Home' Afloat : AFLOAT February 2017 Contents 60 AFLOAT.com.au February 2017
Books reviewed by Peter Campbell
BOOKS OF THE
Boat Books Tel: 1300 262 826
Coast – Tasmania
Every Tasmanian has a favourite spot on the coast
of Tasmania. We all love the beach, the sand, the
rocks and that special sea view. Coast – Tasmania,
Seascapes from the Roaring Forties, presents an
innovative and dramatic view of the island, its
freshness, its wildness and its beauty. Renowned
photographer Andrew Wilson captures the essence
of the playground where we fish, swim and relax
in this stunning and comprehensive large format
coffee table book. Over 300 pages give an unprecedented view of Tasmania, even
the Roaring Forties carving up the sea feature here.
HB 300 pages $79.95
Sail – A tribute to the world’s greatest races, sailors and their boats
Whether it is to test the high seas on around-the-world
events in the glory of 49er yachts, to cut through choppy
coastal waters on a Laser racing for Olympic Gold, or
to set team against team in the great cup challenges,
Sail is a celebration of the adventure and skill of one
of mankind’s oldest sports. Sail also includes detailed
technical analysis and intricate illustrations on each
classification of racing boat, explained by the experts
in their field, to give a complete account of the world
of sailing competition. HB 288 pages $49.95
Under Full Sail
How majestic clipper ships
transformed Australia from
a convict outpost to a
by Rob Mundle
published by HarperCollins
RRP: $45.00 (384pp; 160mm x 250mm)
Rob Mundle is a great storyteller when it comes to writing about
the maritime history of Australia. Under Full Sail is one of his best
and most readable narratives of the days of often hazardous voyages
under sail aboard clipper ships to and from Australia during the
colonial days of the 1880s.
Appropriately, he has dedicated his latest book to ‘the more
than one million Australians whose forebears traversed the oceans
aboard the mighty clipper ships and fulfilled their dreams of a better
life in an exciting new land’.
Rob is himself one of those million and, in fact, his forebears
contributed to bringing some of those colonists to Australia. My
ancestors were among emigrants from Scotland back in 1852, which
made reading Under Full Sail all the more interesting.
Rob has researched his subject exceptionally well, relating how
the California gold rush in 1848 and in Australia, largely in Victoria,
led to the creation of the clipper ship. Speed was of the essence in
ship travel from New York and Boston to San Francisco, rounding
treacherous Cape Horn, and later in bringing gold struck emigrants
from Great Britain to Melbourne.
The clippers were an entirely new concept. Their towering masts,
heavily raked, carried acres of sail, thirty per cent more than some
of the larger ships. Vessels such as Flying Cloud on the New York-
San Francisco route, and Lighting and Marco Polo, later the Cutty Sark,
smashed existing records.
Under Full Sail makes great reading, especially for the million or
so Australians whose forebears made that perilous sea voyage in a
clipper to their new home.
Reefed in the Coral Sea
500 Wrecks, Thousands
of Human Tragedies
by Alan Lucas
published by Alan Lucas
RRP: $45.00 (235pp; 210mm x
What an appalling record in
seafaring history: 500 wrecks on
reefs from the north of New South
Wales along the entire east coast of
Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef, across the Coral Sea from
Torres Strait to New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands!
Author Alan Lucas knows the Coral Sea better than most writers.
His best-selling Cruising the Coral Coast has been published in nine
editions. He even admits to running into Exit Reef while beating
down the North Queensland Coast from Thursday Island.
Fortunately, he and his yacht survived, allowing Alan to carry
out some remarkable research in compiling Reefed on the Coral Sea,
a fascinating record of some 500 wrecks on reefs in the Coral Seal
since the coming of the white man.
The first recorded casualty was Lt James Cook’s barque Endeavour
when she grounded on Endeavour Reef (as it is now called) on that
critical night in June 1770. Fortunately, Endeavour was floated clear
and made it safely to the river on the Far North Queensland Coast
near the town that bears Cook’s name.
Reefed on the Coral Sea is skilfully illustrated, with an excellent
index, containing many tales of the wrecks of so many ships, both
sailing and powered in these vast but reefed-studded waters of the
For example, Bampton Reef, lying in French Territory 280 nautical
miles west northwest of the northern tip of New Caledonia, appears
to have entrapped many sailing vessels in the mid to late 1880s.
The Peruvian barque Grimenza, carrying 800 Chinese coolies in
appalling conditions to the Chincha Islands near Peru to dig guano,
hit Bampton Reef on 4 July 1854.
The captain, chief officer, doctor and four others took the best
boats and left the terrified coolies and the rest of the crew aboard.
They reached New Britain while the ship floated off the reef but
eventually sank with a possible 650 Chinese perishing, many taken
Just one of the many fascinating stories told by Alan Lucas in
Reefed on the Coral Sea. h
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