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Three Ways to Capsize a Boat: An Optimist Afloat

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  795 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
Chris Stewart had a long and eclectic list of jobs.  From some of the most glamorous careers – he was original drummer in Genesis - to the more offbeat - a sheep shearer and circus performer - he had done it all…or almost all.  So when he is offered the chance to captain a sailboat in the Greek islands one summer, something he had never done before, he jumps at the chance. ...more
ebook, 192 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by Broadway Books (first published May 28th 2009)
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Feb 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very funny... I admire his spirit and utter disregard for his life, lol. I've never been on a sailboat, but this was very inspiring and made me want to go test out my sealegs. Even when he was describing the terrible storms they sailed through, instead of being deterred, I wanted to experience it myself even more. Either he has a gift for writing or I have an equal disregard for my life...
Philip Whiteland
Having read and enjoyed Chris Stewart's 'Driving Over Lemons' memoir, I grabbed this book when it came on offer. This is really two stories, one retelling how he came to learn to sail by the simple expedient of having volunteered to skipper an elderly American couple around the Greek Isles despite having no relevant experience. The second recounts a hazardous journey following the steps of the Vikings when they discovered North America. I'm no sailor, so I probably didn't get the full benefit of ...more
Erin Hendrian
Jul 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leisure
Puzzling. The book is marketed as funny, and the situations the author finds himself in are often comical, but he doesn't quite seem to take advantage of the material - I found myself always waiting for a laugh and never quite reaching any punchline. So, perhaps he isn't one for comic timing and it's more of a travel book. Once I adapted I found the descriptions of the places and the sailing quite enjoyable (the transatlantic journey was especially interesting). Unfortunately, the scattered lang ...more
Mr. Wakiki
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sailing
Nice fun boat, not exactly sure how the book related to the title, not that there wasn't capsizing in the book
One of my all-time favourite travel books is by Chris Stewart.

I think a great writer can make almost anything sound interesting — mainly because they have an innate interest in everything about their lives. And the bonus about Stewart is that he’s not afraid to make fun of himself. While his books aren’t exactly laugh-out-loud-funny, they put a smile on my face.

I think the fact that I loved “Driving Over Lemons” so much was the main reason I bought “Three Ways to Capsize A Boat” — which brings m
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wise woman by the name of "Mom" once told me that the night before an exam, you must go out to the movies. Well, I couldn't very well do that tonight; I read this wonderful little book instead.

The other parents in the gymnastics viewing room may have found me a little odd, sitting in the front row of plastic chairs, shaking silently (attempting to do it silently anyway!) with laughter.

Three Ways to Capsize a Boat is funny. The stories are funny,the writing is funny, and I probably looked a lit
Clare O'Beara
This short, fun and light read makes us marvel that the author survived. With no sailing experience he gets a job from a rich relative to skipper her little yacht around the Med for her. Snag; the boat is laid up in a shipyard and nobody in Greece has any interest in doing the work.

By this time the author has sensibly taken a day's sailing opportunity and a short instruction course near the Isle of Wight. He's got the glimmering of an idea that matters can go very wrong and he would be a long w
Jun 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, the-sea, memoir
During my beginner sailing lessons at the lake this month, we do "capsize drills" that help me understand what to do not IF but WHEN! Ha! Anyway, the title of this book grabbed my attention and did not disappoint.

The author provides personal stories about sailing, beginning when he was completely unfamiliar with nautical terms and situations (again, I can relate!) and on to his voyage as crew across an unrelenting ocean. Along the way he's thoughtful and funny.

p. 68 "And the beauty, the incomp
Christine Blachford
Short and sweet, this book illustrates the author's transition from sheep farmer and reluctant sailer to hardened adventurer crossing the Norwegian fjords and beyond. From the first tentative steps on board a sailing boat with a friend, through proper instruction, to the warmth of a Greek summer, and then the real challenge of an Icelandic adventure with friends, you get to feel how his spirit evolves through every stage.

