Sarah P’s comments: This book was originally released in 1977, way before Stuart Woods became a bestselling author. In fact, he was supposed to be writing his first novel when about a hundred pages into the book, he discovered sailing, and “everything went to hell. All I did was sail.”
The book was re-released in 2012 and suddenly all sorts of non-sailors were calling it a rip-roaring read. Well, sort of. It’s really a fairly standard sailing book of the era but what does make is interesting is that Stuart has a sense of humor and how he goes from dinghy sailing to crossing an ocean does make for interesting reading.
YouTube Video Review of the Book
‘...it is all too easy to bandy about a few technical terms and give someone the impression that you know more than you do. This is done every day in yacht club bars.’
‘Many human beings need adventure, real adventure, personal adventure and sometimes, as in my case, solitary adventure.’
‘Some men and women have always needed [adventure], finding their own physical limits without the aids of bearers and sherpa guides, searching out their own emotional and spiritual boundaries in places where there is no one to answer to but God. As our society grows and our environment shrinks, there will be more and more little men [and women] who will wish to deny us that…they must be ignored.’
Reading while underway…
Sarah P’s comments: Another contender in the infamous first Golden Globe Race of 1969 was Bernard Moitessier. I’d heard of him but never read his books until I read A Voyage for Madmen. When I learned that he could have won but chose to keep sailing instead, I immediately checked out The Long Way, his story about the race. This is a classic from a classic sailor…
Video about Moitessier including interviews
‘And go on deck more often, regardless of weather. Many things are cured by wind and sea, if you stay on deck with them long enough.’
‘I think all those that go to sea prefer the moon to the sun.’
‘To have the time…to have the choice…not knowing what you are heading for and just going there anyway…’
‘It is here, in the immense desert of the Southern Ocean, that I feel most strongly how much man is both atom and God.’
Moitessier on board ‘Joshua’
Sarah P’s comments: Dove is the story of Robin Lee Graham’s solo circumnavigation. At the time his story was sensational because of his age; he was only sixteen when he set off (from California) in 1965. His exploits were chronicled in National Geographic and his story became a movie in 1974. Since then he has been followed by ever younger sailors which has caused questions to be raised about whether this is ethical. Whatever you think about it, their adventures make for good reading, starting with Dove. (I will be writing more about the others in subsequent posts.)
YouTube movie: The Dove
SAIL article: Robin Lee Graham on the Latest Teen Circumnavs
Wikipedia List of youth solo sailing circumnavigations
Life would be pretty monotonous if the sky was always blue.
At sea, I learned how little a person needs, not how much.
Happiness has no frontiers, that it’s a state of mind and not a possession, not a set route through life, not a goal to be gained but something that steals in gently like an evening mist or the morning sunlight—something beyond our control.