Before we contacted Don Casey to invite him to get involved with our new magazine, we decided to take another look at his best-known book, This Old Boat. Unfortunately, our copy wasn’t with our other sailing books. We racked our brains. Had we loaned it to another sailor? Was it on the boat? Where could it have gone? Just prior to ordering a second copy, Jerry found This Old Boat in a most telling place: nestled in a large box of sandpaper.

Don’s newest book, Dragged Aboard – A Cruising Guide for the Reluctant Mate, is just as valuable but could wind up st

ashed in a variety of areas within the boat: galley, head, medicine kit, stowed with provisions, nav/communications center, or on the bookshelf as a trusted friend.

This Old Boat is aimed at the do-it-yourself boater – usually, but not always, a male. Dragged Aboard is meant for

the not-quite-so-enthusiastic partner of a sailor — usually, but not always, a female. In a personal and friendly conversation with this reluctant mate, Don debunks cruising myths and fears and highlights the joys and benefits of the cruising lifestyle.

Worried about storms? Don says, “Thunderstorms almost never give a well-found and wisely handled cruising boat more than a jostle and a wash, but finding yourself on a boat in the middle of a particularly boisterous boomer can still be frightening. This is a good time for perspective. Images of solidly anchored homes reduced to rubble by wind, flood, mud, and tremor parade regularly across the evening news. By comparison, a cruising boat is virtually immune to weather. A well-built boat is incredibly tough: the roof isn’t going to blow off, the windows won’t blow in, and 40 days of rain won’t even wet the rug.”

Pirates? “They’ve found easier pickings selling cars, filing lawsuits, or sitting on city commissions. You might encounter a pirate when you’re cruising — if you need a new battery or your refrigeration goes on the fritz – but he won’t be armed with anything more lethal than the barrel he’ll have you over.”

Danger? “There is a violent crime in this country every 17 seconds. Assaults happen every 28 seconds, a robbery every 51 seconds. If you live in an American city, and a drug addict breaks into your home and slashes you with a knife, don’t expect to write a book about it. Odds are the story won’t even make the newspaper. The sad truth is that Americans can go almost anywhere else

in the world and be safer than they are in their own neighborhoods.”

Cramped quarters? “If you have a nice house ashore, aren’t you certain to be less comfortable moving into a space smaller than your bedroom? The short answer is yes, but it isn’t the whole answer The cruising life may be less comfortable, but it is more luxurious. When was the last time you slept until noon? When have you spent an entire day with a good book? Do you know what it’s like to float for hours in warm, emerald waters? Do you know how wonderful bread is fresh from the oven? Is there a better combination than shade, breeze, food, and friends? How often do you toast the blush of sunset? Rare is the cruising day that isn’t, on balance, better than any day at the office.”

Don brings honesty and insight into conversations about getting along with your partner in a small space, making a boat a home (with a focus on accommodations, ventilation, lighting, comfortable seating, easy care fabrics), what to take and how to store it, stocking up (good tips for figuring out how much food to take along), staying in touch with folks at home, health and first aid, protecting your skin from the elements, cruising with kids, cleanliness aboard, and more.

If you’re afraid of misplacing your copy of this book (it could wind up anywhere, you know!) perhaps you’ll want several.

Dragged Aboard by Don Casey. D(W.W.Norton & Company, 1998)