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Books reviewed by Peter Campbell
BOOKS OF THE
Boat Books Tel: 1300 262 826
RYA – Racing for Yachts & Keelboats
If you’re interested in getting started in cruiser racing or
looking for a deeper understanding of the basics, either
as a Skipper or a member of the crew, then this new book
by experienced racer Rob Gibson will guide you through
everything you need to know. Yacht racing teams have
places for people of all levels of skill, fitness, physical ability
or disability, and age. Enthusiasm is the most important
requirement! This book will enable you to combine keenness
with knowledge of the role each member of the crew performs. PB 96 pages $34.95
Sailing Through Russia:
From the Arctic to the Black Sea
VALLENTINE & MATERS 73515
The vast Russian backwater area was only opened to
foreign yachts in 2012. A year later, the Australian yacht
Tainui was the first pleasure boat to sail under a foreign
flag on the rivers Volga and Don. The tale of the 3,000
miles journey from start to finish offers the reader an
insight into the developments during the trip, the laconic
attitude that sometimes had to be adopted to complete
the journey and the amusing effects that occasionally occurred. The book gives an
understanding of the boat and voyage, illustrated with maps and beautiful photos.
Readers will be impressed by today’s Russia and more specifically with the Volga
and other waterways between the Pole and the Deep South. PB 318 pages $59.95
The North Water
by Ian McGuire
published by Simon & Schuster
(255pp; 170mm x 240mm)
An enthralling, somewhat gruesome
novel of the final days of big-catch
whaling in the Arctic, this is a book
that is a masterful reconstruction of
life aboard a whaling ship in the final
days of sail and whaling.
The whaler, Volunteer, sinks after being caught in the ice flows
and just two of the crew, one the ship’s surgeon Patrick Sumner,
the other a vicious multi-murderer and sodomiser Henry Drax,
survive – the latter after a murderous spree aboard the ship and
on the ice.
Author Ian McGuire conceived the idea of the North Water when
he was planning a biographical about one of his heroes, Herman
Melville. During his research, he came across a diary Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle kept during one season as a surgeon on an Arctic
whaler. The concept of a murder mystery set on a whaler was born.
The result is a gripping thriller that begins and ends in Hull, a
port town in Yorkshire whose economy is struggling to cope with
the decline of the once booming whaling industry as whale oil is
succeeded by petroleum as Britain’s main source of light and heat.
North Water centres on these two members of the crew of the
whaler Volunteer whose owner had schemed with the captain to
scuttle the ship and claim insurance.
After serving in the bloody siege of Delhi, army surgeon Patrick
Sumner returns to England with a shattered reputation and an
opiate dependency. Desperate for some work he signs on as the
ship’s surgeon aboard the Volunteer.
As Volunteer heads north into the Arctic, a cabin boy is found
sodomised and murdered. Sumner finds evidence that the huge,
menacing harpooner Henry Drax has done the dastardly deed,
and when confronted Drax kills the ship’s captain and severely
wounds the first mate.
When the Volunteer becomes icebound and eventually sinks, Drax
escapes after murdering more crew members and Sumner survives
with help of the indigenous Eskimos. But back in Hull, Sumner
finds Drax a dramatic finale. Great read – but not for the young!
Flotsam & Jetsam:
The Cranse Chronicles
by Bob Ross
published by Boatswain Books, available through
Amazon as well as an e-book for Kindle.
RRP: $15.00 (152pp; 152mm x 229mm)
Good to see my fellow yachting scribe Bob Ross (alias Bob
Cranse) not only compiling yet another fine book, but also
recovering well from a major operation in Sydney.
Unlike Bob’s previous hardcover books, Flotsam & Jetsam: the
Cranse Chronicles, published by Boatswain Books, is available through
Amazon as well as an e-book for Kindle.
For most of his life Bob Ross has
worked in yachting media, and in 1976 he
co-founded Australian Sailing magazine in
association with Ken McLachlan, which
grew to become the leading competitive
sailing magazine in Australia.
When Bob was sailing correspondent
for The Sydney Morning Herald he also
wrote for the Sydney Sun, but under the
pseudonym of Bob Cranse.
Bob Cranse followed him to Australian Sailing where his irreverent
column, By the Way, achieved a huge following of readers, eager to
hear the latest gossip from around the waterfront.
A vast collection of sailing characters, curious situations and
humorous bits and pieces has washed across the desk of this noted
sailing magazine editor, columnist and author over the past 30
years and although retired as an editor, Bob Ross still writes the
Bob Cranse column for Australian Sailing.
Now the best of these columns have been rescued from the
archives and collected into the most readable Flotsam & Jetsam:
the Cranse Chronicles.
One of Australia’s greatest characters, Ben Lexcen (aka Bob
Miller) appears over and over again in the Cranse Chronicles as Bob
Ross (Bob Cranse) attempts to interview him about his America’s
These stories alone make Flotsam & Jetsam: the Cranse Chronicles a
most readable book by one of Australia’s most respected yachting
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