Sea Change: Alone Across the Atlantic in a Wooden Boatby Peter Nichols
Many people go to the sea in boats, but few of them write as movingly about the experience as Peter Nichols does in this enthralling meditation on the wonders of sailing, the mystery of the sea, and the ebbs and flows of love. With only a sextant, his own instincts as a seasoned sailor, and a boat full of memories of his foundering marriage, Nichols sets out alone from England for Maine, where he plans to sell his beloved twenty-seven-foot sailboat, Toad. Combining the adventure of Into Thin Air, the nautical lore of The Perfect Storm, and the spiritual self-discovery of The Snow Leopard, this thrilling adventure is a classic tale of a man struggling to come to terms with his reckless spirit, his highest hopes, and his broken dreams.
Nichols quits his soured marriage and takes to the sea, there to feel better about himself, to do something well for a change. His self-appointed challenge is a single-handed sail across the North Atlantic in a shallow-draft, motorless, 27-foot sailboat by the name of Toad, a boat in which he and his wife had recently made the trip in the opposite direction. Nichols is a likable soulimpecunious, living by his wits, a sailor's sailor who navigates by sextant and instinct, adapting to the dictates of sea and sky. Meteorologically, the weather is with him; emotionally, he finds choppy seas: The bust-up of his marriage plagues him, memories insistently emergethe more so when he discovers his wife's five-volume diary and flips through its pages. The diaries afford Nichols the opportunity to reminisce about his vagabond years with his wife, sailing in the Virgin Islands and in European waters, always on a shoestring, always bickering. While his inner journey is in no way as tedious as it might have been, it is a relief when Nichols snaps into the present and takes a look around. He has a knack for rendering his landfallsthe Scilly Islands and the Azoresin sharp relief, and a way of making his voyage feel like something out of time: Nothing more than wind drives his boat (remember, this is the North Atlantic, where a motor often comes in real handy) and reckoning is an art, not a digital readout.
Though Toad springs a major leak and must be abandoned before reaching its destination, one comes away with the feeling that Nichols has indeed acquitted himself well.
"I think Sea Change is a magnificent addition to the literature of small-boating adventuring."Jonathan Raban, author of Badlands
- Penguin Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 9.24(w) x 6.36(h) x 0.88(d)
Meet the Author
Peter Nichols is the author of A Voyage for Madmen, the story of the 1968 solo race around the world, and the recent Final Voyage: A Story of Arctic Disaster and One Fateful Whaling Season.
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