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Sailing Alone Around the World

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message 1: by William (new)

William Graney | 99 comments Mod
My review of this book. Thanks for the recommendation Marcie.

Despite the recommendation from a fellow member of the Adventure Reading Group I was a little leery going in as I thought that due to 1899 copyright date the writing style might be a little too old school and bland. But reminding myself how much I’ve enjoyed Melville and Thoreau encouraged me to go for it.
The writing style is surprisingly smooth and light (although I wouldn’t quite call it a page-turner, it requires focus). Captain Slocum had a lot of machismo but he also didn’t seem to take himself to seriously and I enjoyed the passages in which he would contemplate the joy of the open sea. I also enjoyed reading about his seamanship skills and ability to navigate, at times not having to determine longitude because he knew where he was by the ripples in the sea.
Some of the views of the people he encountered seemed out of date even for the late 1800s. An example being the religious extremists who corrected him about using the phrase “sailing around the world” when he should have stated it as “sailing in the world” because their interpretation of biblical teaching led the to the belief that the world was flat. I guess it goes without saying but reading this book enforced the notion that it was a very different world just over a hundred years ago.
Captain Slocum also had a very nonchalant attitude towards being the first person to sail solo around the world and after over three years at sea he writes about sailing into a tornado just off the coast of New York as though it was just another day on the seas.
My only complaint about the book was that he seemed to get bogged down in writing about passing through Strait of Magellan. It took a long time but it seems to take up a disproportionate amount of the book while he also wrote sparingly about some other areas that I thought could have been expanded on.

message 2: by Marcie (new)

Marcie | 23 comments William, I'm glad you liked the book. It's been several years since I read it. I agree that a disproportionate chunk of the book was focused on the Strait of Magellan. I think that this is often a problem for sailing adventure stories. For much of a journey there isn't much adventure. It's just day after day of ocean to the horizon and then suddenly something happens and the story picks up.

I've just started reading Dove, by Robin Lee Graham. He was a sixteen year old boy who sailed around the world in the late 1960s- so no GPS, no satellite phones, no electrical, and a homemade self-steering system. Like Slocum, he is a pretty humble person and he complains that the media should not have made such a deal of his accomplishment of being the youngest solo around-the-world sailor. I'm only a few chapters into the book- he's left S. California for Hawaii and is on his way towards the South Seas. I gather that he had a ghostwriter since he admits to being a poor student and writer and the writing is this one is pretty good.

message 3: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimowin) | 2 comments The Southseaman Life-Story of a Schooner
by Weston Martyr
To all readers of these sailing adventure stories, you know salt and sea. Do yourself a favor read it. Its good story with an ending that left me a little sad, but the story left me with a smile I will carry till I can no longer go down to the sea. A good easy read one of the few, well only books I have read three times in a row.

message 4: by Jim (last edited May 31, 2010 03:15PM) (new)

Jim (jimowin) | 2 comments Close to the Wind by Pete Goss
This a much more modern book than the last one I mentioned. But this type of sailing adventure lures those intrepid souls among us, this story is all about how Pete Goss came to be in a race around the globe single handed. I will limit my talk to the sailing, but what makes it for me is the excitement sort of B*&^'s to the wall stuff, how he makes you feel with the boat lurching from port to starboard on the edge of control then bang your A over T with the usual mayhem that follows. I can throughly recommend it, to all like minded adventurers. The best or worst thing is you don't get wet when your reading it.

message 5: by William (new)

William Graney | 99 comments Mod
Pretty good audio interview with Ryan Breymaier, who is currently in an around the world sailing race:

message 6: by Travis (new)

Travis (tjc8) | 4 comments Thanks, the outside podcast is pretty good. I was hoping a new one would be coming out.

message 7: by William (new)

William Graney | 99 comments Mod
Another excellent podcast is Deborah Scaling Kiley telling her story of being lost at sea. Search The Moth (the name of the podcast) at iTunes or Google if you want to check it out.

message 8: by Travis (new)

Travis (tjc8) | 4 comments Thank you, sounds interesting

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