer print traditional lithographic (paper) nautical charts, but it will provide electronic and digital charts. (For traditionalists, it will print paper charts on-demand.)

Yet, although electronic charting seems to have turned the nautical world upside down, we are still in a transitional stage, and the demand among boaters for paper charts and cruising guides continues to flourish. The heavily traveled Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) and related waterways is the subject of several chart books and guides, and most of them are offered in both paper and/or digital format. Maptech offers dozens of chart books and guides, and Dozier’s Waterway Guide sells several guides (a 2014 edition of the Atlantic ICW guide is forthcoming), as well as chart books. John and Leslie Kettlewell’s long popular Intracoastal Waterway Chartbook Norfolk to Miami is now in its 6th edition (2012), Skipper Bob’s Anchorages Along the Intracoastal Waterway (now owned by Dozier’s) is in its 18th edition, and a new Great Book of Anchorages for the ICW was published in 2012 by past editors of Dozier’s. The two-volume ICW anchorage guide under review here is the sixth title to come from Mark and Diana Doyle’s own semi-local publications LLC.

Ann Dermody, in BoatUS magazine (February 2011), described Mark and Diana Doyle’s life as “a marriage made on the water.” They met at a New Hampshire marina, each hold USCG Master Licenses. They have cruised together for over a decade. Their first ICW cruising guide, Managing the Waterway, appeared in 2005. As an extra offering, they began selling two CDs containing U.S. raster and vector charts, which NOAA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers distribute free of charge. Displaying both their cruising guide and CDs at boat shows, they soon gathered a good following of boaters who took advantage of the online updates to the cruising guide and annual updates of the chart CDs. By 2009, the Doyles had published a second cruising guide, for the Florida Keys; updated and revised Managing the Waterway under the new title CruiseGuide for the Intracoastal Waterway; and published the first of a planned two-volume chart guide for the great loop. To enhance their computer charting CDs, they included with the charts free and trial e-charting software and reference materials, and in 2008 they published Get Onboard with E-Charting, advertised as “a complete reference guide to electronic charting and PC-based marine navigation.”

Mark and Diana’s latest offering, AnchorGuide for the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), is representative of nautical charting’s transitional stage. It uses 5½ x 7-inch computer screenshots of raster charts for each anchorage, most of which are overscale. Each anchorage chart has its own full page and is annotated to show marinas, boat ramps, hazards, bridges, and such. Each page is headed by the anchorage name, ICW statute mile, longitude and latitude, and a compass rose showing wind protection. If the anchorage is near a tide station, a tidal graph is at the top of the page, which shows the depth when the Mark and Diana actually anchored there. Under the chart itself is a brief summary of the anchorage along with useful data: distance off the ICW, depth, nearest tide station, wind protection, scenic quality, roominess for boats, shore access, availability of shopping, and taking dogs ashore. The back cover has a useful guide to the information available on each chart page.

The single most interesting feature of the charts in this anchorage guide is that the Doyles actually surveyed depths in the anchorage and its approach, marking them on the chart with a calibrated depth-sounder linked to their computer. A “digital bread-crumb trail” of depths starts where they left the ICW and marks their path into the anchorage. It shows precisely where they anchored, then traces their departure path back to the ICW. For anchorages where chart depths are spotty, this trail of actual depths is helpful. One can see on a number of their anchorage charts where the official chart MLLW depth indicates a shallower depth, perhaps as much as three feet, than the Doyle’s actual reading.

Every chart book, anchorage guide, and cruising guide, however, has its shortcomings. While the annotated depth tracks are a very attractive feature of the AnchorGuide, the oversized charts tend to be a bit blurred and, occasionally, annotations on the charts obscure navigation information on the actual chart. Information for each anchorage is good, but the data sections lack any indication of the bottom type (sand, mud, grass). The charts themselves begin at Hampton Roads and follow by statute mile on through to Miami, but there is no index, no table of contents, and anchorage chart pages do not indicate the state in which the anchorage lies. Thus, overall route planning using the AnchorGuide is hampered; one probably will need to use a full-size ICW chart to figure out exactly where anchorages in the guide are located along the route. Compared to Kettlewell’s Intracoastal Waterway Chartbook, this is a real flaw.

In the end, I just wonder how much more valuable the Doyle’s depth tracking into anchorages would be if they were overlaid onto a digital raster chart that one could actually follow in real time on a chart plotter. And, like the anchorage information on ActiveCaptain, all the other information could be brought to the screen through a text box. Perhaps this will be the logical evolution of the AnchorGuide from paper to e-charting.

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COYOTE LOST AT SEA: THE STORY OF MIKE PLANT, AMERICA’S DARING SOLO CIRCUMNAVIGATOR

BY JULIA PLANT (INTERNATIONAL MARINE/RAGGED MOUNTAIN PRESS; 2013; 256 PAGES; $25.00; $11.99 KINDLE; $13.99 NOOK)
REVIEW BY KIM ODE

When Mike Plant was 8, he learned to sail on Minnesota’s Lake Minnetonka. By 11, he’d designed and built his own boat. By 14, he was hiding bottles of bourbon. By 25, he was on the run for drug smuggling.

We learn this by way of Julia Plant, whose book about her older brother is, while no rose-colored memorial, still imbued with affection.

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THE CRASH TEST BOAT: HOW YACHTING MONTHLY TOOK A 40-FOOT YACHT THROUGH EIGHT DISASTER SCENARIOS

EDITED BY PAUL GELDER (ADLARD COLES NAUTICAL, 2013 — AVAILABLE SEPTEMBER 5, 176 PAGES; $29.95; $9.69 KINDLE, $9.49 NOOK)
REVIEW BY KAREN LARSON


A few readers in the U.S. and Canada read Yachting Monthly magazine, which is published in the United Kingdom. But if you missed their eight-month-long Crash Test Boat series last year, you will want to read the book about it. Yachting Monthly is my favorite British publication and I was alternately fascinated by the subject matter and in awe of those who made it happen.

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THE SINKING OF THE BOUNTY

BY MATTHEW SHAER (“THE ATAVIST,” ISSUE NO. 22, FEBRUARY 2013, $1.99. AVAILABLE AT ATAVIST.COM VIA THE ATAVIST IOS APP OR WEB READER; KINDLE, KOBO, NOOK AND IBOOKSTORE VERSIONS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE.)
REVIEW BY JAMES WILLIAMS

 

Journalist and writer Matthew Shaer offers a short but interesting and well-written account of the 2012 loss of the Bounty, a replica of the British vessel of the same name whose crew famously mutinied in 1789. In what is now considered a most controversial decision, Bounty’s veteran captain, Robin Walbridge, took Bounty to sea from New London, Connecticut, on October 25, just as Hurricane Sandy was drifting northward off the east coast of Florida. New London’s crowded port, thought Walbridge, would give Bounty no “sea room.” Therefore, adhering to the old adage “Always safer at sea than at anchor,” he sailed southeast to put Bounty windward of  the slow-moving Sandy, which he and his crew all assumed would be turning landward around North Carolina. Four days later, Bounty was at the bottom of the Atlantic, Walbridge and one crew member were dead, and the other fourteen were in Coast Guard helicopters on their way to Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

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CHANCE ALONG

BY CHRISTINA & KIRBY SALISBURY (BIAMA BOOKS, 2013, 311 PAGES; $15.95)
REVIEW BY CAROLYN CORBETT

 

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!

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A SWIM: THE RHODE ISLANDER WHO REFUSED TO DROWN

BY JOHN K. FULWEILER, JR. (FLOOD TIDE PRESS, 2013, 75 PAGES; $12.99 ON AMAZON.COM)
REVIEW BY TOM LOCHHAAS


This small book is the story of Joe, a Rhode Island fisherman who not long ago fell off his boat and treaded water and swam for 11 hours in the cold Atlantic before being rescued. No spoiler alert needed here: you know from the book’s cover what it’s about. It’s not written as a tale of suspense, which would have been unlikely anyway once you know it doesn’t end in a drowning.

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THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO SAILING & SEAMANSHIP

BY TWAIN BRADEN, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY SAM MANNING (SKYHORSE PUBLISHING, 2013, 189 PAGES; $16.95 ($9.99 KINDLE, $10.49 NOOK)
REVIEW BY BOB WOOD

This Complete Guide just might surprise the word-weary voyager. Described as “An illustrated guide for beginner and expert alike,” a cursory glance could relegate it to the shelf of innumerable other books on learning to sail. That would be a mistake.

Like a buffet of information, what the reader finds in this book . . . and what they take away . . . is directly related to what interests bring them to the table. This is truly an enjoyable feast of a read for every sailor of any skill level.

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MOONWIND AT LARGE: SAILING HITHER AND YON

BY CONSTANT WATERMAN, AKA MATTHEW GOLDMAN (BREAKAWAY BOOKS, 2012, 296 PAGES, $14.95)
REVIEW BY WAYNE GAGNON

 

During the off season I read to wile away the hours, days, weeks, and months until I can once again feel the deck moving under my feet, the spray on my face, and hear the wind and waves press against the boat. During the sailing season I read for motivation to pull away from the marina and head out for the horizon to see what’s on the other side. In MoonWind at Large: Sailing Hither and Yon, Constant Waterman has given me something for all seasons.

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YOU CAN DO IT; INSPIRATION & LESSONS FROM AN INVENTOR, ENTREPRENEUR, & SAILOR

BY STANLEY A. DASHEW AND JOSEPH S. KLUS (CONSTELLATION PRESS, 2010; 275 PAGES; $14.95)
REVIEW BY WAYNE GAGNON,

I recently opened my latest issue of Time and saw on their Milestones page that Stanley Dashew passed away at the age of 96. As a young man growing up during the Great Depression, Dashew started a number of small business endeavors, several of which were successful, and some that were not. As an adult he continued to explore business opportunities and, according to Time, ended up holding 40 patents. Perhaps his most visible invention was the machine that embosses those numbers we all have on our credit cards. In his 90s, Dashew wrote You Can Do It; Inspiration & Lessons from an Inventor, Entrepreneur, & Sailor to help motivate people to follow their dreams and pursuits with the same passion he did. And by adhering to his “you can do it” attitude, he tells us that the chances of success are still pretty high, in spite of our current political and economic climate.

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SAILING – PHILOSOPHY FOR EVERYONE: CATCHING THE DRIFT OF WHY WE SAIL

EDITED BY PATRICK GOOLD (WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2012; 216 PAGES; $19.95 ($10.93, KINDLE EDITION)
REVIEW BY JOHN BUTTE,

In Catching the Drift of Why We Sail, editor Patrick Goold has assembled a wide-ranging group of essays written by an impressive array of authors, from sailing-savvy academicians to racing and cruising sailors. While Goold attempts to group these fifteen essays under four headings with (to me) rather unapproachable titles (like the title of Part 1, “Passing through Pain And Fear In The Place Of Perpetual Undulation”), I found it more rewarding to read them indiscriminately as stand-alone reflections.

