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Books > Sailing Stories I Recommend

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message 1: by Debbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:56PM) (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Looks very interesting :). Thanks for posting this!

message 2: by Peggy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:57PM) (new)

Peggy | 5 comments That does sound interesting! I'll recommend 8 Men and a Duck by Nick Thorpe, which is about a modern crew (of haphazard, not-so-bright men) who build a reed boat and attempt to sail from South America to Easter Island. I'll also recommend a book by Chris Roberson called Set the Seas on Fire, which is an Age of Sail tale with a bit of a horror story along the way. Chris is a bear for research, so all of the language is authentic and appropriate to the period. And if the idea of weird horror mixed with sailing ships turns you on, try Dan Simmons' epic The Terror, about ships trapped in Arctic ice menaced by a huge horror.

message 3: by Debbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:57PM) (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Excellent! Keep these recommendations coming, folks :).

And don't forget to add the books you recommend to the group's shelves.

message 4: by Nico (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:58PM) (new)

Nico | 3 comments Hello, I am new to this board but not to the world of ocean literature. While I've read a lot of O'Brian what interests me more are the actual accounts of sailors heading out across the seas; what could be more fantastic than the open waters? I have sailed extendivly, piloting at one time a small thirty foot boat from Newburyport, Mass to Denmark. To that end, and following up on the Slocum reccomendation, I'd highly reccomend Bernard Moitiessier's book The Long Way. I've added it to the bookshelf, and I think it is a fanastic read. It is the account of Moitiessier's involvement in the 1969 race around the world, the first of its kind. Moitiessier was in the lead for the race, with the best boat and the most experience; rounding Cape Horn after eight months alone at sea, he decided he wasn't ready to see people yet, and so he sailed around again, settling eventually in Tahiti where he spent the rest of his days.

message 5: by Debbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:58PM) (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Hi Nico :). Thanks for the recommendation. Seriously, he went round AGAIN?


message 6: by Nico (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:59PM) (new)

Nico | 3 comments Yes, for reall Squirel, he went around again. Or very nearly, three quarters really until he reached Tahiti. The race itself was an amazing feat—there were two prizes, one for the first person to accomplish it, and the second for the fastest time. There are a few other books that relate to this, also very fine. First there is the very dark story of Donald Crowhurst called "The Strange Last Voyage of Donal Crowhurst" which details the stunning deception and ultimate suicide of Crowhurst during the race. Remember, this is in the time before GPS and SatPhones. For an overview of the race there is a fine book written by Peter Nichols called "A Voyage for Madmen" which chronicles all five participants (only one, Robin Knox Johnson, finished. (Nicholas also wrote a great book about losing his 27' boat in the atlantic after losing his marriage as well called "Sea Change") And then finally, as a novel, there is Outerbridge Reach by Robert Stone that fictionalizes Crowhurst's madness. It's good, but nothing is quite as good as Moitiessier. I've posted these all on our "bookshelf."

message 7: by Nico (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:59PM) (new)

Nico | 3 comments Also I loved "Godforsaken Sea" but with all the technology etcetera, I think these modern accounts pale against real solo racing...

message 8: by Debbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:00PM) (new)

Debbie Moorhouse I remember something about Crowhurst falsifying his positions. Sad story.

message 9: by Glenn (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:00PM) (new)

Glenn C. | 23 comments Peggy, I read Dan Simmon's 'Song of Kali' and found him to be excellent. I'll hit the bookstore with The Terror on my list!

message 10: by Peggy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:00PM) (new)

Peggy | 5 comments I hope you enjoy it, Glenn, but be warned--it's a big sucker.

message 11: by Art (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:01PM) (new)

Art Tirrell | 5 comments Here's another one for those who like the more modern round the world stories: "One Watch at a Time" by Skip Novak. ISBN 0393024989. It's the story of Simon LeBon's (Duran Duran lead singer) yacht Drum in the 1986 Whitbread.

message 12: by Debbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:02PM) (new)

Debbie Moorhouse ...singing all the way?


message 13: by Peggy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:03PM) (new)

Peggy | 5 comments I also enjoyed the first 3 of James L. Nelson's "Revolution at Sea" series: By Force of Arms, The Maddest Idea, and The Continental Risque, about the formation of the American Navy during the Revolutionary War.

message 14: by Peggy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:09PM) (new)

Peggy | 5 comments James N. Hall, Dr. Dogbody's Leg. A peg-legged doctor spins yarns in a tavern about the myriad ways in which he lost his leg. Great stories, incloding some very funny tales.

message 15: by Debbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:29PM) (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Channel 4 are showing a documentary about Crowhurst next Monday (which I appreciate is no use to those of you outside the UK, which is...most of you!), and there was a short write-up in the Radio Times (tv listings magazine) by Knox-Johnston. Apparently, Crowhurst had agreed to buy the boat if he didn't finish, which would have entailed selling his house, rendering his family homeless. That must have increased the pressure on him enormously.

