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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New World, Inc.: The Making of America by England’s Merchant Adventurers

by John Butman and Simon Targett (Little, Brown & Co., 2018; 405 pages; $29.00 print, $14.99 Kindle edition)

Review by Chas Hague

Modern sailors are driven by the challenge of crossing big waters, to see what is on the other side of the horizon. But back in the 16th century, the men crossing the Atlantic Ocean wanted only one thing: profits. New World, Inc. summarizes the major ventures that set out to do business with the new world.

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Run for the Devil

by J.J. Ballesteros (iUniverse, 2017, 282 pages; $18.95 print, $3.99 Kindle edition)

Review by Wayne Gagnon

Run for the Devil centers around protagonist Simon Donovan, a sailor who ferries people and supplies along the shores of Mexico’s Bay of Campeche aboard his 65-foot schooner, Siete Mares. He’d brought her there and started his business to re-boot his life. He has a good reputation as someone who follows the rules, and at the same time knows how to get things done.

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Sailing Acts: Following an Ancient Voyage

by Linford Stutzman (Good Books, 2006; 330 pages; $14.95 print, $9.99 Kindle edition)

Review by Gregg Bruff

This book is amazing on several levels. Not only is it filled with sailing adventures, but the adventures are in the context of a rich biblical and historical backdrop. The author-captain and his mate cruised the Mediterranean, but did so following the sailing routes of the apostle Paul during the height of the Roman Empire.

The author’s dream of following Paul’s travels began when he was a little boy in 1955, while looking through maps in the back of a Bible. Fast forward 50 years, and Linford was still dreaming of biblical maps and places to explore.

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Exposed: The Dark Side of the America’s Cup

by Alan Sefton and Larry Keating (Adlard Coles, 2017; 304 pages; $35.00 print, $9.99 digital)

Review by Dan Spurr

When this A-Z history of the Auld Mug landed in my lap, my first thought was: “I am so over the Cup.” Being somewhat on the fence between favoring “traditional” yachts, like the 12-Meter, designed to a developmental rule, and the current super-fast one-design foiling catamarans where execution is more critical than design and even tactics, I’ve tried to keep an open mind regarding the future of the world’s oldest sporting trophy. Opening the book to Chapter 1, “Endless Intrigue and Controversy,” and noting the authors are from New Zealand, I figured there’d be a good bashing of the New York Yacht Club, which employed various chicaneries to keep the Cup for 132 years—until the winged wonder Australia II wrested it in 1983.

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Memoir of a Skipjack

by Randolph George
(Salt Water Media, 2017; 188 pages; $21.95 print)

Review by Wendy Mitman Clarke

It is probably inevitable that a memoir of a skipjack is going to leave one feeling a little melancholy. There are so few of these working sailboats left on the Chesapeake, our very own indigenous species slowly going extinct before our eyes. All the more reason, then, that we’re lucky Randolph George has written Memoir of a Skipjack, a thorough accounting of the life and times of the skipjack Martha Lewis and the families and people whom she touched.

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Swell: A Sailing Surfer’s Voyage of Awakening

by Liz Clark
(Patagonia, 2018; 320 pages; $35.00 print, $14.95 ebook)

Review by Michael Robertson

Full disclosure: Liz Clark is a friend. I followed her adventures in Latitude 38 magazine almost from the start, then had a good fortune to meet her in person in French Polynesia in 2015, as she was putting the final touches on this manuscript. I wrote her story for Cruising World (“Still Riding the Swell,” February 2017, So when I heard this book was out, I was eager to read it, and a bit nervous to review it — what if it missed the mark? How do you tell a friend their book doesn’t warrant a good review?

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All I Wish I Knew Before Setting Sail: A practical guide for short and long distance cruising in the digital age

by Christian Rinke
(Createspace, 2017; 340 pages; $17.95 print, $9.80 ebook)

Review by Michael Robertson

This book is aimed squarely at wannabe first-time cruisers who are ready to take concrete steps to casting off for a voyage. The author is a relatively young cruiser who bought a 1973 Columbia 34 in need of some attention, completed a total refit, and crossed the Pacific with his wife. Though the text contains a bit of motivation and insight, this is a practical distillation of the knowledge the author gained, from start to finish. It’s well-organized and touches on just about every subject I can imagine, from finding the right boat, to outfitting, to life aboard.

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The Next Distant Sea

by James Baldwin
(Createspace, 2017; 350 pages; $13.99 print, $4.99 Kindle edition)

Review by Jim Papa

This is the latest of James Baldwin’s books chronicling his life and travels aboard Atom, his dependable Pearson Triton. Baldwin’s narrative begins in 1992, with Baldwin living aboard Atom in Hong Kong, midway through his second circumnavigation begun “four years earlier in Ft. Lauderdale.” The book covers Baldwin’s voyage from Hong Kong to South Africa by way of the Philippines, the Spice Islands, Mauritius, and Madagascar over several years.