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UNSINKABLE: A YOUNG WOMAN’S COURAGEOUS BATTLE ON THE HIGH SEAS

BY ABBY SUNDERLAND AND LYNN VINCENT (THOMAS NELSON, INC., 2011; 221 PAGES; $22.99)
REVIEW BY SUSAN LYNN KINGSBURY

 

“I am not the same person who set sail from Marina del Rey on January 23, 2010…I have a different take on life than before. Alone with myself at sea for months, I learned who I am…” Abby Sunderland

Unsinkable is a story about a young woman coming of age. The obstacles 16-year-old Abby encounters at sea while attempting a solo sail around the world, are only part of the story. Before she has even begun her voyage, she and her parents find themselves having to convince the world that she is ready to embark upon such an adventure. Despite many naysayers and critics, sponsors, and a team of experts come together to form “Team Abby” — and her dream becomes real.

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A CALL TO ARMS

BY WILLIAM C. HAMMOND (NAVAL INSTITUTE PRESS, 2012; 256 PAGES; $29.95).
REVIEW BY KAREN LARSON


Novelist and historian William Hammond has been delighting readers of historical fiction since 2007, when the first volume of the Cutler Family Chronicles was published. A Matter of Honor was a big success and could rival Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series as one of the best naval historical tales of all time. As the series has moved along, key protagonist Richard Cutler has grown from young midshipman to captain and father of the next generation of Cutler seafarers.

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THE GREAT BOOK OF ANCHORAGES: HAMPTON ROADS AND NORFOLK TO THE FLORIDA KEYS

BY CHUCK BAIER AND SUSAN LANDRY (BEACH HOUSE PUBLICATIONS, 2012; 154 PAGES; $24)
REVIEW BY JAMES WILLIAMS, S/V ALIZEE

“Do we need another book of anchorages along the ICW?” I asked myself this question several times after receiving The Great Book of Anchorages, and the answer still evades me. On my trips along the ICW, from the Chesapeake to Key West, I’ve used The Intracoastal Waterway Chart Book; Jack Dozier’s Waterway Guides; Skipper Bob’s Anchorages Along the Intracoastal Waterway, which now is in its 17th edition and published by Dozier; Maptech charts and their cruising guides; as well as Navionics electronic charts and, more recently, ActiveCaptain online. Frankly, there is no shortage of guides, and it’s hard to keep track of them. It turns out that much of the time motoring along the ICW is spent reading charts and guides, all the while running the risk of missing the trip.

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CHILD OF THE SEA

BY DOINA CORNELL (CORNELL SAILING LTD., 2012; 224 PAGES; $19.95).
REVIEW BY CHAS. HAGUE

Jimmy Cornell Lived the Dream: While in England in 1974, he bought a bare hull, finished and outfitted it, then spent the next seven years sailing Aventura around the world.
This is not his story.

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WE WHO PASS LIKE FOAM

BY BENJAMIN ZARTMAN (AMAZON DIGITAL SERVICES, 2012; 707 KB; KINDLE EDITION, $9.99).
REVIEW BY JAJA MARTIN

In a world where the cruising boats seem to be getting larger, We Who Pass Like Foam by Ben Zartman is a welcome and refreshing insight into small boat cruising on a tight budget. With a minimal outpouring of cash, Ben and his wife, Danielle, use creativity and ingenuity to solve the myriad problems that beset them. Their combined endurance during difficult, uncomfortable passages strengthens their resolve to continue their adventure. When other cruisers tell them, “You’ll never be able to do that!” it increases their determination to succeed. 

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THE GALLEY SLAVE’S HANDBOOK: PROVISIONING AND COOKING FOR AN OCEAN CROSSING

BY RICHARD BEVAN (CHANGESTART PRESS, 2010; 136 PAGES; $9.95).
REVIEW BY SUSAN LYNN KINGSBURY, PORT 

Captain Charlie Tongue was looking for the “fresh perspective of a first-timer” when he asked Richard Bevan to take charge of the provisioning, manage the cooking, and write a blog while crewing onboard the Neroli of Fowey, a 1999 Hallberg Rassey 42. Bevan accepted the challenge to voyage from St Lucia to the Azores in May and June 2010 and shares all that he learned during that ocean crossing in The Galley Slave’s Handbook.

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TURTLES IN OUR WAKE

BY SANDRA CLAYTON (LONDON: ADLARD COLES NAUTICAL, 2012; 225 PAGES; $13.95)
REVIEW BY JAMES WILLIAMS

In 1998, Sandra and David Clayton decided to take early retirement in their fifties, buy a 40-foot catamaran and venture from the U.K. to the Mediterranean and beyond. Sandra kept a journal and wrote newsletters to friends tracing their travels from England via the coasts of France, Spain, and Portugal to the Mediterranean, all of which evolved into a well-received book entitled Dolphins Under My Bed (2008). After a year’s trial on their catamaran, Voyager, the Claytons decided to make permanent their life on the water.  Turtles in Our Wake (originally published in 2009 in the U.K. as Something of the Turtle), focuses on their second year, exploring the Mediterranean Sea and making their way to the Madiera Islands in preparation for crossing the Atlantic Ocean. 

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WORLD VOYAGE PLANNER

BY JIMMY CORNELL (CORNELL SAILING, LTD., DISTRIBUTED IN NORTH AMERICA BY PARADISE CAY PUBLICATIONS, 2012; 342 PAGES; $49.95.)
REVIEW BY BRIAN KOGER,

Buying, studying, and carrying this book on board should be mandatory for anyone contemplating a long-distance voyage on any of the world’s oceans. Jimmy Cornell definitely knows his stuff. Over the past few decades, he and his family have made numerous trips all over the world. Additionally, for this book he also asked almost 60 other highly-experienced cruisers for input and incorporated their knowledge into practical ideas for planning, preparation, and — perhaps most importantly — actually getting out there and sailing to those distant locations most of us just dream about.

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TEAM SPIRIT: LIFE AND LEADERSHIP ON ONE OF THE WORLD’S TOUGHEST YACHT RACES

BY BRENDAN HALL, FOREWORD BY SIR ROBIN KNOX-JOHNSTON (LONDON: ADLARD COLES NAUTICAL, 2012; 236 PAGES; $19.95)
REVIEW BY JAMES WILLIAMS

 

We all know that sailboat racing in any craft larger than a dingy is a team sport. The larger the boat, the greater number of crew and the more challenging the teamwork required to succeed. The first American recreational sailboat racing on New York Bay in the 1840s occurred on workboats called New York sloops. Twenty to 30-feet long with enormous rigs, they were ballasted with sandbags piled on the weather rail and took a crew of 10 to 15 to sail. Today, sailors aren’t hefting sandbags, but teamwork is still the foundation of successful racing.

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HARTS AT SEA — SAILING TO WINDWARD

BY BARBARA HART (HART ENTERPRISES, 2012; 246 PAGES; $12.99 PAPERBACK, $2.99 KINDLE EDITION)
REVIEW BY KAREN LARSON

 

When a very gregarious plugged-in woman agrees to go cruising with her husband for an indefinite period of time — alone, just the two of them on a sailboat — it must be all about love. In her book, Harts at Sea – Sailing to Windward, Barbara says she knew he was a Sailor (with a capital “S”) when she married Stewart:
“When he finally proposed to me after a game of darts in a Portland (Maine) bar, he qualified this already unromantic moment by stating, ‘Before you reply you need to know that someday I will have a sailboat and will sail around the world.'”

I cried. These were not tears of joy.

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MARITIME TALES OF LAKE ONTARIO

BY SUSAN PETERSON GATELEY (THE HISTORY PRESS, 2012; 128 PAGES; $19.99)
REVIEW BY CAROLYN CORBETT

Susan Peterson Gateley has written a jewel of a book for history buffs with maritime leanings. In the author’s words, Maritime Tales of Lake Ontario is a “collection of historic incidents and personalities who once worked on and by the waters of this Great Lake between 1728 and the present.” An abundance of pictures and illustrations accompany this well written and meticulously researched history of Lake Ontario, as Susan brings past ages to life.

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COST CONTROL WHILE YOU CRUISE

BY LIN AND LARRY PARDEY, EDITED AND PRODUCED BY TORY SALVIA <HTTP://WWW.LANDLPARDEY.COM> OR <HTTP://WWW.THESAILINGCHANNEL.COM>), 65 MINUTES PLUS EXTRAS, $24.95 FOR DVD, $12.95 FOR DOWNLOAD
REVIEW BY KAREN LARSON

 

Lin and Larry Pardey’s newest video is another excellent production. These two have never done anything but top-notch books, videos, lecture series, presentations, and whatever else they decide to take on.

As the narrator, Lin explains that they cannot offer their very popular lectures everywhere in the country so they have decided to offer some of the highlights on video. The most frequently asked questions are consistently: How much does it cost to go cruising and how can we control those costs? Ergo, the theme of this video.

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SAILBOAT PROJECTS

BY CLARENCE JONES (WINNING NEWS MEDIA, 2012; E-BOOK; 93 PAGES; KINDLE AND NOOK EDITIONS: $2.99).
REVIEW BY KAREN LARSON

Clarence Jones has always been a sailor and do-it-yourselfer. He describes himself as a writer/mechanic/inventor/tinkerer. Your choice. His inventions have been installed in a MacGregor 21 and 25, a Precision 18 and 21 and, most recently, a Catalina 28. He’s written several articles for Good Old Boat and more are in the hopper.

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COMMANDER: THE LIFE AND EXPLOITS OF BRITAIN’S GREATEST FRIGATE CAPTAIN

BY STEPHEN TAYLOR (W.W. NORTON & COMPANY, 2012; 368 PAGES; RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 15, 2012; $28.95 (HARDCOVER); $15.37 KINDLE EDITION, AVAILABLE OCTOBER 8; NOOK EDITION AVAILABLE OCTOBER 15.
REVIEW BY KAREN LARSON

 

Every so often, when reading fiction accounts of the Age of Fighting Sail in the late 1700s and early 1800s, you’ll come across the name of Sir Edward Pellew. He was a contemporary of Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson and — as author Stephen Taylor has convinced me —an equally important British naval officer, albeit one who never achieved the same star status.

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Book Reviews From 2012

Reviews From 2012

February 2012 Newsletter

April 2012 Newsletter

June 2012 Newsletter

August 2012 Newsletter

October 2012 Newsletter

December 2012 Newsletter


Gone To The Sea: Selected Stories, Voyages, And Profiles

by Herb McCormick (Paradise Cay Publications, 2011; 313 pages; $16.95)
Review By Dan Spurr
Bozeman, Montana

Herb McCormick and I wrote our first books together, after hours, banging away at IBM Selectric typewriters on the second floor of the old Cruising World offices in downtown Newport, Rhode Island. He and then-editor George Day were working on Out There, a fine narrative describing the first BOC Challenge singlehanded round-the-world race. Herb wasn’t too many years out of Williams College, where he starred as wide receiver on the school football team. He was not all that fast running in a straight line, but he was quick, and had great hands. Think Fred Biletnikoff from John Madden’s Oakland Raiders teams. If you’re not old enough to remember those great teams of the ’60s and ’70s, Wes Welker will do for now — short routes, quick moves, great hands.