Sad story.

message 16: by Debbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:30PM) (new)

Debbie Moorhouse It's literally called "Channel 4". Imaginative, huh? Dates back to the days when we had three channels here in the UK.

I don't know if it's available on Sky, but I think Channel 4+1 is--that's where they show the same programmes but an hour later.

Sky 135 (I think).

message 17: by Debbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:38PM) (new)

Debbie Moorhouse I'm glad you enjoyed it :). Unfortunately, I was ill on Monday, and a few days around Monday, so I didn't get to see it. Maybe it'll be on again!

message 18: by Rebecca (last edited Jan 12, 2008 08:59AM) (new)

Rebecca Hi, new member (if you all don't mind!) I may not be around much but I do like a good sailing read now and then so I love to see this resource available.

What prompted me to make the leap and join up? I noticed you did not have one of my favorite books on your list, and thought to myself "Hey! They're really missing out."

So here I am, to recommend:
The Voyage by Philip Caputo

It's the fictional account of three pre-teen/teenaged brothers at the turn of the 20th century who sail their father's schooner down the east coast of the U.S.. The narration is a little disjointed at times -- one of the boys' descendants is piecing the story together from the ship's log, so it jumps back and forth a bit -- but in general the story is very powerful and the sailing descriptions are great.

It evoked a lot of the feelings and themes of the movie "White Squall" for me. Boys coming of age in the face of nature, hardship, camaraderie, testing their own limits, etc.

I hope some of you choose to try it!

message 19: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (melissaharl) | 21 comments Welcome aboard, Rebecca, I'm still a squeaker here too. Thanks for the recommendation.

message 20: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Hi, Rebecca! Welcome to Armchair Sailors :).

Feel free to lurk, post, start topics, add books--all are welcome here :).

I've been wondering if I should add the Arthur Ransome books. Okay, they're not Age of Sail, but...? any thoughts, Sailors?

message 21: by Monissa, Deck Hand (last edited Jan 13, 2008 02:28PM) (new)

Monissa | 87 comments Mod
Hi, Rebecca

'The Voyage' looks interesting. I added it to the bookshelf, although you could have done it yourself :)

message 22: by Monissa, Deck Hand (new)

Monissa | 87 comments Mod
Shocking, Squirrel, how could you suggest such a thing?

I haven't come across them before. They not particularly sailish, are they?

message 23: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Umm...well...depends if you think mucking around in dinghies on a lake is sailing! lol

message 24: by Monissa, Deck Hand (new)

Monissa | 87 comments Mod

I don't think it is generally considered to be.

message 25: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse How about inadvertently taking a sailing ship to sea?

message 26: by Monissa, Deck Hand (new)

Monissa | 87 comments Mod

If it's a sailing ship, I guess. What about inadvertently taking a windsurfer to sea?

message 27: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Doesn't sound terribly exciting :D.

message 28: by Monissa, Deck Hand (new)

Monissa | 87 comments Mod
It would be exciting if you were on it

message 29: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse It would be wet :).

message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi folks,

I added the Dove and Ra and Kon Tiki books. Not exactly "age of sail" but i'm guessing the group is not staying strickly in that time period?
I also have a question, I read a book a long time ago by a british writer set in early 1800's I think. It was a journal type thing and very good. I took it to be factual. Republished I would guess in the late 1960's or 70's. I read it in 79 I think. The title was something like Sea and Land or Sea, Land and River and was about his voyage to the Amazon. The first section was about sailing there. The rest was about living and working there and surviving the fevers, swamps, indentured servant type work. Is anyone familiar?

message 31: by Monissa, Deck Hand (new)

Monissa | 87 comments Mod
Certainly not limited to 'age of sail'. There's a lot of interesting early 20th C stuff, and even modern.

message 32: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse The group should be thought of as inspired by the Age of Sail, rather than restricted to it :).

