There’s nothing like a good book, whether you’re on passage or just hanging out in the cockpit at the marina. For those in search of a summer read, there are a number of great new titles to choose from.
For those with a taste for biography, there’s Herb McCormick’s As Long as It’s Fun, the story of Lin and Larry Pardey, and the twists and turns their lives have taken in the course of their 200,000 miles under sail. Whether it’s building their own boat or crossing oceans, this couple has done it all and the book truly serves as a living testament to their personal philosophy of “Go simple, go small, go now.” Paradise Cay Publications, paracay.com, $18.95
At the other end of the spectrum of mariners is Hobie Cat founder, Hobart “Hobie” Alter, who passed away this past March (see Eight Bells; Hobie Alter) and whose exploits are document in Hobie: Master of Water, Wind and Waves, by Paul Holmes. A surfer-dude through and through, Alter made a name for himself shaping long boards before creating the 14-foot beach cat that would go on to change the sailing world. Packed with photos, the book provides a wonderful glimpse into both the Southern California beach scene and the early days of a new sailing ethos. Croul Publications LLC, croulpublications.com, $60
Of course, no list of marine titles would be complete without some storms at sea, and John Kretschmer’s Sailing a Serious Ocean and Michael Tougais and Douglas Campbell’s Rescue of the Bounty are two outstanding examples of this genre.
Sailing a Serious Ocean is especially satisfying, because it’s not just a collection of blood and guts sailing yarns, but a discussion of life offshore in general—there’s even a substantial section devoted to how Kretschmer found (and named) his current ride, the 47-foot Quetzal—all presented in the author’s own inimitable style. International Marine, internationalmarine.com, $24
Rescue of the Bounty, as the name indicates, is the story of the sinking of the tall ship Bounty during Hurricane Sandy, in 2012. The fact that this story hews closely to the well-established format that is the typical “tragedy at sea” tale makes it no less compelling. This is one of those books in which the sense of dread is palpable. Simon & Schuster, simonandschuster.com, $25
Meanwhile, for the old salts in the audience there’s David Barrie’s Sextant: A Young Man’s Daring Sea Voyage and the Men Who Mapped the World’s Oceans; and Kings Marauder by Dewey Lambdin.
If you have even the slightest interest in history and mariners of old, Barrie’s Sextant is a must-read. Told through both his own personal experiences at sea and those of such mariners as Joshua Slocum and Capt. Cook, it makes for a compelling story that just might finally motivate even the laziest of us to figure out how one of those things works. William Morrow, sextantbook.wordpress.com, $25.99
Finally, there’s Dewey Lambdin’s Kings Marauder, the latest installment in the Alan Lewrie series. This time around, Lewrie not only has to contend with a crippling leg wound (a souvenir from an earlier engagement in Hostile Shores) but his current command is a pig of a boat at sea and his girlfriend isn’t talking to him anymore. “Mine arse in a bandbox!” as Lewrie would surely say. Luckily, his troubles make for great reading for the rest of us. St. Martin’s Press, stmartins.com, $25.99
None of the above strike your fancy? Here are three other titles worth checking out:
Escape from Ensenada,
by Harris T. Vincent: a light-hearted novel about three West Coast sailors on an adventure south of the border.
$18.31 (paperback) www.harristvincent.com
The Kennedys, a Sailboat, and the Sea, by James W. Graham: the story of four generations of the Kennedy clan and their love affair with the sloop Victura.
Rough Passage to London,
by Robin Lloyd: a fictionalized accounted of a real square-rigger sailor named Capt. Elisha Ely Morgan.
$18.27 (hardcover) www.robinlloyd.org