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Sailing Down the Moonbeam

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  88 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
With a destination loosely defined as the rest of the world, Mary and her husband Tom leave family, friends and successful careers for a multi-year sailing voyage.

As the voyage takes her farther and farther from her traditional support systems, her world becomes more and more defined by forces outside her control. Mary's travels through often uncharted island communities,
Kindle Edition, 2nd Edition, 212 pages
Published September 2nd 2010 by Rising Sun Press (first published July 1st 2008)
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J.P. Lane
Oct 17, 2012 J.P. Lane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've just revised my method of ranking books by stars, so before I say what I think of this book please note that 5-stars from me = literary excellence (Pulitzer Prize material); 4-stars = well written and very enjoyable. Sailing Down the Moonbeam is not only well written, it's one of the most enjoyable books I've read this year. Being a traveler myself, I found Mary Gottchalk's account of her and her husband's voyage from New York to New Zealand in their 37-ft. sailboat Salieri so descriptive i ...more
Rachelle Ayala
Mar 01, 2013 Rachelle Ayala rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bravo! This was more than a sailing adventure, but a journey of personal discovery. Sometimes we don't want to look to closely at our lives, fearful of what we may discover. For Mary and Tom, their well ordered Wall Street life provided them with the perfect avenue to leading parallel and superficial lives, one populated by schedules, routines, predictable events and social gatherings. When they threw off the shackles of corporate life to take a dream sailing trip, they were forced to really kno ...more
Dec 02, 2012 Penelope rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
This well-written, highly involving book has as its premise how a voyage can be a metaphor for a marriage. Two successful New York executives, Mary and Tom, leave high-powered jobs and security to sail across the Pacific in their boat, Salieri. The voyage lasts 4 years, covers a total of 13,612 miles, and ends in Auckland, New Zealand.

The trip is off to a rocky start, with both sailing problems and personal disagreements, but by the time the couple reach Panama, where they stay for six months, t
P.C. Zick
Mar 13, 2013 P.C. Zick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book would be a travel memoir, but instead I discovered the book is the memoir of a marriage with the travel providing the setting and the sailing serving as a metaphor for the troubled relationship.

Mary and Tom decide to set sail from New York City for five years. Idealistic, romantic, and downright scared at times, they do what many of us only talk about doing if we won the lottery. When I told my husband the basic premise of the book, he asked, “Are they still married?” I told
Susan Weidener
Nov 06, 2012 Susan Weidener rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not a sailor, don't know anything about sailboats, but that didn't stop me from enjoying Mary Gottschalk's memoir about sailing the Pacific with her husband, Tom. Early on in the story, you learn that Mary and Tom are more than ready to leave corporate America behind, take the plunge and do what they have always dreamed of doing - "cruising" the Pacific. Even the name of their yacht - Salieri - harkens to a shared belief that like the composer who always stood in the shadow of Mozart's brill ...more
Kathleen Pooler
Nov 17, 2012 Kathleen Pooler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I knew Sailing Down the Moonbeam by Mary Gottschalk was going to be a compelling story before I even read the first word. First of all, I know nothing about sailing so I was curious and second, the notion of leaving a corporate job to sail around the world is intriguing, something dreams are made of. To say that it would take courage is an understatement. So while I expected an exciting, romantic adventure, I found myself mesmerized as much by Mary’s inner journey as I did by her detailed guide ...more
Katherine Sartori
Author Mary Gottschalk travels 13,612 miles in three years by sailboat in her memoir SAILING DOWN THE MOONBEAM, but her story relates many interior storms of the heart as well. Masterfully, Gottschalk contrasts and compares her joys, her determined hopes and difficult realizations, plus the intermittent fears and heartaches of her inner and outer journeys.

I’ve only gone sailing on rare occasions, so most of Gottschalk’s descriptions of the rigors of managing a sailboat, though excellent, are not
Nov 23, 2012 Sherrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Mary Gottschalk in her memoir, Sailing Down the Moonbeam, traverses two journeys -- a five-year sailing adventure and a journey of self-discovery. Leaving behind everything they know, Gottschalk and her husband, Tom, decide to put everything on hold and strike out on an adventure most of us never contemplate.

Aboard their vessel, Salieri, Gottschalk not only increases her sailing knowledge but she begins to understand the impact of her childhood on her personality and in her marriage. The difficu
C.L.R. Dougherty
Dec 18, 2012 C.L.R. Dougherty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Many couples share the dream of running away to sea, spending endless days together sailing peacefully through soothing waters under perfect blue skies that fill with stars after each day ends in a spectacular sunset. Sailing Down the Moonbeam should be required reading for all of them. It’s a well-written recollection of the experiences that one couple had when they went to sea in pursuit of their dream.

Mary Gottschalk paints vivid images of the glorious days and starry nights, interspersed wi
Megan Cutler
Jul 17, 2012 Megan Cutler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Had I read this book at any other time in my life, it may not have touched me as deeply. Some books come to us when it's time. Shortly after I decided to read this book my husband and I made the life-changing decision to move across the ocean from Canada to England, and I read this book shortly thereafter. The initial stages of the journey described by the author in this book hit very close to home in many ways.

This book reads much like a journal (which makes sense, given it's the true story of
Sonia Marsh
Feb 15, 2014 Sonia Marsh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mary Gottschalk has a gift of making her reader feel all the emotions she went through during her three-year journey with her husband Tom. The love, fear, anxiety, depression and even boredom, she experienced.

