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Books reviewed by Peter Campbell
BOOKS OF THE
Boat Books Tel: 1300 262 826
Australia II – The Keel SLOOF 0497
The 1983 America’s Cup winner was the 12-Metre yacht
Australia II. It was equipped with a radical, innovative,
winged keel that caused much upheaval in the summer of
1983. Upheaval that, occasionally, rumbles on until today.
This book tells the story of the author’s role in the design
of the keel of Australia II. The scientific approach by two
Dutch scientists (naval architect Piet van Oossanen and
the author), that were involved with the design research,
changed the landscape of yacht design. After the 1983
match, Cup campaigns embraced a more scientific way of
designing boats. The Dutch scientists played a major role
in this important change.
PB 115 pages $59.95
The Comeback KNECHT 1757
Larry Ellison’s America’s Cup team was down 1-8. New
Zealand needed just one more win. Oracle ultimately beat
back the odds in what’s been called the greatest comeback
in sport. But was it? G. Bruce Knecht set out to investigate
how Oracle turned things around and, most particularly, the
source of extra horsepower that seemed to come from nowhere
during the final races. What he discovered was that the team
was using a sailing technique that was prohibited under the
rules. The Comeback is a pulse-pounding account of Oracle’s
desperate stop-at-nothing campaign. PB 82 pages $21.95
The Journey of Tom Thumb II
Bass and Flinders Explore the Illawarra Coast
Written, illustrated and published by Christine Hill
RRP: $18.00 (32pp; 220mm x 220mm)
In March 1796, Matthew
Flinders, George Bass, officers
aboard HMS Reliance berthed in
Port Jackson, and the boy-servant
William Martin made a short
voyage of exploration along the
coastline south of Port Jackson,
in the young colony of New South
In the small wooden boat,
probably sixteen feet (4.9m) long
with a beam of five feet (1.8m)
they had named Tom Thumb II, they sailed as far south as Canoe
Inlet in Lake Illawarra.
On their return voyage, on Monday, 28th March, after rowing
against a strong headwind, they took shelter on a small beach
fronted by a reef at what is now Bellambi, north of Wollongong.
This year, artist and illustrator Christine Hill, who lives at
nearby Thirroul, overlooking the Tasman Sea where Tom Thumb II
sailed, has published a beautifully illustrated book ‘The Journey
of Tom Thumb II, Bass and Flinders explore the Illawarra Coast,
“Exactly to the day, 220 years later (when they came ashore at
Bellambi), I gave an author’s talk at local library,” Christine wrote
to Afloat with a ‘hot off the press’ copy of her book.
Christine’s series of beautiful paintings and sketches illustrate
this first voyage of adventure by Bass and Flinders in the tiny Tom
Thumb II in a strange land and meeting its original inhabitants.
Christine Hill is a founding member and Fellow of the Australian
Society of Marine Artists, with a special interest in wooden boats
and obviously, living at Thirroul, knows the locations well.
She has captured many moments of the voyage of Tom Thumb
II with lively illustrations, the images skilfully interwoven with
Flinders’ own journal entries, writing of Bellambi beach: “ This
night for the first time we slept on shore; and perhaps the soften bed of down
was never more enjoyed than, the fine sand of the beach by us, at this time.”
Adults and children will enjoy this lively new version of Bass
and Flinders’ courageous voyage in Tom Thumb in which Christine
Hill comes to the conclusion, along with others, that Tom Thumb
II was not an eight foot long dinghy, but was probably more 16ft.
The Midnight Watch
a novel of the Titanic and the Californian
by David Dyer
published by Penguin Books
RRP: $32.99 (336pp: 150mm x 240mm)
In this fascinating novel, writer David Dyer has produced a
brand new story about the tragic sinking of the passenger liner
Titanic after her hull was ripped open by an iceberg as she crossed
Dyer is a true storyteller, described by
one reviewer as having “a reporter’s ear for
story, a detective’s nose for motive, and
an artist’s eye for detail...”
This gripping novel centres on the
Midnight Watch aboard the cargo ship
Californian, from midnight to 4am, when
she was within sight of the stricken Titanic.
The Master of the Californian, Captain Lord had stopped his
ship because of the ice and its radio operator had sent out in
Morse code a warning to all ships.
As she was slowly sinking, the Titanic called for help by Morse
lamp and the new Marconi telegraph machine but there was no
response as Californian’s radio operator had been told to stand
down. Just after midnight, the start of the Midnight Watch, Titanic
began firing rockets.
Californian’s officer of the watch, saw and reported the rockets
but the captain didn’t sail next morning to where Titanic reported
her position until another ship, Carpathia, had rescued the only
When the story of the disaster began to emerge, newspaper
reporter John Steadman began to follow up on the captivating
story of Californian’s captain and second officer.
Based on true events, The Midnight Watch is a fascinating new
look at the Titanic tragedy, a deeply knowing novel about the frailty
of men and the capriciousness of fate and the price of loyalty.
This is a book that is hard to put down, but one to read on
and on as David Dyer’s intriguing story continues to its finish. h
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