As for most people, writing did not come easily to Herb, but he’s a quick study, and it wasn’t long before he figured out the secrets to the feature form: organize your material into a beginning, middle, and end. And if you’re clever, you’ll settle on an angle at the beginning that grabs the reader, then reprise it at the end.

Why this exposition on the craft of non-fiction writing? Because a good story is all in the telling. A talented writer can make any subject interesting. Take Herb’s account of meeting Catalina Yachts’ founder Frank Butler. “Traffic is moving briskly on California’s famed Ventura Highway, flowing due west from Los Angeles, and Frank Butler is moving right along with it . . . When he sees a quick opening, he goes for it, and the needle on the speedometer tilts accordingly . . . 65, 70, 75. There’s only one problem, really. About three cars back, leaning on the gas in a whining, woeful, compact rental, someone is desperately trying to maintain contact, visual and otherwise, with the blazing T-bird.

“That someone would be me.”

Turns out Butler wasn’t leading Herb to the sailboat plant, but to the warehouse full of old cars he collects — a 1920 Dodge Phaeton, a 1940 ragtop Lincoln Continental, and lots of Thunderbirds.

Fast forward to the story’s end, where Butler bids Herb adieu. Speaking of his life, Frank says, “I do know one thing. It went very fast. When you enjoy things, they go fast. Real fast.”

To which Herb extends the automotive metaphor: “Well, yes. Fast. That’s the speed when you never take your foot off the pedal.”

The 28 stories in this engaging anthology are as varied as Herb’s travels around the globe. Meet “The (Not Quite) Mellow Dude,” Dennis Conner, who, on first meeting Herb, sees alarming parallels with TV mobster Tony Soprano; singlehander Mike Plant before his last voyage; Don Street; Ted Kennedy, and a crazy collection of other blokes. Herb knows that while we’re all in this game for the love of boats, it’s people who make the stories.

I tell you this in the hopes you’ll plunk down your hard-earned cash to buy this book. You’ll get change for your twenty. And I promise you short routes, quick moves, and great hands.

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Cruising Conversations With A Daring Duo

by Charles and Corinne Kanter (Sailco Press, 2011; 364 pages; $19.95)
Review by Chas. Hague
Des Plaines, Illinois

This book by Charles and Corinne Kanter, the daring duo of the title, is the ninth they have written about their lives (married 54 years!) spent mostly sailing in mostly catamarans, along the East Coast and the Bahamas. The book is a somewhat randomly thrown together collection of anecdotes, responses to questions asked at boat shows, sea stories, advice pieces, and other goodies.

The Kanters have survived hurricanes (four of them), overcome bureaucracies, made numerous boat-delivery trips, and traveled in the Caribbean islands—including Cuba. The longest vignette, “The 13th Trip,” is a yarn about taking their 32-foot catamaran, La Forza, up the Intracoastal Waterway with a gremlin named Murphy as stowaway.

They’ve met people such as the couple in Charleston, North Carolina, who, seeing them standing in the rain wearing foul-weather gear, casually invited them for coffee. On a different stay in the same gracious city, a smack upside the head by a jibing boom ends up at a shore-side BBQ. Then there are the three Bobs, and Tristan Jones . . .

Included with the yarns is a lot of practical advice, such as how to finance a liveaboard lifestyle (don’t sell the house, rent it out), how to anchor (“Where did all the other boats go?”), how to steer a course (“But it sails much better if we go this way!”), and how to get an engine fixed (“All the good mechanics are working for the smugglers”). The Kanters learned a lot in their 100,000 miles of sailing, and the lessons are given clearly and with humor. Several of the pieces are illustrated with cute cartoons by Joe O’Brien.

Reading this book is like sitting in the cockpit with two experienced sailors, listening to their adventures and learning about how to avoid their mistakes— a good, light, informative read.

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Here We Are: The History, Meaning And Magic Of GPS

by Jim Carrier
(New Word City, Inc., 2011; 29 pages–eBook; $2.99)
Review by James Williams
St. Petersburg, Florida

In his electronic book, Here We Are, Jim Carrier, author of several books including the well-received The Ship and the Storm about the 1998 loss of Windjammer Cruises’ 282-foot schooner Fantome to Hurricane Mitch, briefly recounts the history of the Navstar Global Positioning System, simply known today as GPS.

Appropriate to the electronic technology he describes, Carrier’s work is available only as an eBook and makes use of numerous links to online information. His links act in some ways as valuable footnotes, which should be the point of links in eBooks and online essays; however, I found that links to commonplace names such as “Columbus,” “sextant,” “Cold War,” and “Soviet Union” distracted my reading.

The Soviet launching of Sputnik in 1957 marked the beginning of GPS technology and a worldwide revolution in navigation. Scientists at Johns Hopkins University employed the Doppler effect to track Sputnik and then reversed the concept and used known satellite orbits to locate their position. The Navy quickly saw the value of this for its nuclear submarine fleet and contracted with Johns Hopkins to build Doppler-tone satellites. In 1959, the Transit system, precursor to today’s GPS, was launched, and within a few years the military developed atomic-clock-based satellite navigation systems. “By 1972,” writes Carrier, “there were, by one estimate, 47 different U.S. military navigation satellites in orbit or on the drawing boards.”

Inter-service bickering threatened to kill space-based navigation development, but during a short tenure as Deputy Secretary of Defense (1969-1971), David Packard, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard, created a joint program office in the Department of Defense to end the inter-service dissension. In 1973, Air Force Colonel Bradford Parkinson was appointed to head the office, and he is credited with saving space-based navigation and choosing the best technology from the top three contenders. It was named Navstar and, in 1978, the first satellite of the new system was launched.

GPS backers struggled to compete with military brass wanting funding for weapons during the Carter years, but eventually the Air Force adopted and funded GPS because of its efficacy in putting bombs on target. In 1983, the downing of Korean Air Line flight 007 by Soviet war planes prompted President Reagan to offer GPS to the world’s airlines and the launching of additional satellites began in earnest in 1989, just in time for the first Gulf War to prove beyond doubt GPS’s military value.

Meanwhile, entrepreneurs tapped into GPS. Charlie Trimble founded Trimble, Inc., in 1978, which became the leader in developing products harnessing GPS to commercial and consumer uses as well as to military use. In 1989, Garmin opened its first offices in Lenexa, Kansas, and a year later introduced the first marine GPS, a panel-mounted unit priced at $2,500 that generated 5,000 orders at that year’s International Marine Technology Exposition in Chicago.

In 1994, the U.S. government officially declared that the GPS system was fully operational. Already, GPS receiver prices were falling, and its use was becoming commonplace. Carrier concludes his brief history with a look at the current operation of GPS and an array of examples of how GPS has impacted society.

While sailors may wish that Here We Are devoted more space to GPS in the maritime world, Carrier makes clear that GPS revolutionized marine navigation. I am sure he would agree with Tim Bartlett of Sail Magazine that, with GPS, “for the first time in history, ordinary sailors could quickly, easily, reliably, and affordably fix their position at the push of a button, no matter what the conditions.” And, perhaps the history of GPS in sailing is for another book to explore.

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The Sailor’s Book Of Small Cruising Sailboats:
Reviews And Comparisons Of 360 Boats Under 26 Feet

by Steve Henkel (International Marine/McGraw Hill, 2010; 412 Pages; $29.95)
Review By Paul Maravelas
Mayer, Minnesota

Steve Henkel collected information for decades before compiling this fascinating compendium on fiberglass cruising sailboats sold in the U.S. Nearly all of the boats get a full page, with roughly half of each page devoted to plans. The 8½ x-11 inch format is large enough to make the plans accessible, and Henkel shows us a sail plan, a full hull profile from abeam, and an interior plan for each boat. Each review includes Henkel’s own opinion of the boat’s best and worst features, and data for several comparable boats. The book is organized in six sections, according to boat length, so comparison is easy. Henkel uses length on deck to categorize the boats.

An unusual amount of data is included. In addition to the typical data, Henkel gives the boat’s designer, the most prominent manufacturer, years of production, sail area, tank capacities, bridge clearance, PHRF rating, hull speed, and headroom. He developed a “space index” that estimates the total cabin space, and gives ratings for motion underway based on Ted Brewer’s comfort ratio. In some cases, Henkel has measured from the manufacturer’s drawings to supply or correct information. An introductory chapter does a fine job of discussing the measurements and their meaning.

Henkel, one of the founders of the short-lived Sailor magazine, has been writing about sailing since 1971 and has owned 23 different boats. In this book he includes lists of boats that he thinks are particularly well suited for various kinds of sailing. There is an informative chapter discussing boat character and the pros and cons of various features (tiller vs. wheel, outboard vs. inboard, full keel vs. fin, etc.). Oddly, this information follows the reviews, though it seems better suited for a place at the beginning.

This book would be improved if Henkel’s generalizations were pulled from individual reviews and blended into the chapter on boat character. The 76 photos at the back of the book seem to be an afterthought, with no indication in the corresponding boat reviews that a photo is included. Regrettably, some of the drawings, apparently taken from the marketing materials of the manufacturers, are not clear enough so that all of the notes can be read or the details discerned. In a perfect world, the drawings would have been redone and sometimes simplified for clarity.

In general, however, the book is a rich addition to the literature. It’s absorbing simply to read the reviews and contemplate the unfolding design trends in cruising boats. Only sixty years have elapsed since fiberglass boats were introduced, but the evolution of hull design — including changes in keel and rudder shapes — has been significant. Sail plans, to a lesser extent, have also changed. Henkel’s work shows that, despite trends, a few makers have continued to sell slower but more sea-kindly hull designs, as well as interesting alternatives to sloop and cutter rigs. The design of the Cape Cod Marlin, for example, a 23-foot full-keeled sloop, reaches back to Nathanael Herreshoff, who died in 1938. The boat’s lines and sail plan were revised by Herreshoff’s son, Sidney, and when introduced in 1957, the Marlin was one of the first fiberglass boats to appear on the market. Interestingly, it is still being made by Cape Cod Shipbuilding.

Henkel has completed another volume, covering cruising boats 26- to 31-feet in length, which International Marine hopes to publish in the future.

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Lesson Plans Ahoy! Hands-on Learning for Sailing Children
and Home Schooling Sailors

by Nadine Slavinski (Slavinski-Schweitzer Press, 2nd Edition, 2011; $26.95; 267 pages)
Review by Carolyn Corbett
Lake Shore, Minnesota

Lesson Plans Ahoy! is an excellent educational guide for cruising families. Author Nadine Slavinski is a teacher, a parent, and a sailor, and has capitalized on her knowledge in each of those roles in this fine book. She has a master’s degree in education, has taught in international schools for 15 years, and took a year-long sailing sabbatical with her husband and 4-year-old son.

