Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cape Horn to Starboard (John Kretschmer)

I discovered John Kretschmer a few months ago through the delightful account of his life as a sailboat delivery skipper in Flirting with Mermaids. Cape Horn to Starboard is his first book, written by a much younger and seemingly a lot wilder man, and offers a funny and inspiring account of his first few years as a rookie sailor, as well as a gripping recollection of his epic (should I say heroic?) rounding of the Cape of the Capes the wrong way around (i.e. westwards) in a 32-foot cockleshell named Gigi. To do it justice, the said cockleshell was a Contessa 32, and is actually a legend of British shipmaking, still considered to this day as one (if not the) most seaworthy boat of its size. Nevertheless, one can only admire the bravery of these two men who took on an incredibly difficult and dangerous voyage, which undoubtedly changed them for life. More than a sailor, John Kretschmer is also a talented story-teller, and his good-natured personality and humorous outlook on life make for a very entertaining read.

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