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The Cape Horners’ Club: Tales of Triumph and Disaster at the World’s Most Feared Cape

by Adrian Flanagan
(Adlard Coles Nautical, 2017; 296 pages; $27.00 print, $9.99 Kindle edition)

Review by Lin Pardey

As a nautical author, I know why Adrian wrote this book. There is nothing quite as satisfying as reliving your sailing adventures by committing them to paper (or electronic files.) The highs, the lows, the beauty and the inner turmoil, you can relive each detail as you review your log book, look at your photos and let your mind drift back through each watch, each sail change. And when the adventure you undertook tested you severely, the catharsis of laying it out in words helps you regain perspective. However, the job of a reviewer is not to sympathize with the author, it is to help potential readers decide if they should invest time and money in yet another story about sailing through potentially dangerous turbulent seas, in a remote area where few will ever venture.

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Captain Cook’s Final Voyage: The Untold Story from the Journals of James Burney and Henry Roberts

edited by James K. Barnett
(Washington State University Press, 2017; 321 pages; $34.95 print)

Review by Brian Fagan

Captain James Cook was the preeminent navigator of his day. His three voyages of 250 years ago are classics of exploration and pilotage. Cook’s charts are still useful. Out of interest, I’ve used them in Polynesia myself and found them invaluable. The Admiralty sent the exhausted navigator on his third and final voyage in 1776. He was to search for the Northwest Passage and map the Pacific coast of North America. Cook’s wanderings took him to New Zealand and Hawaii, then to the Oregon Coast, Vancouver Island, also Alaska and the Bering Strait, where he identified Cook Inlet. He died at the hands of angry Hawaiians, the Discovery returning home after a voyage to Kamchatka and China.

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Jean-du-Sud and the Magick Byrd

 by Yves Gelinas, translated by Karen Caruana (59 North, 2017; 169 pages; $24.99 paperback, $9.99 Kindle edition).

Review by Karen Larson

Some sailors know Yves Gelinas as the nice guy behind the counter at boat shows selling Cape Horn windvanes, modeled on the windvane he built in 1981 for a world circumnavigation. Alberg 30 sailors know Yves as an icon because he made this voyage on Jean-du-Sud, his Alberg 30, after making some modifications to strengthen the hull and rig. Some know Yves as the famous Canadian from Quebec who set out to circumnavigate non-stop and to set a record with the smallest vessel to round Cape Horn. Others know him as a successful filmmaker and the winner of numerous awards for his full-length video, With Jean-du-Sud Around the World.

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Spindrift: A Wilderness Pilgrimage at Sea

 by Peter Reason (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2016; 194 pages; $23.95 paperback, $23.95 ebook).

Review by Gregg Bruff

“Spindrift – spray blown off the crests of waves in winds of gale force and above. For sailors in a small boat, spindrift is the sign that forceful but workable conditions are becoming dangerous.”

If you have an affinity for sailing and the earth we live with, you should read Spindrift by Peter Reason. It’s that simple. Never have I found a book written by a sailor, about sailing, who can not only convey the fascinating and engaging details of a voyage, but who also can discuss and clarify big picture cultural and ecological concepts with his readers.

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Sea Trials: Around the World with Duct Tape and Bailing Wire

by Wendy Hinman (Salsa Press 2017; print $20.00, Kindle $5.99)

Review by David McDaniel

Sea Trials: Around the World with Duct Tape and Bailing Wire is a real rattlesnake of a tale chronicling the adventures, and misadventures, of the Wilcox family as they sail their way around the world in the early 70s. Leaving a comfortable home behind, the family makes their way out of San Francisco Bay aboard their 40-foot wooden sailboat, Vela, bound for Hawaii and all points beyond. And who better to pen the Wilcox’s story than Wendy Hinman, now spouse of Garth Wilcox, who later relived a similar voyage with Garth aboard a 31-footer? Considering her intimate connection, the story of the Wilcox’s circumnavigation surely took form for the author via bits and pieces related by each family member over time – especially by Garth, the one participant for whom the family’s adventure ultimately rang loudest.

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Kidnapped from the Caribbean

by Todd Duff (Seaworthy Publications, 2017; digital $2.99, print $14.95).

Review by Sarah Moore

Todd Duff’s novel is a thrilling adventure revolving around human trafficking, boat theft, international intrigue, and drug cartels. Though fictional, the book is based on several real stories of human trafficking. This gives a sharper edge to the story.

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