Lionheart, a Journey of the Human Spirit by Jesse Martin
Allen & Unwin
When an unconventional 18-year-old Australian sets out to learn about the world from the deck of a 34-foot sloop, he also sets a record as the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe under sail, nonstop. Written in conjunction with Ed Gannon, a young newspaper reporter who chronicled Jesse Martin's exploits, Lionheart is an engaging tale with a fresh, revealing narrative style. Martin's youth is evident via his naivete—he managed the whole journey despite forgetting a nautical almanac—but his courage in tackling such a daunting voyage resonates on nearly each page.
The book doesn't simply treat this impressive circumnavigation, but also delves into the adventurous upbringing of Martin, who at the age of 14, spent two months coastal cruising aboard a 14-foot beach catamaran with his father and 12-year-old brother and later kayaked some of the Indonesian coast. He also made a number of deliveries, and in the process of this adventuring, formal schooling took a back seat. Martin is as much a self-styled author as he is a self-styled adventurer, and given his iconoclastic outlook, his first tome should inspire not only adolescent readers, but those beyond their school years as well.
It's now been over a year since the giant multihulls that battled their rivals and the elements in the nonstop circumnavigating contest—The Race—finished, and now a new book chronicles that event. Tim Zimmerman, who ranks as somewhat of a new name in the world of sailing journalism, is nonetheless an accomplished writer. He has produced a comprehensive account of the event that offers not only a blow-by-blow narrative from several key vantage points, but some informative background on globe-girdling sailors and previous events as well, beginning with Joshua Slocum.
From the extreme misfortunes of the novel Team Philips to the superb performance of Grant Dalton's international crew on Club Med, Zimmerman ably follows the many stories that made up this momentous competition. Like the subtitle of his book, the author takes a "no-holds-barred" approach to researching his 300-page tome, bringing forth behind-the-scenes details that enhance the action and deliver the reader on board these impressive ocean-racing machines.
After the Storm by John Rousmaniere
SailNet's own authority on seamanship has scripted an incisive and gripping narrative about the power of storms, revealing not only the physical consequences of their existence, but also the ways in which they affect the psyche and emotions of those who endure them or are otherwise touched by these tempests. His relentless research—including several personal encounters (he competed in the notorious 1979 Fastnet Race)—serves to inform the author's work, and his sensitive treatment continually engages even the most casually interested reader.
|"After reading this, you'll have a new appreciation of future storms and their place in the life of every mariner."|
Eight Men and a Duck by Nick Thorpe
The Free Press
Fifty years after famed anthropologist-cum-adventurer Thor Heyerdahl sailed his reed-built boat Kon Tiki from Peru to Polynesia, an unlikely crew of adventurers attempt to reprise the trip aboard their own classic raft, the Viracocha. Journalist Nick Thorpe talks his way on board for the trip from Chile to Easter Island only to discover that the international team is a hapless, misguided crew lacking a proper navigator. His ensuing account of the "hilarious and unnerving" voyage details a bungled, five-day launch, as well as storms, sharks, adversarial commercial traffic, and the fact that the boat is constantly sinking. Do the wayward mariners make it? Do they regenerate any interest in Heyerdahl's migration theories? And what's with the duck? The answers all reside in Thorpe's amusing text.
John Wiley & Sons
For those sailors interested in the history of the sport, Scott Cookman's treatment of the now legendary black schooner and its famed sail into history across the Atlantic is a must read. Cookman has crafted a stirring story that brings to life a captivating episode in maritime history wherein leading industrialists and yachtsmen vied for supremacy on the seas to reap the political and economic prestige that transatlantic victory could convey.
The famed schooner's impressive transatlantic passage set a record that has remained unbeaten for nearly a century, and the story behind the race makes this remarkable achievement even more impressive. Atlantic's skipper Charlie Barr, widely acclaimed as a hero for his exploits, pushed the vessel as only a determined Scotsman might, and the description of his commanding style is just one of the joys to be savored in reading Cookman's book.
In Shackleton's Wake by Arved Fuchs
It would be difficult to equal the historic feats of Sir Ernest Shackleton, the British adventurer who sailed 700 miles through the Arctic Sea aboard a 22-foot boat to save his stranded crew. And certainly few men have spent as much time in the polar ice, but German adventurer Arved Fuchs, runs a close second. Fuchs, a distinguished explorer in his own right, undertook to trace the wake of Shackleton's diminutive life boat, the James Caird, in an identical vessel 80-plus years after the Brit accomplished his amazing journey.
Though Fuchs and his three crew recreated Shackelton's journey from Elephant Island at the northern tip of the Antarctic Archipelago to South Georgia Island during the summer months (Shackleton managed it during the dead of winter), their voyage was no less amazing and no less dangerous. In his text, icebergs lurk beyond every trough, storms are relentless, and the icy temperatures permeate every recess of the little craft. Reprising such a feat is truly ambitious; offering written testimony of it to compete with the original work is equally so. Add to that the fact that Fuchs occasionally challenges some of his predecessor's decisions, and you've got an engaging chronicle of daring adventure.
Well RecommendedWe checked in with several of SailNet's contributors to see what they'd suggest as additions to our summer reading list. Here's what they had to say:
John Rousmaniere: Two classics about two very different types of sailing should be better known, and now that they've been reissued, readers can discover them. For a look into the heart of a successful family cruiser, read Anthony Bailey's The Coast of Summer, published by Sheridan House. To understand what makes adventurers tick, there is Miles Clark's High Endeavours.
Though most of these books are not currently listed in the SailNet on line store, almost all of them are available on line elsewhere.
Overlooked Books by John Kretschmer
SailNet Store Section: Books
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