Home' Afloat : AFLOAT December 2015 Contents Take monthly with water December 2015 67
Books reviewed by Peter Campbell
BOOKS OF THE
Boat Books Tel: 1300 262 826
Great South Land MUNDLE 33905
For many, the colonial story of Australia starts with Captain Cook’s
discovery of the east coast in 1770, but it was some 164 years before
his historic voyage that European mariners began their romance with
the immensity of the Australian continent. Rob takes you aboard the
tiny ship, Duyfken, in 1606 when Dutch navigator and explorer, Willem
Janszoon, and his 20-man crew became the first Europeans to discover Australia
on the coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria. In the decades that followed, more Dutch
mariners, like Hartog, Tasman, and Janszoon (for a second time), discovered and
mapped the majority of the coast of what would become Australia. This process
began with British explorer and former pirate William Dampier on the west coast
in 1688, and by the time Captain Cook arrived in 1770, all that was to be done was
chart the east coast and claim what the Dutch had discovered.
HB 368 pages $45.00
The Boat Electrics Bible JOHNSON 10011
Electrics are a notoriously tricky aspect of boat ownership
and maintenance - both critical to the operation of the yacht or
motorboat and prone to breaking down in the damp atmosphere
and bouncy conditions. This is the book that will take owners
through all the likely problems and solutions including making
new installations of equipment, reviving an old boat and
correcting electrical faults on their current craft. Equally useful for yacht or motorboat
owners and illustrated with helpful photos, detailed close-up shots, step by step
exploded diagrams and instructions, this is a book every owner should keep aboard.
HB 192 pages $59.95
How Portugal Seized
the Indian Ocean
by Roger Crowley
published by Allen & Unwin
RRP: $39.99 (432pp; hard cover;
153mm x 234mm)
Certainly not a yachting book,
but this is a fascinating tale of times
when sailing ships of widely varying
shape, construction, sail power and
nationalities explored the world, opening up huge trade routes in the
middle ages, and ruthlessly seized control of the seas and countries.
Conquerors tells the story of how, at the start of the sixteenth
century, the tiny country of Portugal began exploring and conquering
the world by sea. Portugal’s great navigators opened up vast new
ocean trade routes between Europe and the East, previously accessed
only over land and by coastal trading vessels.
Noted author Roger Crowley writes that “although as remarkable
as Columbus and Spanish conquistador expeditions to the Americas,
the history of Portuguese exploration has largely been forgotten...
but its navigators cracked the code of the Atlantic winds, launched
the expedition of Vasco de Gama to India and beat Spain to the
spice kingdom of the east.”
Vasco de Gama certainly was a great sailor, but he cold-bloodedly
used the superior sail and cannon power of his ships and trained crew
against the largely Muslim power along south western coast of India.
The final paragraph of Conquerors mentions a venerable patisserie
and café, the Antigua Confeitaria de Belem, close to de Gama’s
tomb and from where his fleet set sail on their global voyage. The
specialty, pasteis de Belem, sweet custard tarts sprinkled with cinnamon,
accompanied by hits of coffee, black as tar.
“Cinnamon, sugar, coffee: the tastes of the world first landed
here in sailing ships!” writes Crowley.
Beneath the Surface
Tales of a sailing
by Michael King
published by Zeus Publications
Available from online bookstores,
including Bookdepository and
Amazon or direct from the
RRP: $29.95 (256pp; 180mm x
Dr Michael King is described as a marine biologist, diver,
beachcomber and sailor, but not necessarily in that order. As a marine
biologist he is an authority on fish species along the Australian east
coast and in the South Pacific, having been a senior lecturer at the
University of the South Pacific in Fiji and an associate director at
the Australian Maritime College in Tasmania.
He has worked in many countries around the world, from
the Persian Gulf to Polynesia and his book contains fascinating
information about sea-life and ocean systems. Hence the title
Beneath the Surface.
Most of his close-up encounters with sea life has been beneath
the surface as a diver, but on a voyage from Suva to Sydney, becalmed
overnight some 250 nautical miles off the New South Wales coast, Dr
King came on deck at sunrise to find the yacht wallowing in a glassy
sea and surrounded by scores of humpback whales.
The yacht safely made it to Sydney, but one of Dr King’s earlier
experiences came to a dramatic ending. He and some Australian
friends who were in England at the time decided to buy a cruising
yacht and sail her back to Australia or at least across the Atlantic.
They bought a 16-metre ex-Admiralty launch or pinnace built in
1938 that had been converted into a ketch and named Awake. Facilities
aboard included a wooden bath and, in the saloon, a wood-burning
stove for heating.
The chapters on the restoration of Awake and that first (and only)
ocean voyage are fascinating reading, but it all ended when Awake
was run down at night by a Norwegian ocean tramp steamer about
500 nautical miles off Antigua in the West Indies.
The freighter returned to dramatically rescue Michael King and
his crew and, as Dr King recalls ... “as the freighter steamed away
the sky started to lighten we all stood at the rail and our poor yacht
sinking ... it was like saying goodbye to an old friends, like ending
the life of a faithful pet, like abandoning a wounded comrade.”
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