The book opens with “How To’s of Home Schooling on a Boat,” which encompasses information on choosing an approach — a balanced look at the pros and cons of both packaged home-schooling programs and self-designed home schooling. Slavinski’s book is an effective component for either end of the spectrum. She goes on to offer general strategies for home schooling aboard a boat and structuring the curriculum, from creating an overall educational plan for the cruise all the way down to daily lesson plans.

Units include:

  1. Earth & Space Science
  2. Biology: Fish Dissection
  3. Chemistry
  4. Mathematics: Data Management
  5. Mathematics: Measurement
  6. Writing
  7. History: The Voyages of Christopher Columbus
  8. History: The Voyages of Captain Cook
  9. Navigation with Map & Compass
  10. Physical Education: Heart Rate & Exercise

Each of these 10 units of study is directly related to life aboard a cruising boat and all are accompanied by suggestions for enrichment activities, cross-curricular links to other subject areas, and resources, including books and educational web sites. Each unit can be condensed to be covered in just a few lessons or expanded for in-depth study. “The idea is not to strictly follow the text,” the author says, “but rather to use it as a guide for student-driven inquiry.”
Slavinski has provided directions for differentiating the lessons that allow parents to modify the material for the individual child, as well as to easily adapt the lessons to children ranging in age from 4 to 12 years old. It’s amazing!

It is difficult to convey in a short review how applicable the lessons are to life aboard a boat. For example, the section dryly labeled “Mathematics: Data Collection” is actually about graphing water consumption on board, though it can be modified to cover fuel consumption, the nationalities of boats in the anchorage, or most anything on which the family chooses to practice simple to complex graphing. “Earth & Space Science” covers the lunar cycles, eclipses, time zones and the moon and tides. The history units on Captain Cook and Christopher Columbus are divided into subsections that cover a variety of curricular areas taking a sailor’s point of view and emphasizing that history can be seen through different perspectives. Navigation covers map reading, topography, taking fixes, compass exercises, and dead reckoning. Yup, all of this adaptable even for 4- and 5-year-olds.

Appendix A demonstrates how the units can be divided into manageable daily lessons of 45 to 60 minutes each. In order to help parents identify how each of the 10 units related to schoolwork back ashore, Appendix C offers a comprehensive cross-reference for science, math, and writing units with the national or state curricula from four different countries. This covers the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom for grade levels from early childhood through grade seven and helps families to recognize expectations in their land-bound schools.

There’s a whole lot more packed in this 267-page book, and I strongly recommend all “boat schooling” families check out this valuable resource!

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Outfitting the Offshore Cruising Sailboat:
Refitting Used Sailboats for Blue-Water Voyaging

by Peter I. Berman (Paradise Cay Publications, 2012; $19.95; 256 pages)
Review by Karen Larson
Minneapolis, Minnesota

The subtitle, Refitting Used Sailboats for Blue-Water Voyaging, of Peter Berman’s new book, Outfitting the Offshore Cruising Sailboat, tells why it’s an important new reference for good old boaters. Peter’s basic premise is that new offshore cruising sailboats are prohibitively expensive and somewhat uncommon, while the market in used cruising sailboats is rich and vast and flourishing. There’s something there for everyone.

His 45-year experience as a cruiser in nearly a dozen different designs (CCA through modern racing designs) is enlightening. While Peter has formed strong opinions about many features, he does not recommend one design type over another. He knows, perhaps better than most, that every sailboat is a compromise and that priorities and budgets will vary from sailor to sailor.

What he offers is a series of observations and a logical review of onboard systems that will help any prospective offshore cruiser consider the pros and cons of each system, feature, and sailboat type. In the end, the reader of Outfitting the Offshore Cruising Sailboat will be able to determine which features are personally important and which have a lower priority.

I chuckled occasionally at Peter’s dry wit but found that I didn’t agree with every word of his sage advice. I’m just one sailor, after all, with one set of values and preferences, but I was surprised, for example, to note that Peter overlooked the value of freshwater sailboats, as they apparently do not figure in the experience of this East Coast (and beyond) sailor.

Peter starts his discussion of good used boats by ranking the most expensive systems: the rig, the engine, and the ground tackle. As these are the most expensive items to replace, he gives each system a thorough and thoughtful critique based on his experiences as a cruiser. There are many nuggets here for every would-be cruiser. In particular, he includes good tips about good and bad construction features in the rig, bearing in mind intended use for coastal vs. offshore work. This section clearly spells out features to look for if you will be cruising offshore.

Over all, Peter offers great advice about buying a good old cruising sailboat and how to refit it for several more decades of offshore cruising adventures. Like the rest of us, Peter has conflicts about the best possible cruising sailboat. After saying that larger is always better, that system redundancy is critically important, and that you should replace practically everything before going offshore, Peter admits that his first cruiser was probably his favorite. A primitively equipped wooden Dickerson, this boat cost only $16,000, had fewer systems to maintain, and was his most affordable cruiser. After telling readers they should probably invest the purchase price of the boat in the refit, and to replace all the important and expensive systems, he reminds us that the first priority is to “just go.” Time is the enemy, he says, so don’t spend your life in “endless outfitting.”

In the end, as in all things, it’s up to the reader to make his own choices based on his own list of priorities. But Peter offers great advice that may help each reader rank his own list of priorities and consider some systems and construction methods that he may not have thought about.

If you’re still searching for your offshore sailboat and juggling the hundreds of variables, Peter Berman — a guy who’s been there and done that — has some very useful advice for you.

Read this book. Then go get the boat, get to work on the refit, and get going . . . now —while you can.

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Reeds Knot Handbook: a Pocket Guide to Knots, Hitches and Bends

by Jim Whippy (Paradise Cay Publications, 2011; $9.95; 128 pages)
Review by Wayne Gagnon
Antigo, Wisconsin

As a kid I was kind of a klutz. In fact, I can still hear my buddy Chuck calling out to me from second after yet another strikeout, “Wayne, I’ve never seen anyone as uncoordinated as you!” Almost 50 years later, I still have to laugh at Chuck’s honesty. When I was a Boy Scout we had to learn some basic knots, and that same lack of hand-eye coordination haunted me there too. I managed to learn a few and I was amazed to find that, after many years, I could still tie a bowline and whip the end of a rope. So when I was asked to review Reeds Knot Handbook I thought it was nothing less than karma.

Reeds Knot Handbook is a pocket-size, easy-to-use, color-coded guide to tying almost 60 different knots. There’s a two-page introduction to the terminology of knot tying that explains the difference between the working end, the bight, the standing part, and the end of a rope, and a very brief explanation of the different materials used in various types of ropes. The book is divided into six categories of knots: overhand knots and hitches, figure-of-eight knots, bowlines and bends, crossing knots, wrap-and-tuck knots, and “Other Useful Knots.” There’s a brief description of the application of each knot, a color illustration of each step in the tying process, and a color picture of the finished product. If more than one rope is involved, each one is a different color to help the reader keep them separate.

Having a resource liked Reeds Knot Handbook is certainly handy, but the only way to learn a new skill is to simply do it. With that in mind, I grabbed an old length of clothesline, opened the book to page 50, and attempted a bowline on a bight. The next thing I knew it was abracadabra, zippity-do-dah, yadda-yadda-yadda, and I had done it. Well, not the first time, but with my lack of hand-eye coordination I was pleased with the results and, with practice, I’m sure it will get easier. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use guide to knots that are useful and, in some cases, just plain cool, Reeds Knot Handbook will work quite nicely for you, and it won’t take up a lot of space on a bookshelf or on a boat.

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The Limbus of the Moon

by Bill Mego (<www.billmego.com>, 2011; $24.95; 360 pages)
Review by Chas. Hague
Des Plaines, Ilinois

The Limbus of the Moon is a novel in the mold of a Dan Brown thriller, or at least it tries to be. Viator venenatus is a sea urchin, very rare, incredibly valuable, and possibly the source of life-saving drugs. A mysterious eccentric thinks he can breed them in captivity. He’s persuaded a rich Chinese shipping magnate with ties to Asian criminal organizations to fund an expedition to locate this possibly extinct animal.

Recruited into this expedition are Robert McLaren, researcher, teacher, mentor, and man of action: seeing an airplane a half mile out on final approach, he immediately starts running to the spot on the runway where the wreckage eventually comes to rest.* On that airplane is Jessica Meyer, a State Department facilitator who is supposed to help this project run smoothly. Other characters involved are Gus Kolar, reef expert and captain of the Hina Ko’a, and his assistant Andreas Hook. There are also glamorous island residents, pirates, and operatives for different organizations who may or may not be on the same side as the explorers. Nobody is quite who they first appear to be.

The story runs to several exotic locales, such as mysterious islands and the reefs of the East coast of the Caribbean. Even so, it’s about as exciting as a business trip to Vancouver, with occasional instances of violence thrown in. The sailing doesn’t begin until 200 pages into the book, and then it’s on a big catamaran with every luxury, including solar-electric motors and an Artificial Intelligence computer. There is a climactic pursuit that ends at a well-known nautical landmark, followed by a series of coincidences as the author wraps up all the plotlines.

The book needs better descriptions of the people and locations, and more excitement in the plotting. There is one great laugh-out-loud scene based on a foreign intelligence chief’s idea of how to not be noticed in Chicago. Mego has a wonderful ear for dialogue, but the book is like sailing a big catamaran on calm seas — pleasant enough, but not as exciting as tearing along on your beam ends.

*This reviewer is grateful to the author for reinstating Meigs Field, which is more than the current mayor of Chicago has done.

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Safer Offshore; Crisis Management and Emergency Repairs at Sea

by Ed Mapes (Paradise Cay Publications, Inc., 2010; 300 pages; $19.95)
Review by Wayne Gagnon
Antigo, Wisconsin

There’s an old adage among pilots: “Those who have and those who will,” meaning that sooner or later, every pilot will come close to landing an airplane without extending the landing gear. Similarly, when it comes to spending time on boats, be it offshore passagemaking, fishing, or day sailing, eventually we’re all going to have some sort of emergency. Safer Offshore: Crisis Management and Emergency Repairs at Sea, by Ed Mapes, is another in a long list of books that deal with on-the-water emergencies. It’s quite evident early on that Mapes knows what he’s talking about and his 30-plus years of experience are clearly visible. His easy-to-read style makes this a very user-friendly book.

There are 14 chapters that cover subjects ranging from communications, helicopter evacuation, abandoning ship, fires, running aground, towing, and many others. At the end of the book there’s an appendix with lists of what every offshore vessel should carry to repair engines, sails, rigging, electrical systems, plumbing, etc. These aren’t just random lists of “stuff,” but items that Mapes has found, again from his experience, to be vital to ensure a smooth passage if (when) things go wrong.

