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Sunday, 8 July 2012

Flake down the warps in Spetses, then the Atlantic

Spetses - The Atlantic  - St Lucia
Two great sailing themed books

We were taken with  the compact book Three Ways to Capsize a Boat by Chris Stewart, the memoirs of an inexperienced mariner who sails against the tide in the Solent in his first ever sailing lesson. He then picks up a crabber and sails around Spetses in Greece, which he captures in delightful detail:

"The little harbour teemed with fish and there were candles in jam jars on the tables, the scent of jasmine and honeysuckle complemented by dishes of fried squid with the lightest coating of batter glistening with droplets of freshly squeezed lemon"

Stewart goes on to join a crew on a vintage wooden boat, en route to Iceland and the Northern Hemipshere, and then across the Atlantic. He shares his experiences and observations of being boat-bound for many days on the trot, but despite the vast greyness, he soon sees that birds are the flowers of the sea; learns that the fulmar doesn't lay her first eggs until she is eight, so careens around the oceans with nowhere to perch for comfort and warmth; that dolphins come to skitter and play around the boat as it ploughs onwards.... Even how (not) to use a sextant...
The reader learns alongside the author the joys, fears and occasional lunacy of crewing a boat.

Our second choice continues the nautical theme, in the mystery genre, Final Passage by Timothy Frost. When Martin Lancaster was eighteen, his father was tragically lost at sea during a transatlantic yacht race. Twenty-five years later, Martin discovers hidden logbooks in his mother's attic, and vows to find out the truth. His quest takes him racing across the Atlantic in the Columbus Cup, the world's largest-ever regatta, an event that becomes a personal voyage of discovery and disaster. On the Caribbean island of St Lucia, with his enemies closing in, Martin must make one desperate final sea passage to discover the shocking truth about his family - and himself.

And as always if you would like to suggest any maritime-themed books, that are evocative of location, then please let us know. We would love to hear from you...

"See a location through an author's eyes"

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