Category

Lit Bits

Longer articles by me that treat sailing and the sea in a more literary manner, short reviews of nautical books I think readers might enjoy reading, plus occasional excerpts from nautical books that I’d like to share with readers.

Sept. 16/2022:  I was a bit surprised, while visiting my wife’s family in Ireland last month, to find my mother-in-law had just finished reading this book, a mildly scandalous first-person account of a young man’s baptism as a bluewater sailor during a transatlantic passage back in 1974. Nosing around the cover flaps and intro, I...
July 14/2022:  I must confess I had never even heard of Ralph Middleton Munroe, a.k.a. “the Commodore,” until just 12 years ago, when I test-sailed a very interesting boat called the Presto 30, designed by Rodger Martin, on Biscayne Bay during the Miami International Boat Show. I was informed at that time that this new...
May 23/22: It’s happening, my friends! My new book is in the pipe, crawling ever closer to the light at the end of the tunnel, and you can now pre-order your copy direct from the publisher: https://www.latahbooks.com/blank-1/the-boy-who-fell-to-shore The scheduled publication date is October 25. Pre-ordered books will ship no later than that date. Don’t be...
March 23/2022:  As soon as I finished reading Chris Bowman’s excellent memoir about building boats in Bequia and sailing with Bob Dylan, I was inspired to revisit this book. It is a curious volume, part cruising memoir and part scholarly treatise. Its author, Douglas C. Pyle, arrived in the islands in 1968 aboard an old...
Jan. 20/2022:  Bob Dylan is of course a famously opaque character, and one of the more opaque episodes of his life concerns a certain boat he once owned. It is almost mythical, the stuff of legend among sailors in the Caribbean today. But it is in fact true: the last large traditional schooner built on...
Dec. 16/2021:  This truly is a magnificent book. The ultimate in traditional wooden boatbuilding porn, it follows in great detail, photographically and textually, the new construction of Pellew, the largest Falmouth pilot cutter to be launched in Britain in more than 150 years. The mastermind behind the project was British builder Luke Powell, whose goal...
May 19/2021:  Editor’s Note… I was planning here to reprise a fine adventure I had back in May 2003, when I sailed from Cartagena, Colombia, to the western Caribbean islands of San Andrés and Providencia in a local race/rally called La Ruta de Morgan. My host and skipper was a very special man, Eric Thiriez,...
Dec. 18/2020:  James Wharram, who first came to notice back in the 1950s after sailing a crude homemade catamaran across the Atlantic from England to Trinidad with two occasionally (and famously) unclad women, has cut a unique trail through the firmament of modern yacht design. He has always planted his flag far outside the boundaries...
July 24/2020:  I’ve said this before, and now I’ll say it again: the book Northern Lights, by one Desmond Holdridge, first published by Viking in 1939, is one of the best, perhaps the best cruising account I have ever read. It recounts the author’s first serious venture under sail, as an 18-year-old skipper managing a...
Apr. 21/2020:  By far the most successful post ever to appear here on WaveTrain, in terms of simple traffic, was this one here, from December 2015, on the replica Viking longship Draken Harald Hårfagre (see image up top). My echoing of a call for volunteer crew to help sail the 115-foot ship transatlantic ended up...
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