It's well written, wide-eyed and romantic, but equally realistic and funny
"Far and few, few and far, / Are the lands where the Jumblies live; / Their heads are green, and their hands are blue, / And they went to see in a Sieve." There's a good reason Chris Stewart quotes this Edward Lear verse several times in this book--his two sailing stories here seem almost as foolish as going to sea in a sieve. In the first one, through some odd, never explained miscommunication, he is offered the job of captaining a yacht around the Greek islands one summer, EVEN THOUGH HE HAS N ...more
Louise Jones
Apr 25, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy, trvel
I had heard a lot about this writer with his lemon tree book so was interested to have a read i was slightly dissapointed with it as although raised a few smirks not many!! i got more into it as read deeper in to the waters but at times especially at the begining slightly tedious but was a quickish read so never wasted to much time would be interested to read his other stuff saying all that i am not a sailor always glad to get off the ferry going over the mersey !!!
Nov 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good-for-a-laugh
It wasn't as funny as I had expected it to be, but it was a well written story about his epic adventures in sailing which I love. This was a quick, easy read that you expect to be about his bumbling adventures at sea but it turns out that overall he's a competent and fearless sailor, given the circumstances. So I found the title to be a tad misleading but other than that, this was a captivating story.

Sailing across oceans? Living in Spain (Driving Over Lemons)? Former member of a famous rock ba
Jan 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love books about boats and sailing and although not quite an armchair sailor my sailing experience does tend to be confined to rivers or hugging the coastlines of Greek Islands so I am filled with awe when I read about exploits such as the author's journey from the UK to Newfoundland across the North Atlantic in a vintage sailing boat.
I have been vaguely aware of Chris Stewart's bestsellers about his life as a farmer in a remote part of Spain and based on this book (which was written later alt
Oct 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting look at one man's adventures in sailing. I have always had a love of the sea and a desire to spend some time on a sail boat. After learning to sail with this author, adventures in the Greek Islands, and being lost at sea in the middle of a tremendous storm in the North Atlantic, I am satisfied with dry land. The descriptions of the sea and the loneliness of being in the middle of water at night on watch were haunting. The discussion of sanitary conditions was amusing. And the whol ...more
Peter Butt
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have never laughed so much - I was crying with laughter at some of the situations nearer the beginning of the book - probably because I do sail and have been in similar situations and at the time I was reading it on my boat halfway through a trip a long the French coast. It really is like two books and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Unfortunately I lent it to someone who has lost it and I would love to read it again.
Jun 29, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book started off really well - amusing little piece about travelling to Greece to skipper a lady's boat for her - repairing the work left undone by someone who had been paid to do the work, etc...charming in places but not really enough of any substance. If you fancy a light, mildly amusing read about a bit of sailing in Greece and later up into the Arctic, this is for you...but you won't be missing too much if you find life is too short to bother....
Jun 15, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
a fairly thin, but amusing tale of English wanker trying his hand in the sheets. Chris Stewart wrote a very good book called "driving over lemons" about moving to southern Spain and starting a farm. In this he describes getting a job captaining a crabber for a rich family in Greece, then getting a berth with his sailing instructor to sail from GB to newfoundland, following the viking route to vinland.
Sep 20, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Middling-to-fair. Author seems to recognize that he's only getting to publish this book because his last one was a hit, which is humble enough. It's like having a few drinks with a British man and listening to him go on about his sea stories, only he's a bit too drunk to notice when you're bored so he rambles. I think I picked it up when I was really into travelogues and just got around to it now.
Heather Cawte
Jun 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I do love a book that entertains me while informing me!

As well as a very engaging memoir about his problems and triumphs while learning to sail, this book is a really evocative account of sailing in the Aegean, and in the North Atlantic.

