What a charming book this is! A slim volume, but with a surprising variety of material in it. There’s a good deal of standard-issue practical advice you might find in other marine how-to tomes, but here you find it steeped and strongly marinated in a special sauce unique to Doug Logan. I’ve known the lad ever since we toiled together some 20 years ago at the Sailing Company (he on the Sailing World staff, I at Cruising World) and have followed his career ever since. He’s worked on powerboat comics, sailboat comics, currently works with a diverse collection of marine websites, and is one of the more widely experienced marine editor/writers of our generation.
For all his experience and excellent writing chops, Doug is a humble soul, never one to paint himself as an expert, and very down to earth. The sort who does not set out to exterminate the rat he finds on his boat while living aboard at City Island in his younger days, but to negotiate with it:
A rat faced me down once when I was on the gangway headed to the dock. He was already on his way up. We both stopped. I took another step forward, then he took another step forward. He was a big rat, as well-nourished dock rats tend to be, and after a short standoff I backed away and let him come up. He was pretty stately about it, too.
One very interesting thing I learned about Doug reading this book is that he is obsessed with buckets. Never would have guessed it; he really does come across as a normal guy. But how do we account for this???
The other day, friends came over to repo the sofa they’d left with us for a couple of years. Now there’s a big open space in our living room, and my wife is thinking of a way to fill it. I keep telling her that we already have a chair, and if she needs it where the sofa used to be, I’ll be glad to move it over for a while if someone wants to sit there. Better yet, we could get three or four buckets and put boat cushions on top. That way we’d have… more buckets! Also spare throwable devices. Or maybe three buckets, up-ended, with folded beach towels on top. Sure, that’s the ticket.
Or consider Doug’s singular perspective on tools:
For many of us, tools, like rope, are things we can’t get enough of. When you mangle things on boats yourself, you need a good selection of harmful tools. In impatient hands, for example, a set of locking pliers (ViseGrips) is surely the most destructive device known to man, outside the thermonuclear range. I keep three sets, big, small, and needle-nose (for crushing more delicate objects).
So no, I can’t recommend you read this book for the information in it. You should really read it to revel in the essence of Doug–thoughtful, surprising, and entertaining. And along the way, I promise, you will pick up a fair bit of useful knowledge.
BoatSense: Lessons and Yarns from a Marine Writer’s Life Afloat
Seapoint Books (2019), $17.95