Skip to main content

Winter Reading for Sailors

Okay, I know all our readers in southern parts don’t have to stop sailing over winter, but at least us Northerners get to stoke up a warm fire and sit back for some escapist reading during these frigid evenings. Thanks to some long flights, I got a head start with a handful of new books.

Perhaps escapism isn’t quite the term for the emotions you’ll experience reading One Wild Song, Paul Heiney’s moving tale of a journey undertaken to come to terms with a grievous loss. After Heiney’s 23-year-old son Nicholas took his own life, the author embarked on an 18,000 mile high-latitude voyage, mostly solo. The subtitle “a voyage in a lost son’s wake” gives away Heiney’s wish to reconnect with his seafaring son’s memory. It’s a tale of adventure strongly told in a thoroughly British fashion, never maudlin, but always inspiring.

The Box Wine Sailors describes a voyage of a markedly different stripe. Portland, Oregon, landlubbers Amy McCullough and her boyfriend, Jimmie, decided to buy a cheap old Newport 27, learn to sail it, and head down the coast to Mexico, where they would live on the thinnest of shoestrings for a year. So they did, and here are the “misadventures of a broke young couple at sea.” The couple had never sailed on the ocean before crossing the Columbia River Bar and pointing the bow south, and the tale of their first encounter with Pacific waves had me in stitches.

McCullough is an uninhibited and engaging storyteller and the book fairly sizzles with joie de vivre. I wish all 20-somethings did something like this—the world would be filled with better-adjusted human beings.

Which brings me to Voyaging with Kids, a collaboration between two cruising moms—Sailfeed blogger Behan Gifford and Sarah Dawn Johnson—and Michael Robertson. If you’re contemplating lengthy cruises with your offspring, you really should read this comprehensive, profusely illustrated guide. It will answer just about every question you could think of, plus some you’d not know to ask until it’s too late. Even better, it’s a great endorsement for the lifestyle. I’ve known plenty of whiny, entitled land-based brats, but I’ve never met a cruiser kid I didn’t like, and if you read the many comments written by the youngsters themselves you’ll know why. I’d give this book an E for Essential for neophyte cruising families.

[advertisement]Joshua Slocum’s enduring classic Sailing Alone Around the World has been published in many formats, but probably none as attractively presented as this “The Illustrated Edition” coffee table book. It is packed with color photographs and period charts and sketches of the many stopovers and landfalls of Slocum’s epic voyage. These really bring the journey to life. Too weighty a tome to pack on a plane or even to keep onboard, it’ll serve you well on a cold night as you sip a glass of Scotch in your armchair while dreaming of oceans unsailed.

They Said it...

I watched the flight of clouds, the relics of the gale, as they drifted slowly eastward; I should have liked to go with them to see what awaited me further on. I wished for the power to amend or to avoid so many errors, to be able to direct lost humanity onto the right path, to achieve something beyond normal human capacity … I felt an urge for unity and harmony with the majesty of the starlit night around me; and words were pitifully inadequate, almost an insult to the grandeur there unfolded. I sang an Ave Maria.

—Vito Dumas, Alone Through the Roaring Forties

Related

00-LEAD-JB13-RT1169

What's it Like to Sail a Legend?

At 110 years old, the storied pilot cutter Jolie Brise powers off the wind. In 1851, the New York pilot schooner America sailed to England, beat the Brits at their own prestigious yacht race (which came to be known as the America’s Cup), and launched an evolution of the East ...read more

Alexforbes Archangel1-1 (14)

Cape2Rio Draws to a Close

With just four boats still on their way, it has been a long road to Rio for the fleet competing in this year’s Cape2Rio. Larry Folsom’s American-flagged Balance 526 Nohri took line honors and a win in the MORCA fleet, finishing with a corrected time of 18 days, 20 hours, and 42 ...read more

_01-Steve-and-Irene-1

Close Encounters: A Star to Steer By

I first met Steve and Irene Macek in the proper way—in an anchorage full of bluewater cruising boats. This was in St. Georges, Bermuda, in the spring of 2019. Theirs, without doubt, was the most distinctive boat there—an immaculate, three-masted, double-ended Marco Polo schooner ...read more

14_01_230123_TOR_JOF_0414-2048x

The Ocean Race Leg 2 Kicks Off

After a trial by fire start to the race and only a brief stop for limited fixes, the five IMOCA 60 crews in The Ocean Race set off for Cape Town, South Africa, early on January 25. Despite arriving somewhat battered in Cabo Verde, an African island nation west of Senegal, the ...read more

Lead

Cruising: Smitten with a Wooden Boat

I was sailing down the inner channel of Marina del Rey under a beautiful red sunset when Nills, one of the crew members on my boat, pointed out an unusual and unique-looking 40-foot gaff-rigged wooden cutter tied to the end of a dock. Its classic appearance was a stark contrast ...read more

Screen-Shot-2023-01-23-at-12.03.19-PM

Racing Recap: Leg One of The Ocean Race

New to spectating The Ocean Race? Managing Editor Lydia Mullan breaks down everything you need to know to get started. ...read more

image00001

From the Editor: Keeping the Hands in Hands-On

SAIL Editor-in-Chief Wendy Mitman Clarke enjoys a sunny autumn cruise in her Peterson 34 on the Chesapeake Bay. It was late afternoon just after the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis when I climbed aboard the last boat on the schedule. I and others who review and sail boats for ...read more

P1580711

B&G Announces New Zeus S Chartplotter

B&G has long been putting out top-of-the-line electronics, but the new Zeus S Chartplotter is a new take on the best way to give sailors the exact information they need, when they need it. “So many more people sail shorthanded these days, whether as a couple or when they’re ...read more