This past summer, while out for a daysail, I was caught by a storm about two miles offshore. I knew Tortuga, my 26-foot Westerly Centaur, could handle the conditions, but there was a small fishing boat with two adults and two small kids that had run out of gas and was in dire straits. Having never towed anyone with my boat, I felt uncomfortable taking on the task at that point so I flagged down a powerboat and they towed in the unfortunate party. Everyone involved survived, none the worse for wear. I was asked to review Safer Offshore shortly after the experience, and the first thing I did was read the section on towing. I hope I’m never put in that situation again, but if I am, I’ll feel more comfortable and I’ll have the confidence to take on the task. Safer Offshore; Crisis Management and Emergency Repairs at Sea would be a valuable tool to keep on your boat or on your bookshelf for review in the off-season.

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The Latest News from Purgatory Cove

as told to Paul Esterle by Paul Esterle (Lulu, 171 pages; 2012; $15.95)
Review by Carolyn Corbett
Lake Shore, Minnesota

The Latest News from Purgatory Cove is a collection of 40 two- to three-page-long “letters” from the fictional Purgatory Cove Fish Dock & Marina. Readers familiar with Garrison Keillor might find the format of these fictional accounts reminiscent of “The News from Lake Wobegon.” Each is bracketed with a beginning of “Well, it’s been a slow week here in Purgatory Cove,” and an ending of “Other than that, it’s been a slow week here in Purgatory Cove.” In-between, Sam, Wade, and Lefty sail from one debacle to another. A few visitors manage to find the marina, but the threesome, along with Sam’s momma, soon drive them off. And that’s the way Sam likes it.

“Lookin’ for a good place to keep your boat? A place with lots of amenities, skilled staff, and great service? Well,” says the book cover, “keep on lookin’ ’cause we do things our own way here at the Purgatory Cove Fish Dock & Marina.”

Purgatory Cove and its cast of characters — in the truest sense of the word — came to life in the editorial offices of Nor’Easter Magazine. The art folks were working on an ad for a marina where all the “nice” people went, and the saccharin-like content led them to question where all the “not nice” people went. Bastard Cove, they wondered?  They couldn’t use that in the magazine, of course, so the Purgatory Cove Fish Dock & Marina was born. The column enjoyed a brief run in Nor’Easter. After it was pulled, Paul Esterle continued writing new “letters” from the guys at the fictional marina. He’s had them in print in a variety of venues and runs them as a regular feature on his radio show, “Capt’n Pauley’s Place.”

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Caly’s Island

by Dick Herman (AuthorHouse, 240 pages; 2011; $14.99 paper; $2.99 Kindle and Nook)
Review by Chas. Hague
Des Plaines, Illinois

The Freakin’ Old Guys (FOGs for short, and that first word isn’t the one they use) are a group of older sailors doing a messabout in the San Juan Islands. There is Gibson Stanford, known as Gib, retired judge; Rufus Gunnermeyer, a blacksmith; Peter L. Lacy, the group’s lawyer and ladies’ man; Zack Hilber, spatially challenged former CIA operative; Hornsby Blair, known as “H” or “The Admiral,” the de facto leader of the group; and Steve Latrans, a man with secrets. A last-minute addition is Sean Homes, a punk teenager in perpetual trouble. The group decides he would benefit from spending time with “real men” in a challenging environment. It sounds hokey, but the scene where the men meet to discuss the young man’s future comes off powerfully—this is what men do (or should).

Soon after setting out, the group of sailors is beset by weather, mysterious cell-phone calls, the Russian mob, the Ukrainian mob — then things get really weird. I do not want give away too much of this great story, but the sailors end up far away from their cruising ground in both distance and time.

The biggest drawback of the book is that too much is going on, most of it at the same time, and it gets difficult to follow. But there is a lot of sailing in the story, and the descriptions of handling the small boats, including navigation, sail handling, and heavy weather, is dead on. The characters of the FOGs are a pretty accurate description of older sailors. (I’m a bit FOGgy myself.) The 14- to 18-foot sailboats belonging to the members of the group are characters in themselves. The action sequences, ashore or afloat, are exciting. And the wrap-up is, within the context of this unbelievable story, believable.

This is one you will have trouble putting down.

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The Shipkiller

by Justin Scott (Pegasus Books, release date June 8, 2012; 432 pages; $25.95 U.S. / $30.00 Canada)
Review by Wayne Gagnon
Antigo, Wisconsin

In the mid-1970s the world changed forever as we, the general public, were made aware of just how fragile our way of life is during the first oil shortage. Those of us who are old enough can remember when lines formed at gas stations around the country, and although we had never heard of OPEC, it soon became a household name. It was against this backdrop that Justin Scott wrote The Shipkiller, which has just been put back into print in a 35th anniversary edition. This is a modern-day David and Goliath story, with Peter Hardin as David. Goliath is the 1,800-foot Ultra-large Crude Carrier (ULCC) Leviathan that runs down Peter’s 40-foot ketch, Siren, during a squall in the North Atlantic without even noticing. Carolyn, Peter’s wife, is killed but somehow Peter survives and, after reaching several dead ends in his attempts to bring those responsible to justice, he takes matters into his own hands. The story takes us sailing from the North Atlantic to the Persian Gulf, with a few side trips into political intrigue, military corruption, and a little romance, though not enough of the latter to diminish the story.

The story has some built-in credibility. When The Shipkiller was written in 1977, economically transporting huge volumes of crude oil halfway around the world led to the development of the ULCC and many people wondered how big these things were going to get. Although an 1,800-foot ship has never materialized, in 1979, shortly after The Shipkiller, the Seawise Giant was launched. At 1,504 feet, she’s the largest ship that has ever been built. She was sold several times and spent her final years as the Knock Nevis, a permanently moored storage tanker, before being scrapped in 2010. Today, the largest ULCCs are over 1,300 feet long or almost three-fourths the size of Scott’s Leviathan, which is still plenty big — over four football fields big!

In the early 1980s I was bitten by the sailing bug, but I knew it would be a long time before I’d be in a position to buy a boat of my own. To scratch that itch, I read everything I could get my hands on that had to do with sailing and I remember The Shipkiller as one of my favorites. For the past few years I’ve had my eye out for it in the hopes that I would be able to read it again so, naturally, when I was asked to review the 35th anniversary edition I jumped at the chance. And I wasn’t disappointed. The Shipkiller has held up very well over the years and, given the fact that the world still faces an oil crisis, it’s just as timely today as it was in 1977.

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Shrader Marks: Keelhouse

by Rob Smith (Drinian Press, 2012; 440 pages; $15.95, $4.99 Kindle)

Review by Karen Larson
Minneapolis, Minnesota

With two novels now wrapped inside one big cover, Rob Smith makes a gigantic statement in the fascinating game of “What If?” The scenario in his two Shrader Marks books, Night Voices and Keelhouse, now packaged together as Keelhouse, is riveting. What if a very large meteor struck the Earth, say, in Antarctica? What if that very large impact caused shifting of the fragile tectonic plates in the Pacific Rim? What if those shifts resulted in heavy volcanic activity, earthquakes, and tsunamis? What if the Antarctic ice melted as a result and the seas rose, not a few feet, but hundreds of feet? What would life on Earth be like then?

Rob focuses on a few Lake Ontario sailors — people on the dock only minimally acquainted with each other — who, to greater or lesser degrees, become fearful of the impending crisis and escape together in a flotilla of eight sailboats as the waters rise, the volcanic dust causes a new ice age, and survival becomes difficult. This small group eventually melds into a fairly efficient community living isolated somewhere in the Canadian Maritime Provinces.

The adventures of their escape as the world collapses around them create the first book, while a look at the community they have created during five years in exile provides subject material aplenty for the second as the Earth begins to warm and heal once more. There are bad guys, of course, and good guys. There are love stories, too, as the members of the community learn to respect and appreciate people they never would have selected in the world of the past and yet form bonds perhaps more meaningful than marriage. And there is quite a bit of sailing in this book as the sailors make their way from Lake Ontario and out the St. Lawrence Seaway toward their new lives.

As the protagonist, Shrader Marks discovers in himself a few skills that come in handy. He has the gift of the shaman and, as such, is able to communicate with some animals, primarily killer whales. It is from them that Shrader learns much about life beyond the sailors’ fragile Keelhouse settlement and is able to sense fragments of future events as well.

Obviously a sailor, Rob Smith shares his enthusiasm for our favorite activity in his books. He lives, writes, and sails on Ohio’s north coast. With at least eight books to his credit, Rob is not a new author. His Shrader Marks books are good examples of the depth of his creativity and insight into a future not one of us hopes to experience. His books are available on Amazon. His other fictional series, featuring a protagonist named McGowan, might also be a fun discovery.

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World Cruising Destinations

by Jimmy Cornell (International Marine/McGraw-Hill, 2010; 432 pages; $49.95)
Review by Susan Lynn Kingsbury
Port Ludlow, Washington

… I realized with a pang of joy that in spite of all that has changed in the world … that a boat can still take you to places that have remained virtually untouched.
– Jimmy Cornell

Jimmy Cornell’s World Cruising Destinations is a valuable in-depth reference book written by an extremely knowledgeable and passionate sailor. Intent on providing readers the most pertinent information available, he succeeds in delivering a multitude of data in an organized volume, making it easy for cruisers, and those planning or even dreaming of sailing to the world’s cruising destinations, to plan their cruise, choose a destination, and begin preparing for the adventure.

Twelve main sections cover all the countries or groups of islands visited by cruisers, no matter what the frequency of those visits. Using charts, maps, beautiful color photos, and detailed documentation, Jimmy covers:

  • Mediterranean and Black Sea
  • Northern Europe
  • Western Europe and North Atlantic Islands
  • West Africa and South Atlantic Islands
  • The Caribbean
  • North and Central America
  • South America
  • North Pacific Islands
  • South Pacific
  • South East and East Asia
  • North Indian Ocean and Red Sea
  • South Indian Ocean

Most readers will find it beneficial to first read the section titled “About This Book.” In this section the author gives readers the blueprint to understanding what is covered in each subsequent section of the book. Included are:

  • Country profile — history, government, population
  • Climate — including storm season charts
  • Ports of entry — all official ports of entry are listed
  • Formalities — documents required, visas, cruising permits, arrival and departure procedures
  • Facilities — general information
  • Charters — types available
  • Cruising guides — as of publication date
  • Websites — List general information
  • Useful Information — emergency information for the local area
  • Flag etiquette — Q flag and courtesy flag
  • Environmental protection — tips relative to each area, regarding avoiding destruction of the environment
  • The right attitude — it’s all about respect
  • Safety and piracy — monitor and awareness of areas known for piracy
  • Cruising rallies — offer choice of sailing in a group

As readers turn from one location section to another, they will find all the information is formatted in the same manner, which simplifies navigating this 432-page book and makes comparisons between countries and regions an uncomplicated task.

