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.

During much of that long night as our fine Alden schooner, Constellation, lay crippled on her side in the river, I found myself thinking of the bulls. Tim, the first mate, and I had gone to see them at the Plaza del Toros in Puerto de Santa Maria, across the bay from Cadiz, not long...
  The recent sinking of the Canadian school ship Concordia and the memory it roused in me of the earlier sinking, almost 50 years ago, of Chris Sheldon's school ship Albatross ties into a strong flood tide that has long flowed through my brain. It in fact first started flowing just about 40 years ago...
  My recent foray into Chris Eakin's A Race Too Far inspired me to re-read Gipsy Moth Circles the World, Sir Francis Chichester's account of the one-stop solo circumnavigation he undertook in 1966-67. As Eakins relates in his book, there was a great media frenzy in the U.K. on Chichester's return, and this led immediately...
  On returning from a solo cruise to Mt. Desert Island in Maine some years ago, I stopped and anchored for the evening next to an uninhabited islet off the northwest corner of Swans Island. (At least I thought it was uninhabited...) The sun was already low in the western sky, with (perhaps...) just enough...
One thing I learned early on in my bluewater sailing career is that there are, in fact, just two sorts of bluewater sailors: there are poets, who become engineers in spite of themselves, and there are engineers, who become poets in spite of themsel ves. I count myself among the former. From the very beginning,...
  And just what was I reading while cruising aboard Lunacy during the holidays? A book about sailing, of course. I gobbled this one up in no time and can recommend it highly to sailors and non-sailors alike. But first a threshold question: do we REALLY need another book about the 1968-69 Golden Globe Race???...
Lots of cruising sailors maintain blogs about their voyages and adventures. One of the best I'm aware of is written by Antonia Murphy, who sails aboard Sereia, a 36-foot Mariner ketch, with her husband Peter and toddler son Silas. They've been in New Zealand for some time, and here you see them recovering from a...
  I've just finished re-reading this gem of a book, and this has only reaffirmed my belief that it is one the very best cruising tales ever published. The author, Desmond Holdridge, is utterly obscure and long forgotten, but he was a great wordsmith and adventurer in his day. This account is of a cruise...
Three years ago next month, Jim Gray sailed out of San Francisco Bay aboard his C&C 40 >Tenacious, bound for the Farallon Islands to scatter the ashes of his dead mother at sea. Conditions were utterly benign. Gray made cellphone calls to his wife and daughter, described the dolphins playing in the water around him,...
  Most would agree that British-born W.I.B. "Gentleman Bill" Crealock was one of the most influential cruising sailboat designers of the 20th century.  Some might even say he was the most influential.  Back in the early 1970s he massaged an obsolete Eric Atkins design to help create the Westsail 32, the iconic traditional fiberglass sailboat...
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