ON SEA AND LAND ON CREEK AND RIVER Being an Account of Experiences ...Christians...West Indies and British Guiana ..Missionaries...Slave Trade ....Bristol by Henry W. Case


message 33: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Just finished reading Sailing Alone around the World and written a short review. Thanks for the recommendation, Scotty!

message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

Squirrel-I think that's it! The author sounds right and I suppose I had the area wrong. It was so long ago.

message 35: by Coalbanks (last edited Mar 19, 2008 06:26PM) (new)

Coalbanks | 16 comments Any books by Tristan Jones, since childhood ( born at sea near Tristan de Cunha, or so the tale is told)he has sailed around the world a few times in small boats, sailed Lake Titicaca, the highest body of water which he has sailed, (few are higher) & the Dead Sea, lowest body of water, spent 2 years trying to sail the furthest North in a wooden boat off Greenland & survived being ice-bound for much of that time hence the title: ICE! He has also travelled by boat from the Titicaca to the Atlantic via the Gran Chaco. A crusty old dude whom I hope is still alive & working with disabled sailors in Thailand as last heard.

message 36: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Sounds very cool!

Please feel free to add any books you recommend to our shelves :).

message 37: by Alex (new)

Alex (alex_beecroft) I'm enjoying - possibly 'enjoying' is the wrong word - I'm finding "'Boys at Sea' Sodomy Indecency, and Courts Martial in Nelson's Navy" by BR Burg fascinating. And for a slightly less crime-focussed read I absolutely adored "Men of Honour: Trafalgar and the Making of the English Hero" by Adam Nicolson. They're both excellent for getting into the late 18th/early 19th Century world view.

message 38: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Enjoying doesn't seem the right word, does it? lol

Thanks for the recommendations :).

message 39: by Miles (new)

Miles | 1 comments Joshua Slocum's book is fun reading and as a companion I also recommend Capt. Pete Culler's book Rebuilding the Spray. I found my copy at abebooks and there may still be afew out there. So if you really liked the Spray as a vessel you may get a kick out of Capt. Cullers great book too.

Miles Cobbett, AlaskaMiles, Author of Champion A Story of the Happy Life of Roman Lefthanded Losinski

message 40: by Coalbanks (new)

Coalbanks | 16 comments How about taking a windsurfer out to sea deliberately? A few years ago a surfer tried to sail his board from a port on the South shore of Newfoundland to St Pierre. Didn't make it 1/2 way but so far he holds the record for trying.

message 41: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Brave or foolish? You decide! lol

message 42: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed  Abdikhader  Firdhiye  (mohammedaosman) | 40 comments Interesting topic. I added several historical naval books from the recommendations.

Sailing Alone Around the World will be my first nautical non-fiction. It sounds too interesting.

message 43: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimowin) If you like Joshua Slocum then you have to find the Claude Worth book "Cruising" old rare but a really good story. But don't miss the Weston Martyr book The "Southseaman" his story is so alive my favorite I read this three times, another good read is the Pete Goss book Close to the Wind very good all round book. The sad tale of Donald Crowhurst The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst. The Godforsaken Sea by Derek Lundy. Tony Bullimore's book Saved is more than a book about the ocean. These are only a few of the titles that I have read on this subject, but I love finding new ones. If you know anymore please let me know.

message 44: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed  Abdikhader  Firdhiye  (mohammedaosman) | 40 comments Thanks for recommendations. I will let you know.

Right now i'm enjoying the historical vivivness of some naval series ala Hornblower,Ramage finishing those series but after that i plan to focus my naval reading on non-fiction.

message 45: by Doc (new)

Doc | 14 comments Mohammed wrote: "Thanks for recommendations. I will let you know.

Right now i'm enjoying the historical vivivness of some naval series ala Hornblower,Ramage finishing those series but after that i plan to focus m..."

This seems to be a quite comprehensive site on naval fiction:

message 46: by Pippin (new)

Pippin | 5 comments Anybody else read My Old Man and the Sea? It is a light read, but captures the nuances of father/son relationships. I'll add it to the bookshelf since I enjoyed it and assume others would too.

message 47: by jennifer (new)

jennifer (mascarawand) | 4 comments I've read two books about sailing/sea recently- David Cordingly's "Seafaring Women", which covers female sailors and pirates and the lives of wives and prostitutes of port towns.
The second is "Captured by Pirates", a compilation of true accounts from survivors.

message 48: by Doc (last edited Sep 07, 2011 09:45PM) (new)

Doc | 14 comments Caravaggio wrote: "I reccomend 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', it was published in 1797 - 1798 (something like that). It's a long poem. Has anyone read this? It is about a mariner who has returned from a long sea ..."

Considered a classic, but not as well know as of yore. From it we get the saying about having an albatross around your neck, and the quote: "Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink," which today is often rendered: "Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink."

message 49: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed  Abdikhader  Firdhiye  (mohammedaosman) | 40 comments Caravaggio wrote: "I reccomend 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', it was published in 1797 - 1798 (something like that). It's a long poem. Has anyone read this? It is about a mariner who has returned from a long sea ..."

I read that in literary class when we read the classic poets. Pretty cool long poem that was alot fun to read.

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