797.14 Nic (c2001)*

A Voyage for MadmenSarah P’s comments: This book is a gripping account of the 1968 first ever Golden Globe Race in which nine sailors set off to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe nonstop. It had never been done and ten months later, only one of the nine men would cross the finish line and earn fame, wealth, and glory. For the others, the reward was madness, failure, and death.

How’s that for a plotline? A fascinating read even for those not interested in sailing books. This story has risen to the top of my list of blog posts because just this year they released a movie about one of the sailors in it.

British businessman, Donald Crowhurst entered the race with little funding and even less sailing knowledge. His start was difficult and things went downhill from there. The movie is aptly (in my opinion) named The Mercy and stars Colin Firth, which fact alone is enough to make me want to view it.

However, I would encourage you to read the book because A Voyage for Madmen tells the story of all the racers, the two which I found most fascinating being; Robin Knox-Johnston and the infamous Bernard Moitessier. In fact, it was reading the details of Moitessier’s race, that led me to deciding I had to read his books…

In the next few blog posts, I will share the books that these sailors have written.

Quotes:

They can’t answer the question why. They can’t make people who couldn’t do what they do – understand.

*I completely disagree with this cataloguing choice. This is adventure of the tallest order which is 910.4 not 797.14 (boating)!WaterBug letters

 

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781.5 Qui (c1997-2005)

Sarah P’s comments: Music about the sea tends to be sea shanties or modern romantic (Southern Cross – Crosby, Stills & Nash, etc.).  Good but…

And then I found Eileen Quinn – who has five CD’s of music about cruising, sailing andEileen Quinn the sea that is original, relevant, funny, and sung with a great voice.

How I find Eileen: We were hauled out at McCotter’s Boatyard in Washington, NC slogging through a long list of ‘must-be-done’ or projects. Somewhere along we had a chat with someone else there doing boatwork (part of the whole boatyard scene is chatting…) where the ‘people don’t understand this love of boats thing’ came up and one sailor scoffed, “Oh, their just dirt-dwellers!”

What a fabulous word! Beats ‘landlubbers’ by a mile. I just had to look it up…and Eileen Quinn’s song ‘Dirt Dweller’ popped up as one of the first links. Hilarious. So, I spent the rest of the night tracking down all her music and the next day, as we sweat and swore our way through some awful, crappy project, we listened and loved her even more.

Best for the day was ‘The Hard’ because it exactly describes the boatyard scene…but really, her stuff is ALL good. Sadly, Eileen has now passed but her music lives on timelessly. Out of deference to her as an artist, and being a bit old-fashioned, I purchased her CD’s, however most of her music is available via YouTube.

YouTube Playlist (61 songs)

Lyrics:

THE HARD

Refrain:
It’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, Lord it’s a hard.
It’s hard, hard life, life on the hard.

Sun and salt take their toll on the boat and me.
She needs a coat of bottom paint and a little TLC.
Ain’t no way around it, gotta haul out on the land.
It’s time to go cruisin’ in the working yard.

Scraping off the bottom paint and sanding down the hull
Shortening my life span with some toxic chemical.
Sanding off my fingertips along with all the paint.
It’s good to see a job well done but darling fun it ain’t!

Varnishing my brightwork, what a pretty boat.
Now the guy upwind, has just begun to grind off his gelcoat.
So I sand again, coat again, look’s wonderful…
Just in time to take the overspray when he paints his hull.

Midnight down the ladder to the johnny-on-the-spot.
Hope they keep the Doberman locked in the long-term loft.
Now the night watchman is trigger happy, hope he don’t shoot me.
Hate to think I bought it, going for a pee.

For every job crossed off my list, I seem to add two more.
I blinked and one week in the yard somehow turned into four.
With a credit card and a little luck, soon we’ll be afloat.
Please mister lift-driver, please don’t drop my boat!