Saturday, February 28, 2015

Top Ten+ Novels Based on Sailing (fiction)

Sailing makes a romantic setting

There are few novels with sailing as a background theme, which is surprising given how romantic sailing is considered to be. Images of sailboats appear everywhere and dreams of sailing off to an uncharted island abound, yet stories tend to be real not fictional.  That's curious to me. I've scoured the pages of amazon and Goodreads to find what I could as the question often comes up, "Are there any good novels with sailing themes."  The answer is, yes, but not many.  As I have not read these all yet, I am simply providing the publisher's descriptions here, mostly as they appear on amazon.com.  From Homer's Odyssey to Christine Kling's Circle of Bones, one thing for certain is that this is an eclectic collection, much like the collection of characters one is likely to encounter at sea.

I'm also working on a listing of sailing movies, which of course might have been based on either novels or true stories, so perhaps we'll be adding a few to this list.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Top 25 or so Reference Books for Offshore Sailing

Fix it, replace it, or do without it. 

When we were setting off to cross oceans, we wanted to have access to a library of books that would allow us to fix anything that was essential on board including ourselves, that would help us figure out what we didn't know that we didn't know, and then help us communicate it to someone else if all else failed. My mantra became "If it breaks at sea you have three choices: fix it, replace it or do without it." So we brought along spares for anything we couldn't do without, like an alternator and water pump. We brought spare parts for things we didn't want to do without, like the head. And the rest we figured we could fix, jury rig or learn to live without -- as long as we had someplace to look up what we needed to know.

This is a listing of some of the most valuable books we brought along. It doesn't include cruising guides, only reference or instructional books. I'm certain there are some really great books missing here, so if I've inadvertently left something valuable out, please leave a note in the comments. Thanks.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Top Ten Books about Sailing (non-fiction)

Ocean adventures inspire the spinning of tall tales

Sailing is one of those things in life that so many dream of and few pursue. Those of us who have sailed off across an ocean most often started out in our warm beds absorbed in a book of someone else's adventures on the other side of the world. Their yarns spun our own ambitions and fueled our thirst for the sea. So many authors have been inspired by the sea that there are hundreds of books to choose from.

So why these ten on my list? Because they were the ones that told the stories that I wanted to live or taught me lessons that may one day save a life - my own or a loved one's. And now that I have, I can honestly say that their yarns were well spun. There are few things better in life than reading a good sailing book while sailing! To go off watch, curl up in a secure spot and read about your favourite sailing adventure inspires the next adventure of your own. I always ask, where to next? And there's always someone who has been where I have not and told a tall tale I wanted to experience for myself. The wind in the rigging, the water lapping against the hull, the occasional flying fish, and the crackle of noise on the SSB are perfect accompaniment to make those tales come to life.

The second part of many sailor's dreams is to live the story worth writing about. Now, I am writing my own.  I consider myself fortunate. Do you have a favourite story?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Paraskevidekatriaphobia ... one fear in the sea of superstitions




Last week, we experienced a Friday the 13th.  How many of you experience friggatriskaidekaphobia or a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th or more specifically paraskevidekatriaphobia, fear of traveling on Friday the 13th? The latter term was coined by therapist Dr. Donald Dossey, whose specialty is treating people with irrational fears.  Many sailors refuse to leave port for a long journey on a Friday, much less a Friday the 13th. Triskaidekaphobics, on the other hand, fear the number 13. For their benefit, hotels skip the 13th floor and some airports even skip gate 13.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

When the weather is too awful to sail, go skiing!



Fabulous restaurants on the mountain, just a slight difference from distance sailing.

Skiers and Sailors - a lot in common?

Have you ever noticed that many sailors are also skiers?  I suppose it's the allure of water - whether liquid or solid phase - that takes us off into the wild blue/white yonder. Or is it the natural beauty of the earth around us? Or the wild fury of nature that we need to respect and negotiate? Or is it about the adventure? The need to survive either a pitching boat on a wild ocean or a pitched slope on a wild mountain, and thrive out there against the elements and the unknown, could be the impetus.