Saturday, June 21, 2008

Five best: books about sailing

Sir Robin Knox-Johnson, author, most recently, of Force of Nature, is the first person to have sailed solo and nonstop around the world.

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a list of his favorite books about sailing. One title on his list:
Last Man Across the Atlantic
by Paul Heiney
Mainstream, 2006

So many sailors have crossed the Atlantic by themselves and then written up their accounts that it is hard to think that there is anything else to say. But Paul Heiney managed to produce one of the most readable books on an Atlantic crossing that I have ever encountered. Heiney, a longtime consumer-affairs broadcaster in Britain, was not that experienced a sailor when he entered the Singlehanded Transatlantic Race in 2005. Indeed, he finished, if not last, as his title suggests, then next to last. But with so many yachtsmen taking up longer voyages, this book reminds us of the sorts of difficulties that a comparative newcomer might expect -- coping with torn sails and rotten food far out to sea. It can also be savored simply as a story well told.
Read about the book that topped Knox-Johnson's list.

--Marshal Zeringue