“Health Precautions Worldwide” is another section packed with useful information for any cruiser planning to sail in foreign waters. Readers will find information on diseases and vaccinations, the sun (strength and sunburn risk), and how to find out more up-to-date health information on the Internet.

An extensive listing of cruising guides available for most areas is included as well. This isn’t a surprise as Jimmy Cornell seems to think of everything in this well-written and compiled World Cruising Destinations guide, in which he covers every location from A to Z, and everything in between.

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Across Islands and Oceans: A Journey Alone Around the World
by Sail and by Foot

by James Baldwin; 2012 Atom Voyages.com; 370 pages
($9.95 paperback; https://www.createspace.com/3786486;
$1.99 eBook for Kindle; http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00738SYEG)

Review by Karen Larson
Minneapolis, Minnesota

James Baldwin needs no introduction to most sailors. He’s the guy who went twice around in a modified Pearson Triton and now makes wonderful modifications to other people’s boats from a home base in Brunswick, Georgia. When we’re lucky, he writes about those refits for the readers of Good Old Boat.

How did a 20-something with a mechanical aptitude and very limited funds decide to go off on a major voyage on a Triton? In Across Islands and Oceans, his new book written 25 years after the fact, James reflects on his early upbringing and the steps that led to the adventure of a lifetime, one that was soon followed by a second circumnavigation that may very well be the subject of a second book.

In looking back at his logs and photos, James brings the wisdom of maturity and the knowledge of how it all turned out in the end to the telling of a tale about the robust energy and spontaneity of his youth. It’s a very useful perspective and gives the book a special kind of depth. Every so often he drops in a pithy philosophical nugget, one of those quotable quotes that will endure. For example: “Looking back now I see that, in time, we become more learned and less wise.” Or: “You can talk about doing a thing until everyone finally talks you out of it or you can actually do the thing” (in this case, going off on a great grand adventure in a 28-foot Triton).

James was no ordinary young guy. (Are those who venture forth ever ordinary? Or is it their adventure itself that raises them from the ordinary?) Now, in retrospect, he ponders briefy about what motivated him and concludes that the sailor with the greatest influence might have been Jean Gau and his book To Challenge a Distant Sea. Certainly, James named his Triton Atom, just like Gau’s 29-foot Tahiti Ketch.

From that entry point, however, James’ voyage diverged from that of Jean Gau. As he went along, James discovered a side of himself he had not yet known. He realized early that he should try to meet the people who inhabited the islands he visited, rather than socializing exclusively with fellow cruisers. That led him to walking around an island and meeting many local people along the way. Soon he began climbing each island’s highest mountain and really getting to know members of inland tribes and isolated communities. He occasionally was invited to stay with local families, often ate with them, and sometimes they cured him of illnesses beyond his own abilities to mend.

His first circumnavigation took only two years, primarily because James realized that, for a sailor with no money, life on land was too expensive in customs duties, occasional marina bills, and shopping sprees. So he crossed the Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Atlantic in great long leaps, which unfortunately left much out.

It can be said that, due to financial constraints, James did not take time to smell the roses on this voyage. However, it can also be argued that each time he did make a stop, he explored the area more extensively and met more local people than most cruisers do.

His tales of the hikes and the people are as fascinating as the stories of his voyages and times at sea. This book is a wonderful addition to anyone’s cruising bookshelf and likely to become a classic someday. We liked it so much that it’s on our list to be produced as an audiobook. So if you’re not a reader, there’s hope. We’ll soon read it to you!
I hope James will have enough success with this first book to decide to write the next . . . his book about the second circumnavigation aboard Atom that soon followed.

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Going Full Circle: A 1,555-mile Walk
Around the World’s Largest Lake

by Mike and Kate Crowley (Lake Superior Port Cities, Inc.; 304 pages; $18.95)
Review by Carolyn Corbett
Lake Shore, Minnesota

Mike Link and Kate Crowley took a 1,555 mile walk two years ago. Around Lake Superior. For 5 months. As close to the shore as possible the entire way. Why? To explore, to meet people, to gather environmental information, and to call attention to the needs of, and the concerns for, the lake. In their book, as was the case in the interviews and presentations they gave throughout their walk, their message about fresh water and Lake Superior, their concern for the future, is delivered in the context of a story, the story of a walk around a lake. A big part of the story is the sharing of the stories of people they met.

The idea started out as a whim, but the journey became a passion for the 60+-year-old couple. Link was retiring after nearly 40 years with the Audubon Center of the North Woods. “Think of it,” they say, “as lassoing a dream and creating the perfect summation for your career and life.” The purpose of their adventure? To learn, to teach, to research, to observe, and to record.

Why Lake Superior? For one thing, it holds 10 percent of all the fresh water on the surface of the earth and preserving that heritage is crucial to them as naturalists. Along the way, the authors set an example for their grandchildren and generations to come — an important intention for them. They also surveyed 570 people, monitored their dietary and health status, and videotaped folks sharing their feelings and concerns about the Big Lake. They took 300 point samples, one roughly every 3 miles of shoreline, gathering GPS waypoints, taking photographs in the four cardinal directions, and writing field notes to compile data they shared with a number of academic institutions.

Photographs abound in this engaging story that is part personal journal, part investigative journalism.

The website for Full Circle can be found at: http://www.fullcirclesuperior.org.

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The Angel Island Conspiracy

by Robert Banks Hull, (iUniverse, Inc., 2010; 119 pages; $11.95 on Amazon.com and BN.com)
Review by Susan Lynn Kingsbury
Port Ludlow, Washington

Told in the first person, The Angel Island Conspiracy is an action/thriller/mystery that reads like a true-life story. Author Robert Banks Hull sets his story on Angel Island, a real tourist destination off the Pacific coast of San Francisco. Hull uses his knowledge of the island, San Francisco, and the surrounding waters to create a vivid and believable backdrop for his tale.

Travis Blake lives aboard Lolita, his 50-foot motorsailer, in Sausalito, California. He enjoys a rather simple life, spending his days sailing the San Francisco Bay area. His favorite destination? Angel Island.

On a pleasant fall evening in 1981, Travis arrives at the Island and, while looking for a mooring, sights a trawler flying a German Navy battle flag. These types of flags are usually only seen flying on battleships, not yachts. So what is going on?

He greets the man aboard, who is less than friendly, and later watches as the man takes his dog to shore in his dingy, and then heads up onto the island. He thinks it is strange that the man continues up onto the island in the dark, as visitors are not permitted there at night, but shakes off his worries — until he is awakened the next morning by the siren of a sheriff’s boat.

While watching the scene, he sees a dead body on a stretcher being loaded for transport from the island. The shape of the body favors that of the man on the trawler. And the man’s dog is following the procession frantically. Travis knows it has to be the same man who was aboard the trawler the night before, the one with the German Navy battle flag.

Suspicious, Travis decides to snoop around on the island. The newspaper story he read said that the corpse was found near the old barracks, so he heads off to see what he can find. He is in Ayala Cove when he sees another boat flying the German Navy Flag, located off the same area where the body was found.

“More transplanted Germans who are, all of a sudden, deciding to show their patriotism . . .?” Travis wonders.

On a whim, he goes ashore in the dark, without a flashlight, and has to abort his mission, but Travis is certain there is something more going on. He sets off to first convince and then to enlist his friend and sailing partner, Carol Whitely, to help him find out just what it is.

Carol and Travis discover what they believe to be evidence of espionage on the island. Travis is sure there is a plot to blow up the Golden Gate Bridge but no one will believe his farfetched theory. So the two of them go about conducting their own investigation, not knowing until it is too late that they will be in danger and fighting for their lives in the process.

This “boat” book is a great read for boaters and mystery/thriller readers as well. The author’s style causes readers to believe the tale is real. The action continues to build up to the end, with its plot twists and surprises making it both a must read and hard to put down.

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Commander: The Life and Exploits of Britain’s Greatest Frigate Captain

by Stephen Taylor (W.W. Norton & Company, 2012; 368 pages; Release date: October 15, 2012; $28.95 (hardcover); $15.37 Kindle edition, available October 8; Nook edition available October 15.
Review by Karen Larson
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Every so often, when reading fiction accounts of the Age of Fighting Sail in the late 1700s and early 1800s, you’ll come across the name of Sir Edward Pellew. He was a contemporary of Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson and — as author Stephen Taylor has convinced me —an equally important British naval officer, albeit one who never achieved the same star status.

If the British revere this sailor as they should, I’m not aware of it. Surely today’s Americans don’t know much about him. Those who are passionate about the Patrick O’Brian series of nautical fiction, however, may already feel they know Edward Pellew, because this man and his exploits were clearly the inspiration for O’Brian’s famous Jack Aubrey.

Captain Jack was a fictional character whose own naval career and trajectory through the politics of the times differed from those of Pellew, the real naval officer. But as you read Pellew’s biography, you can’t avoid the “aha moments” when recognizing the fictional activities of Aubrey. Pellew, for example, was one of few sailors who could swim and, as the result, dove off the ship several times to save sailors or to perform other activities to save or free the ship. He was a big, athletic man who enjoyed climbing to the tops even when he was an admiral.

He came from humble beginnings. He was not from the privileged class and therefore destined to become a naval officer. He began his career before the mast (rather than as a midshipman) and earned each promotion due to his seamanship, courage, and ability to think a few steps ahead of the enemy.

Not having a sponsor in the Admiralty to ensure that his career advanced appropriately and not having the proper British upper-crust foundation, diction, and connections was a problem for Pellew all his life, as there were always naysayers who put him down for not being properly refined. Yet this man succeeded so well on the quarterdeck, that his rise could not be ignored. Unlike Jack Aubrey, Pellew was luckier with prize earnings and in his dealings on land. Over time, he became a wealthy man with a large family and an intelligent and supportive wife who ran the household. ( Pellew was away from home for more than 36 of his 46 years in the British Navy).

Author Stephen Taylor does not focus (or even mention) the similarities between Captain Jack and Edward Pellew. He does, however, remind the reader of the parallel career of Nelson and the contrast between Nelson’s career and that of Pellew. While he doesn’t say that Pellew was more heroic and deserving, he leads the reader to draw this conclusion.
You can’t help but like Edward Pellew, a warm-hearted and very capable individual who contributed significantly to Britannia’s rule of the waves during the Napoleonic Wars.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys nautical history, particularly those who are Jack Aubrey fans.

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Sailboat Projects

by Clarence Jones (Winning News Media, 2012; e-book; 93 pages; Kindle and Nook editions: $2.99).
Review by Karen Larson
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Clarence Jones has always been a sailor and do-it-yourselfer. He describes himself as a writer/mechanic/inventor/tinkerer. Your choice. His inventions have been installed in a MacGregor 21 and 25, a Precision 18 and 21 and, most recently, a Catalina 28. He’s written several articles for Good Old Boat and more are in the hopper.