This memoir has so many layers which is what makes it interesting and different. Mary shares everything she'd going through; from the changes in her relationship with her husband, the way she had to keep her mouth shut when her husband insisted he had everything under control, yet Mary knew
Rossana Condoleo
Sep 13, 2013 Rossana Condoleo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sailing, travels
A Life Journey

This is a life journey and not a log book. And this is the reason why I was able to read it up to the end, although sailing around the world is neither among my present hobbies nor among my future projects.
I love Mary Gottschalk's outspokenness and her neat, clean writing style. She is detailed, but not verbose, so that reading her book was pure pleasure.

The Husband-Wife relationship of the two well positioned New Yorkers could work so well if a boat and the unknown hadn't put it t
Belinda Nicoll
Nov 16, 2012 Belinda Nicoll rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gottschalk's memoir is an easy and interesting read. Not only did I learn a lot about sailing but I could relate to her belated rite-of-passage that resulted in clarity about her failed marriage and finding her true self. Whatever solution might be obvious to outsiders is not always clear to the one experiencing the issue. Self-doubt was a big culprit in the earlier life of the author - I find that very credible. Some time after the couple's sea voyage had come to an end, they still go a few lap ...more
Alexandrea Hills
I won this book through Goodreads giveaways.

I enjoyed Mary's style of writing. She went on an amazing adventure and I'm happy that she wrote about it. It was nice to hear both the good and the bad that she experienced while sailing. I think that it is very brave and uplifting that she was able to write about how she changed and grew as a person.

I've never been sailing so somethings I got bogged down with the sailing jargon. I had to look a few things up to know what Mary was referring to but ot
Larry Dunlap
Oct 02, 2013 Larry Dunlap rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very nicely written memoir, and I really enjoyed it. Since I'm writing in this vein and have been reading a lot of memoir, biography, and memoir-disguised-as-fiction, I'm probably a little critical. When I stacked it up against some of the really great memoirs that I had to give a five, I couldn't in conscience go with more than a four star review. On the other hand, if you're looking for an interesting and fun read, you can't go wrong with this book.
Nov 03, 2009 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At one time or another, most people think about chucking it all to sail around the world. But ultimately few of us are willing to risk everything. Mary Gottschalk and her husband Tom actually did it. Yes, it's a memoir. Yes, it's an adventure story. But mostly this book is about being willing to take risks and discovering that you live and learn and grow when you let go. A great read. I know the author.
I received this book from the First Reads program.

While I felt the author's emotional upheaval through the sailing trip with her husband, I never connected with her as I felt I should as a reader. It appeared to me she knew from the get-go she never should have taken the trip and almost abandoned it before entering high seas. while she learned much about herself, as a reader I didn't necessarily find much of interest to keep me wanting to continue on to each chapter.
Deb B.
Jul 30, 2012 Deb B. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book started out so good. And then it all went downhill.

I realize it's a true story, and that life doesn't always end up the way we want... but ... really?

That being said, I wish Mary well. I hope she finds the things she is looking for in life. She's on her way... THAT makes me happy.
Oct 14, 2011 Lorelei rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book -- the author's thoughtful and well-written memoir describes not only the challenges and joys of sailing around the world, but the challenges and joys of finding your true self. Her geographic and personal journeys, while unique and skillfully intertwined, are also journeys that many can strongly relate to.
Sep 27, 2012 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an exciting, smoothly written memoir, rich in visual images, with plenty of adventure and anxiety-producing situations. Events that made the author's pulse race made mine race too. The memoir is also the story of an up-and-down marriage that kept my husband and me guessing and talking abut it till the end.
Dec 15, 2012 Sabrina rated it liked it
Pushing the pause button on life to sail around the world sounds like a truly romantic idea. However, Mary Gottschalk's memoir reminds us nothing is easy. From boat to relationship repairs, this book is something that will strike a chord with everyone.
Jul 24, 2012 Chandra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: misc-fiction
My parents sail so I was interested in reading about life on a boat...I cant imagine the amount of cohesiveness that is needed. The marital challenges hit too close to home. I felt like I could see it coming...if only it were always that easy. I hope Mary found her happiness...
Sep 09, 2010 Joanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful trip through the trials and tribulations of a gutsy couple taking a chance on adventure. Gottschalk gives a truly deep account of her transformational experience. Just wait till you get to the dolphins guiding the boat... Breathtaking.
May 28, 2012 Shirley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: won-giveaway
I am so pleased I won this book! This sounds like an amazing adventure - one which I would love to have myself... I'm so looking forward to receiving it. Thank you Mary!
Jun 22, 2012 Danics rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
Very interesting narrative about a sailing trip across the Pacific Ocean, told in first person by Mary herself. Very well told and with a mix of romance.
May 31, 2012 Kathryn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Complete lack of description and feeling for all of the locations visited. Very disappointing and rather aimless.
Jun 28, 2012 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good non-fiction story about sailing across the Pacific and the challenges on a relationship. I won't ever do that in this lifetime.
Nov 12, 2008 Darlene rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A true story by a Des Moines author. It details the adventure she and her husband undertook to "chuck it all and sail."
May 18, 2013 Robyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good book. It was a fast read. While it did have a lot of details of the trip, it was much more than that. There was some sail talk, it was more about her life experience.
Kay rated it liked it
Feb 17, 2015
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Mary has made a career out of changing careers. Her mantra comes from Ray Bradbury: "Jump off the cliff and grow your wings on the way down!"

Mary spent nearly thirty years in the financial markets, first in New York, and then in New Zealand, Australia, Central America, Europe, and amazingly, Des Moines, Iowa.

Along the way, she dropped out several times, once to embark on the three-year sailing vo
More about Mary Gottschalk...

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