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"Tales" recounts an adventure: an exciting and thoughtful unfolding not only of the author's physical travel through the Waterway, but of his reflections along the way. It is not only "Wind from the NW at 20 knots. Fog lasting 9 hours. Beautiful sunset. Left the eastern buoy to port and headed S-SW for 10 miles. Etc. Etc." (Although there is some of that for reference by those planning the trip.)
I vicariously joined the author, and his various crew mates, on his journey. Often -- and more often than not (it seemed to me) -- we were uncomfortable, disheartened, angry, lonely, drenched, worried, bored, sweating or freezing, or just plain scared. We were also entranced, astounded, relaxed, exhilarated, subdued, energized, and often thrilled by some magnificent part of the natural world. At times, negotiating this vast stretch of water in a 17-foot cat boat seemed like a misguided attempt at something. Ah, but therein lies the rub. And there's the story! For Roland wrestles with his soul along the way, searching for the Why? Why am I, now a 70 year old man, tackling this unknown expedition? Why am I on this quest? Why am I not in my comfortable home, a beer in hand, resting in an armchair watching the Patriots? And of course, he comes up with no solid answers, but shares his perceptive musings and reflections.
He sailed much of the way solo, isolated from human empathy or conversation. But during his voyage, there was also the company of some close friends, whose accounts are related, presenting a different perspective. (See "Cruising Rules" by Barth.)
And then he was home. Yes, he made it, and the stories along the way made it into a book, this book, a book that most sailors can relate to. But also one that non-sailors can sink their teeth into, perhaps reminding them of a challenge they have undertaken -- and conquered! I'm glad I'm off the boat, but I'm sure inspired by the courage and humor with which Roland relates his experiences. Thanks for doing it for me, Roland. Now I don't have to!
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Posted September 22, 2013