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.

Beautiful photos these. Taken by a man, John Guider, who is currently rowing and sailing his way, in stages, through a circumnavigation of eastern North America aboard a 14-foot Expedition Skerry from Chesapeake Light Craft that he built himself. Right now he's in the South Carolina sea islands, a little north of Beaufort. By July...
Cast into the past to find the founding figure of bluewater feminism, the first in the line that leads to such modern-day heroines as Isabelle Autissier, Ellen MacArthur, and Samantha Davies, and you bump up hard against a woman named Ann Davison. She is remembered today, when she is remembered at all, as the first...
One nice thing about this blogging game is that you sometimes get useful feedback. For example: about two years ago I put up a post about Joshua Slocum and his bizarre homemade 35-foot dory/junk Liberdade, which he sailed from South America to the U.S. in 1888 with his family after they were shipwrecked on the...
One of the most remarkable things about sailboats is their capacity to inspire us to dream. Inside every cruising sailor's head there is a fantasy, be it of a palm-studded tropical lagoon, an antique Mediterranean harbor, some barren high-latitude fjord, or just the cove around the next headland. And all of these visions, however various,...
Yesterday was the second anniversary of the sinking of the Canadian school ship Concordia, a tragedy I will always relate to the controversial sinking just over 50 years ago of Chris Sheldon's school ship Albatross. This is a story that ties into a strong tide that has long flowed through my mind. It in fact...
I ran into Don Street at the Annapolis show and he pressed on me a copy of his latest book, Street's Guide to The Cape Verde Islands, published by Seaworthy Publications. No, this isn't some updated retread of one of Don's many earlier cruising guides. It is an entirely new book, which struck me as...
It is certainly one of the biggest cliches in the literature of boating. What the Water Rat said to the Mole: "Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing--absolutely nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." But here's a little tip. Any purportedly literate mariner who quotes that little snippet of Kenneth...
Editor’s note: Quite the exciting Fastnet Race this week! The largest race fleet since 1979, two new course records (outright record to super tri Banque Populaire; monohull record to the VO70 Abu Dhabi), plus the maxi monohull Rambler 100 (ex-Speedboat), which was en route to a record, lost its keel and capsized right at Fastnet...
(From the September 1934 issue of The Atlantic Monthly) Tuesday, October 31, 1933 I sat on deck sewing as we went through Hell Gate, feeling very much the schooner house wife (Stephen called me 'Tugboat Annie'). We anchored off the New York Yacht Club at 26th Street, and Lucius came on board for lunch. He...
Editor's note: Some more true adventures of and by Lt. Scurvy Bastard, USN. The sequel and conclusion to the recently discovered 19th century Barbary War memoir the first part of which was published here on March 22. WHEN we fetched back to Sicily the morning of 19 February 1804, three days after torching the frigate...
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