His e-book of published articles (including those in Good Old Boat) is a nice little collection of projects for trailerable and not-so-trailerable sailboats, based on projects he’s done on his own boats over the years.

I downloaded the PDF file to my iPad and took it on our summer cruise. I especially liked the articles on snagging the dock and Clarence’s mast-raising system. Clarence is a good writer with creative ideas for getting things done simply and inexpensively. He chooses materials that are easy to find at the local hardware and big box stores that don’t require a bank loan prior to purchase.

Sailboat Projects is a lot like a supplemental copy of Good Old Boat magazine. Download it to your computer or reader-type device and take it on your next cruise for inspiration.

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Cost Control While You Cruise

by Lin and Larry Pardey, edited and produced by Tory Salvia <http://www.landlpardey.com> or <http://www.thesailingchannel.com>), 65 minutes plus extras, $24.95 for DVD, $12.95 for download
Review by Karen Larson
Minneapolis, Minn.

Lin and Larry Pardey’s newest video is another excellent production. These two have never done anything but top-notch books, videos, lecture series, presentations, and whatever else they decide to take on.

As the narrator, Lin explains that they cannot offer their very popular lectures everywhere in the country so they have decided to offer some of the highlights on video. The most frequently asked questions are consistently: How much does it cost to go cruising and how can we control those costs? Ergo, the theme of this video.

With beautiful background video images captured over the past 15 to 20 years of cruising, Lin presents everything you ever wanted to know about cruising life and the choices that affect your costs. Points included are the size of your vessel, the relationship you intend to maintain with people at home, your ability to fix things aboard, and whether you plan to work along the way.

She makes you consider the lifestyle choices you’ll face, such as: docking in marinas or anchoring in remote locations, how much time you’ll spend in towns, whether you’ll cruise in convoy or alone, how much eating out and cooking aboard you’ll do, and the quantity of entertainment ashore or tourist travel you’ll do.

She reports on an informal survey she conducted with 20 to 30 fellow cruisers regarding costs aboard. She learned that Americans averaged $1,500 a month, while the Europeans and South Africans (and other non-U.S. sailors) averaged $1,200. But the real range was $700 to $3,000 a month.

She also notes that the first year tends to be cheaper on average, since you generally leave home with a boat that is well-equipped with all systems functioning. In addition, the joy of cruising is often entertainment enough (sunrises and sunsets, shore explorations, sightings of birds and animals, and so on). By the second year you may need more parts and maintenance, may look for more shoreside entertainment and meals, and may want to make a trip home to visit friends and relatives.

Another interesting point is Lin’s “unstoppable boat” concept. This means that your systems — such as water, lighting, basic navigation, sail raising and lowering, and anchoring — must be separate so that the loss of one won’t stop your cruising. You should be able to do these things even if your electrical system or any other system fails. If you can do this, you can continue your travels until you get to a town large enough to make the repairs or have parts flown in relatively inexpensively.

She says you should have sails that you can maintain yourself and offers some tips on doing so. She adds that you must be comfortable at anchor with ground tackle you can rely on, a dinghy you enjoy using, and a way to bathe aboard.

Other topics include yacht insurance, health insurance, your boat as a warehouse, onboard communications, cruising in company, purchasing local foods, flying home, paper charts and guides, haulout, and traveling in less-frequently cruised areas. Just for fun, Lin also includes her tips regarding spending money. After all, she just helped you save it, didn’t she?

Another fun thing is the musical interludes Lin and Larry include as breaks. Some of their favorite sailor and musician friends are featured singing or playing classical guitar — a fun and unexpected highlight.

This video is enlightening, educational, and entertaining. We can all benefit from viewing it more than once. You’ll enjoy it. Guaranteed.

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Maritime Tales of Lake Ontario

By Susan Peterson Gateley (The History Press, 2012; 128 pages; $19.99)
Review by Carolyn Corbett
Lake Shore, Minnesota

Susan Peterson Gateley has written a jewel of a book for history buffs with maritime leanings. In the author’s words, Maritime Tales of Lake Ontario is a “collection of historic incidents and personalities who once worked on and by the waters of this Great Lake between 1728 and the present.” An abundance of pictures and illustrations accompany this well written and meticulously researched history of Lake Ontario, as Susan brings past ages to life.

This rich history of the lake’s nautical past features chapters on the naval activity of the 19th century wars fought on the lake, shipwrecks during the age of sail, larger-than-life lake mariners, and a look at 50 years of the St. Lawrence Seaway as seen from a maritime and ecological perspective. Her tales of notable sailors include fascinating portraits of “bold-hearted women” who voyaged upon Lake Ontario.

Susan, who has a 100-ton inland waters and Great Lakes Coast Guard license, has sailed Lake Ontario extensively. She has a background in science and, before taking up writing and publishing, worked as a fisheries biologist and a high school science teacher. She has five other books in print at this time, including The Edge Walker’s Guide to Lake Ontario Beach Combing, which contains information on lakeshore geology, wildlife, and seasonal focal points for hikers, beachcombers, and canoeists. Since 1995, Susan Peterson Gateley has published five nonfiction books on sailing and ecology of the lake, definitely making her the go-to person when it comes to knowledge of this Great Lake!

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Harts at Sea — Sailing to Windward

by Barbara Hart (Hart Enterprises, 2012; 246 pages; $12.99 paperback, $2.99 Kindle edition)
Review by Karen Larson
Minneapolis, Minnesota

When a very gregarious plugged-in woman agrees to go cruising with her husband for an indefinite period of time — alone, just the two of them on a sailboat — it must be all about love. In her book, Harts at Sea – Sailing to Windward, Barbara says she knew he was a Sailor (with a capital “S”) when she married Stewart:
“When he finally proposed to me after a game of darts in a Portland (Maine) bar, he qualified this already unromantic moment by stating, ‘Before you reply you need to know that someday I will have a sailboat and will sail around the world.'”

I cried. These were not tears of joy.

Throughout this book, Barbara shares her experiences and the strong commitment to the cruising lifestyle she achieves within that first year of cruising … all with a great sense of humor. She talks about the lessons learned along the way, how a plugged-in woman stays plugged in even when “out there” (don’t miss the Networking in Paradise and Connections chapters) and about the cruising lifestyle itself (going aground, cruisers’ nets, haircuts, taxi and bus rides, dinghy docks, laundry, defrosting the freezer, boat security, hauling out, and staying happily married (from the first mate’s perspective, remember!).

Any woman with a sailing man and an iota of hesitation would do well to read Barbara’s book. Any would-be cruisers (gung-ho and otherwise) will find her lists — what works, what didn’t work, what we should have brought more of, things on the wish list, things I miss, and so forth — very helpful just before they take in the docklines for the final time. Barbara has some words of wisdom to share here. Listen up!

I chuckled with Barbara, enjoying her bubbly personality, love of life, and boundless extroverted enthusiasm. She has created nicknames for everything, for example. Stewart has become EW, because he spells his name with an “ew” rather than Stuart with a “u.” His son and her step-son, is referred to only as Favorite. NOAA’s automated voices (especially when in disfavor) are referred to simply as “Her” and “Him.” The engine, the autopilot, most likely everything else aboard is named and part of the family (some with higher rank than others).

Many of Barbara’s chapters were first published as a part of her ongoing blog at <http://www.hartsatsea.typepad.com/hartsatsea>. She types she tweets, she blogs, she Facebooks. She must communicate. She can’t help herself. She has written an article for Good Old Boat (“The Boat Painter’s Apprentice” in our March 2012 issue) and has published with other sailing magazines. And now she has written a book.

Whether you do so on a tablet or in paperback, when you read this book you will become a member of the crew aboard La Luna, Barbara and Stewart’s 1985 David Pedrick-designed Cheoy Lee 47. You may enjoy reading about their first year aboard almost as much as they enjoyed living it. Their experiences may even entice your reluctant mate to come along.

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Across the Water

music CD by Larry Carpenter, produced by Bill Travers; 2012, 45:24 total number of minutes, $15 price, website or contact info:
http://allegro.mncarpenters.net/?page_id=535
Review by Karen Larson
Minneapolis, Minn.

Almost from the time I began sailing in the Apostle Islands some 20 years ago, Larry Carpenter and his guitar have been a part of the sailing experience . . . sometimes at anchorages, sometimes in a gathering spot at the marina. He was often accompanied on flute by his wife and best friend, Judy Taylor. The rest of us gathered around, sometimes joining in the singing and sometimes just happy to appreciate the music.

This summer when I saw Larry, I learned that some of his songs are now available on a CD titled Across the Water. Although these songs are, for the most part, not the familiar nautical tunes we requested over and over as the years went by, it is a grand collection showcasing Larry’s accomplishments, highlighting Judy’s accompaniment, and adding the lovely voice of Laura Moe doing background vocals.

I listened to the collection on my iPod recently as I rode my bicycle on local trails. I was amazed at the power of music when the first raindrops began to fall on me just as the song “Coming Down in the Rain” by Buddy Mondlock began. I laughed over the Gordon Bok tune “Old Fat Boat” and I cried over several of the songs: “The Dutchman” by Michael Smith, “Get Her into Shore” by Larry Kaplan, and “Cold Missouri Water” by James Keelaghan.

Larry features a number of his favorite songwriters. Others are Ian Tamblyn, Connie Kaldor, Ian Tyson, Bill Staines, and Bill Houston. He notes that although he does not write his own music and lyrics, he has the best songwriters “working for him.” This collection of some of his favorites does justice to the team of singers and songwriters whose music Larry has played over the years.

Although I enjoy them all, my personal favorites are probably Tamblyn’s “Black Spruce” and “Angel’s Share.” I’m confident enough that you’ll find several favorites among them as well to recommend Larry’s CD highly. Just one thought, however: don’t listen to them on an iPod while riding your bicycle. These songs belong on your boat. Take Across the Water with you the next time you go sailing.

Here’s how to get it:

Send a check for $15 to:
Larry Carpenter
4505 Columbus Ave
Minneapolis MN 55407
(He travels a lot and it may not get answered immediately, but a CD will be sent.)

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Team Spirit: Life and Leadership
on One of the World’s Toughest Yacht Races

by Brendan Hall, Foreword by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston (London: Adlard Coles Nautical, 2012; 236 pages; $19.95)
Review by James Williams
S/v Alizee, St. Petersburg, Florida

We all know that sailboat racing in any craft larger than a dingy is a team sport. The larger the boat, the greater number of crew and the more challenging the teamwork required to succeed. The first American recreational sailboat racing on New York Bay in the 1840s occurred on workboats called New York sloops. Twenty to 30-feet long with enormous rigs, they were ballasted with sandbags piled on the weather rail and took a crew of 10 to 15 to sail. Today, sailors aren’t hefting sandbags, but teamwork is still the foundation of successful racing.