He finds the humour in every situation - frequently at his own expense - but also writes vividly and enlighteningly about his experiences. I was captivated by this book, and I'm off to find his others...
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Disappointing. Stewart has seemingly run out of material and this book is a bit of a mess, a patchwork of memories which he tries to stitch together into a linked narrative, but fails in doing so. I liked his other books, but this race has been run methinks. If an aspiring author went to a publisher with this it wouldn't get published - tenuous connection to Genesis or no ...
A fun and quick read. Stewart agreed to learn how to sail to have a fun summer job and continued to love to sail regardless of the many misadventures he encounters. I was drawn in by the witty British humor at the start and found the author engaging and intelligent...but the humor dwindled midway. Still a fun book but I wish it stayed as funny.
El Segoviano
No hace demasiado tiempo que lo leí, unos 3 años y mas o menos recuerdo su contenido.
Es entretenido, de humor y sirve para pasar un rato sin problemas,
Típico humor ingles sin grandes alharacas. No se puede decir que el libro esté mal escrito pero vamos para un rato y poco mas , sin grandes maravillas.
SJH (A Dream of Books)
I didn't enjoy this as much as Chris Stewart's other books so I've only given it 3/5. What I like most about his writing is that it's so funny and his anecdotes seem so real they leap off of the page. I laughed myself silly in a couple of bits but I perhaps would have preferred less of the technical boat lingo.
Sep 11, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read any of this author's other books. I wouldn't bother with this one if you're not interested in sailing (I am). Don't expect Bill Bryson - there is the odd moment of humour but this is by no means "a funny book". Just a thrown together account of several sailing adventures. Perhaps he just wanted to raise a few quid to buy some more livestock for his farm.
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining.
Chris Stewart put himself forward to do a job he had no experience of - and not not only got away with it, he sold us a book about it!
I thoroughly enjoyed Driving Over Lemons which also proves that to get what you want out of life, you have to stick your neck out and go for it.
He's the embodiment of an 'in at the deep end' mentality. I admire him for that.
Jun 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sailing-boats
I enjoyed it, especially the part about Stewart's trip to Newfoundland. Some good lines in here, too -- I should probably pull out some quotes. My boyfriend was a bit disappointed, and wanted more from the book. For instance, he felt like covering the trip to Iceland in two pages (or was that two paragraphs?) was a bit weak.
Jeff Klein
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By the same author as the Driving Over Lemons series, but a completely different locale. In fact, it is really three books in one. 1) Learning to sail in England, 2) A job skippering a boat in Greece, and 3) A sailing from the UK to the New World.
Chris Stewart is an enjoyable essayist, with a wry - British - sense of humor (or is it humour?).
Part One - Competent Crew. Teach Yourself Sailing. It was Julie Miller who sent me to sea, one wet autumn afternoon on the Wandsworth Road.

A pleasant way to spend a blastingly hot summer afternoon but I would not recommend it on to anyone. Read like a shallow sunday magazine piece.
Jan 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an ideal read-aloud for my dad and me. It was funny, light, and well-suited to our shared interest in (but lack of experience with) sailing. It wasn't without its flaws, though, and I'm not sure I'd have enjoyed it nearly as much had I read it on my own.
Mar 06, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sorta funny. A review on the cover says he's funnier than Bill Bryson. I think he's not funnier, but probably just a little better at screwing up in dramatic fashion. My cover was different: it featured a capsized boat, and the arm of a drowning man holding a sign with the title on it.
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Christopher 'Chris' Stewart (born 1951), was the original drummer and a founding member of Genesis. He is now a farmer and an author. A classmate of Tony Banks and Peter Gabriel at Charterhouse School, Stewart joined them in a school band called The Garden Wall, and they later formed another band with schoolmates Mike Rutherford and Anthony Phillips, called Anon. This band eventually became Genesi ...more
More about Chris Stewart...

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“He pulled the tiller and shouted the words, "Ready about ... LEE HO!" I stared at him incredulously. What sort of things was that for one sensible adult to shout at another?” 2 likes
“I figured that the way to get an undertaking like this on the move was to throw some cold beer at it...” 2 likes
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