Tuning the Rig, Harvey Oxenhorn's newly rediscovered story of life at sea, is a masterful work of nautical adventure and natural history. Harvey Oxenhorn had taught Conrad and Melville, but never set foot on a tall ship until he boarded the Regina Maris as a volunteer on a survey expedition to study humpback whales. The voyage takes him north of the Arctic Circle via Newfoundland, Labrador and Greenland. His evocation of masts and spars, canvas and rigging, and of the living presence of the Regina Maris on the open ocean is some of the finest writing about life aboard ship this side of Patrick O'Brian. So too is Oxenhorn's depiction of the intricate inter-workings of a crew at sea, who start out as strangers, but slowly become the kind of smoothly functioning, interdependent unit that is absolutely necessary for mastering the incredible complexity of a three masted barkentine. Tuning the Rig is a beautiful, passionate examination of a man's coming to terms with himself, with his fellows, and with the diverse wonders of a fascinating Arctic ecosystem.