ASA’s Spinnaker Sailing in Redwood City, California, where I took sailing lessons long ago, began offering “team-building” sailing regattas for Silicon Valley corporate groups in 1986. The concept caught on in that youthful, high-tech mecca, and soon the Olympic Circle Sailing Club (OCSC) in Berkeley, California, got into the corporate-training field. Today, corporate managers easily can find team-building sailing programs, a sampling of which includes team challenges at Pacific Yachting, Adventure Associates, Schooner Woodwind in Annapolis, and Sunsail, the latter of which offers team-building programs in the British Virgin Islands, Port Solent in the U.K., and more recently, on San Francisco Bay.

In 1995, Sir Robin Knox Johnson, the first person to make a singlehanded non-stop circumnavigation, conceived the Clipper Round the World Race. Since its first race in 1996, Clipper Ventures has offered paying amateur crewmembers the chance to do the whole race around the world or on one or more legs of it on a fleet of identical yachts skippered by qualified captains. In contrast to the Global Challenge race, which has been run four times since 1992 with heavy, steel one-design yachts going westward against prevailing winds and currents, the Clipper race uses lighter, faster fiberglass boats and follows prevailing currents and winds. Thus far, eight races have been held, and crew applications for the 2013 race are currently open. <http://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/index.php/sign-up/>

Team Spirit, by Brendan Hall, skipper of the Spirit of Australia, winner of the 2009/10 race, is a crisply written, deeply engaging account of the race as well as a wonderful primer on leadership and teamwork. Hall, a man with a remarkably healthy ego, is unafraid to confront himself, to explore both his strengths and weaknesses, and to learn from experience. Only 27 when he undertook the race, he is not your typical 20-something.

Hall begins by tracing his year of pre-race preparation, seeking out mentors from previous Clipper captains, and his early grasp of what makes a good leader. His chapter on training his crew, he confesses, is not what some sailors might expect, for he realizes here (and over and over again during the race) that sailing technique is only 20 percent of leadership — the other 80 percent is people skills. And, this is true not only for the skipper of the race, but for the crew as well, for whom 80-percent attitude easily wins over 20-percent aptitude.

At the end of each chapter, Hall offers real and succinct leadership lessons revolving around “what if” questions, judgment, feedback, and creation of a “no-blame culture” and more. Throughout the race, Hall and his crew learn early on to focus on long-term victory as opposed to short-term glory and to share responsibility for every aspect of bringing the Spirit of Australia safely through each leg and on to final victory.

Any sailor who races in a crew and any skipper who oversees a racing crew, whether it is on an E-Scow, a J-105, a Beneteau First, or even smaller two to three-person craft should read this book. I guarantee it will keep you on your seat’s edge and that you will learn a lot of very good things about leadership and teamwork. In the end, I’m sure any reader will be a better sailor for having spent a few hours with Team Spirit.

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World Voyage Planning

by Jimmy Cornell (Cornell Sailing, Ltd., distributed in North America by Paradise Cay Publications, 2012; 342 pages; $49.95.)
Review by Brian Koger,
Severna Park, Maryland

Buying, studying, and carrying this book on board should be mandatory for anyone contemplating a long-distance voyage on any of the world’s oceans. Jimmy Cornell definitely knows his stuff. Over the past few decades, he and his family have made numerous trips all over the world. Additionally, for this book he also asked almost 60 other highly-experienced cruisers for input and incorporated their knowledge into practical ideas for planning, preparation, and — perhaps most importantly — actually getting out there and sailing to those distant locations most of us just dream about.

The book reflects practical considerations, such as the proper number of crew (or whether it is advisable to have non-family crew on board at all), the comparative advantages of sailing in rallies versus making single-vessel voyages, the best times to make passages to the various destinations described in the book, places to head if an emergency stop is required, etc. Also, the destinations covered aren’t just the “usual suspects” of the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and South Pacific, but include such interesting locales as the Northwest Passage, Antarctica, and the Southern Ocean, to name just a few. To provide insight and interest to the discussions of topics and destinations, there are sidebars where cruisers provide personal stories to illustrate the points being made in the main text (e.g., a rundown of one boat’s annual cruising costs, how one sailor dealt with losing the engine almost immediately after leaving port, or tales of cruising the Amazon or Danube). Thist definitely makes the information “come alive.”

One of the most frequently-used illustrations in the book is the pilot chart wind rose, which thankfully is explained early on (pages 2-3). It took me a while to figure them out, but once I got used to them and “broke the code,” they were fairly intuitive. While the copy of the book I reviewed had some errors (e.g., in the Foreword, a sentence simply ended in mid-thought and another one started with no punctuation or break between the two), they were relatively minor and didn’t seriously detract from the readability of the book as a whole. If I could change anything in the book, however, I think it would be the lack of captions to accompany the illustrations. Some of the photos are quite interesting, but there were times when the text doesn’t mention what the reader is looking at, and there are often no captions for the pictures (although some pictures do have captions).

I would highly recommend this book to sailors anywhere. Even if you will probably never make it to Tahiti, there’s enough practical information included to enhance your sailing experience or at least give you something to dream about on a cold winter night.

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Turtles in Our Wake

by Sandra Clayton (London: Adlard Coles Nautical, 2012; 225 pages; $13.95)
Review by James Williams
S/v Alizee, St. Petersburg, Florida

In 1998, Sandra and David Clayton decided to take early retirement in their fifties, buy a 40-foot catamaran and venture from the U.K. to the Mediterranean and beyond. Sandra kept a journal and wrote newsletters to friends tracing their travels from England via the coasts of France, Spain, and Portugal to the Mediterranean, all of which evolved into a well-received book entitled Dolphins Under My Bed (2008). After a year’s trial on their catamaran, Voyager, the Claytons decided to make permanent their life on the water.  Turtles in Our Wake (originally published in 2009 in the U.K. as Something of the Turtle), focuses on their second year, exploring the Mediterranean Sea and making their way to the Madiera Islands in preparation for crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

Sandra is a wonderful writer and this is a cruising story that rises above most others I have read. Her descriptions of life aboard Voyager and the sites they visit, from the Balearic Islands to Sardinia and back to Spain, are filled with richness. She is self-deprecating and has a magnificent sense of humor, telling often laugh-out-loud vignettes of cruising life, from boats dragging for hours back and forth through anchorages, docking mishaps in strange and odd circumstances, ill-mannered powerboaters in crowded bays, and the general foolhardiness that all too often seems to happen on the water.

Turtles in Our Wake picks up in Menorca in the Balearic Islands, selling their house in the U.K., sorting out their possessions, and putting what’s left in storage. Although the first few chapters are a bit raggedly organized, Sandra nonetheless brings alive the pathos as well as the process of selling one’s home and sorting out one’s life possessions. Once things are settled up, Voyager truly becomes their home, and even the narrative finds a pleasant rhythm. Sandra artfully takes the reader from living on the hard in a boatyard through dozens of anchorages, historic sites, colorful villages, and encounters with people of every stripe as well as with dolphins, whales, and other sea life. Sailors will appreciate her take on resolving sailing issues, from dividing up chores on the boat and dealing with provisioning to refilling propane tanks, keeping engines running, navigating when one’s autopilot gives up the ghost, and getting caught by, and freeing oneself of, a drift net.

The final chapters of the book bring Sandra and David to Gibraltar, where they go into a boatyard to replace Voyager’s autopilot, fix engine problems, and then make a six-day passage into the Atlantic to Porto Santo in the Madiera Islands. This will be their jumping-off point for the Caribbean, a saga which Sandra tells in her forthcoming volume, A Thousand Miles from Anywhere, which is scheduled for publication in March, 2013 (Bloomsbury Publishing, U.K.). I won’t give too much away, but there are four more years of sailing ahead of the Claytons from the Caribbean, the Bahamas, America’s eastern seaboard, and northeast Canada, thence back across the Atlantic. Although they have not swallowed the anchor, they recently purchased a steel canal trawler in Holland to spend summers exploring Europe’s inland waterways. We can only hope that Sandra continues to share her stories with the rest of us.

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The Boat Galley Cookbook

by Carolyn Shearlock and Jan Irons (International Marine/McGraw-Hill, 2012, 464 pages; $36.00)
Review by Rae K. Eighmey
St. Paul, Minnesota

Authors Carolyn Shearlock and Jan Irons have learned a lot about galley management and cruiser cooking since the first “big boat” charter they took with their husbands 20,000 sailing miles ago. Back then, they “helped out” the refrigerator chill plate during initial stocking by putting bags of ice around the food. At dinnertime, they discovered a solid block of ice encasing everything, including the “celebration” steaks.

Recounting this misadventure and a few others gives The Boat Galley Cookbook unmistakable authority from cooks who have been there, and makes the book a lot of fun to read. From their lessons well learned, Carolyn and Jan share experiences, provide tips, thoughtful considerations, and 800 recipes.

The easy-to-use 450-page book is about the size of a box of cake mix and weighs about as much as two cans of beer. Seventy-five pages are an introduction to cooking with a “galley frame of mind: equipping the galley for cooking and storage, provisioning —including a fascinating shopping tour inside a Central American “supermercado,” and ways to interact with locals to find the freshest seafood, meat, and vegetables. They explain sensible ways for stowing your foodstuffs so you can keep them at their best, suggestions for popular on-passage meals, a wide range of ingredient substitutions, and even storm preparation food strategies.

The basic recipes that make up the bulk of the book are well organized and indexed. Just about anyone could make any of these dishes. The authors give excellent step-by-step directions for some of the trickier cooking processes, often illustrated with black-and-white photographs. They are fun to read even if you’ll never use them. For example, if you are cruising inland North American lakes you are not likely to need to know how to kill a conch and make it suitable for feasting upon, but Jan’s explanation practically takes you dockside. It’s a great read.

I have one serious quibble with the book. It’s really not just for cooking on board a boat! The techniques and recipes are useful in any close-cooking situation — a small cottage kitchen in the North Woods where your boat is a daysailer or rowboat, an RV, or even a beginning apartment in New York City.

Carolyn and Jan are cheerful companions. Their on-the-boat adventures, vivid descriptions of engagements with the community of other cruisers, and in-the-galley expertise may be enough to tempt you into cruising, especially if you can take them along in the form of this handy, stowable book.

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THE ANGEL ISLAND CONSPIRACY

BY ROBERT BANKS HULL, (IUNIVERSE, INC., 2010; 119 PAGES; $11.95 ON AMAZON.COM AND BN.COM)
REVIEW BY SUSAN LYNN KINGSBURY

 

Told in the first person, The Angel Island Conspiracy is an action/thriller/mystery that reads like a true-life story. Author Robert Banks Hull sets his story on Angel Island, a real tourist destination off the Pacific coast of San Francisco. Hull uses his knowledge of the island, San Francisco, and the surrounding waters to create a vivid and believable backdrop for his tale.

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