A Drop in the Ocean

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

Review by Karen Larson

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

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The Impractical Boat Owner

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

Review by Tom Wells

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

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Magnetic North: Sea Voyage to Svalbard

Magnetic North: Sea Voyage to Svalbard, by Jenna Butler

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

Review by Wendy Mitman Clarke

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

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

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A Dream of Steam

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

Review by Karen Larson

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

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Ten Degrees Of Reckoning

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

Review by Don Davies

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

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Rigging Modern Anchors

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

Review by Robin Urquhart

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

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The Adventures of Mike the Moose

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

Review by Karen Larson

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

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Uncharted Waters

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

Review by Don Davies

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

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Shakedown Cruise

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

Review by Sara Dawn Johnson

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

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Archipelago New York

by Thomas Halaczinsky (Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2018; 160 pages; $29.99 hard)

Review by Jim Papa

Archipelago New York is an extended photo essay chronicling documentary filmmaker Thomas Halaczinsky’s single-handed sail in his 30-foot sloop, Sojourn, in and around New York Harbor and out to Long Island’s east end by way of the Long Island Sound. Specifically, Halaczinsky documents his sails in and around Jamaica Bay, along the Brooklyn waterfront, through New York harbor, up the East river through Hell Gate, and then east through Long Island Sound past Fishers Island to Rhode Island and back, with detours to Greenport in Gardiner’s Bay, as well as to Montauk. It is, Halaczinsky tells us, a “trip [he] had been dreaming of since first arriving” in New York from Europe twenty years before.

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Of Sea and Cloud

by Jon Keller (Gallery Books, 2014; 322 pages; $24.99 hard, $15.99 soft, $4.99 digital)

Review by Wendy Mitman Clarke

If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder, you might want to plug in your UV lamp before cracking open Jon Keller’s riveting first novel, Of Sea and Cloud. In the depths of coastal Maine’s winter, the darkness can be a living thing that stalks and haunts mere mortals who are longing for the turn of season. But the darkness in Keller’s novel goes far deeper than the mere shortness of days, as he tells a story of murder, betrayal, loyalty, family, and a battle for the soul of the lobster industry and, by extension, a community.

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Sailing Wondertime

by Sara Dawn Johnson (Sara Dawn Johnson, 2018; 330 pages; $16.95 print, $5.99 Kindle edition)

Review by Ann Hoffner

“People have told us how lucky we are, to get to sail far away. My typical response is to say luck has little to do with it, that we’ve worked so very hard, made many difficult decisions, and given up so much for so many years to get to this place on the Earth. But on nights like this, under a sky full of stars and our spinnaker full of warm trade wind pulling us deeper into the South Pacific Ocean, I see how very lucky we truly are to be here together.”

Anybody who’s cruised in places where families gather—Georgetown, Bahamas, for example—has encountered sailing children. Experiencing something wonderous (such as sailboat cruising) in the company of a child induces added wonder—which makes the title of this book, also the name of the author’s boat, pretty apt. Sailing Wondertime is a cruising narrative distilled from the author’s blog posts and recollections of a voyage with her husband, Michael, and daughters, Leah and Holly, that begins in 2011 in Seattle, spans Mexico and the islands of the South Pacific, and ends in New Zealand.

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The Sea Is Not Full

by Charles J. Doane (Seapoint Books, 2017, 356 pages; $24.95 print)

Review by Jeremy McGeary

Many a young scion of Maine’s summer people has enjoyed a boyhood spent messing about in boats, and the experience has no doubt caused some to drift off their expected career course. That seems to have been the case with Charlie Doane. He tried to meet his family’s expectations, and even practiced law for a while, but in the first chapter of The Sea Is Not Full, we find him in Key West, Florida, sea bag on his shoulder, after answering a “crew wanted” advertisement in a magazine.

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Plumbelly

by Gary S. Maynard (Flat Hammock Press, 2018, 227 pages; $24.94 hardcover print, $14.99 Kindle edition)

Review by Gregg Bruff

Set in the alluring South Pacific, this coming-of-age novel describes three young friends on their personal and shared journies, reckoning with their past while looking toward a potential shared future. They work together through difficult situations aboard the wooden gaff-rigged sloop Plumbelly to leave their troubled lives behind and discover new opportunities.

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The Mercy

directed by James Marsh and starring Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz (Roadside Attractions, 2018)

Review by Fiona McGlynn

The Mercy depicts the tragic real-life story of British sailor, Donald Crowhurst, who attempted to become the first person to sail solo, non-stop around the world in the 1968 Golden Globe Race.

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An Inexplicable Attraction: My Fifty Years of Ocean Sailing

by Eric B. Forsyth (Yacht Fiona, 2016; 400 pages; $24.95 print, $7.19 digital)

Review by David McDaniel

269,161! That’s how many nautical miles Captain Eric B. Forsyth has sailed over the Earth’s oceans, 247,362 of which were aboard his custom-finished Westsail 42, Fiona. Astonishingly, most of these miles were accumulated after his retirement from the Brookhaven National Laboratory. Imagine, two circumnavigations, including one eastabout loop following the old clipper route around the southern capes; two successful trips to Antarctica (four attempts were made); two trips through the Arctic Circle, including a circumnavigation of North America via the Northwest Passage; a spin around the North Atlantic as far south as Fernando de Noronha off the coast of Brazil; and numerous cruises to and along the coasts of Maine, Greenland, Iceland, the Azores, Falkland Islands, Shetland Islands, Caribbean Islands, and the Baltic Sea. For this sailing background, Captain Forsyth is a recipient of the distinguished Cruising Club of America’s Blue Water Medal. This book is a narration of his voyages to remote regions and foreign lands aboard Fiona. Pictures of his exploits are sprinkled throughout to carry the reader along.

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News From the Helm, Featured Articles, Mail Buoy, and Book Reviews

February 2019 Edition

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