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.

April 12/2024:  First things first. A short profile I wrote on Daniel Hays and his semi-famous boat Sparrow appears in the most recent (May 2024) print issue of SAIL. It ends with a postscript (complete with Dan’s e-mail address) that he is looking to sell the boat. But if you think you might be interested…...
Jan. 11/2024:  Here’s one of the more interesting things that has happened to me since the publication of The Boy Who Fell to Shore, my biography of Thomas Tangvald, October before last. This past November a woman named Suzanne Heywood reached out to me, wanting to talk about children raised on cruising boats. She had...
April 24/2023:  The strange true story of Thomas Tangvald, a boy who was born at sea and was raised on a cruising sailboat, but then was orphaned in a terrible wreck in the Caribbean, has captured the imaginations of both sailors and non-sailors alike. I’ll be at the Spaulding Marine Center in Sausalito at 7pm...
“Lyrical, engaging, and true,” writes prize-winning historian W. Jeffrey Bolster of my biography of Thomas Tangvald, The Boy Who Fell to Shore, recently published by Latah Books. “Doane reconstructs the searing tragedy, apparent resilience, and ultimate vulnerability of a brilliant young man better suited to navigating the sea than life itself. It’s gripping—a thriller to...
Jan. 25/2023:  You absolutely cannot make this stuff up! The true story of Thomas Tangvald—born and raised at sea, orphaned in a wreck and cast ashore at age 15—is finding traction with both sailors and land folk fascinated by “the freedom one finds in any life close to nature.” As previously mentioned, I have many...
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...
August 17/2022:  In May 2014 Thomas Tangvald raced his 17-foot Puerto Rican “mini-nativo” sloop Buenadaga in Foxy’s Wooden Boat Regatta at Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands. This was the popular regatta’s 30th anniversary, so there was a big crowd there. In the photo up top you see Thomas racing the boat singlehanded,...
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...
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