Julia Plant, author of Coyote at Sea reflects:
When my older brother, Mike Plant, died at sea in 1992, just before his 42th birthday, he had made a big name for himself in the strange, and, seemingly impossible, sport of single-handed sailing around the world. Before his racing career took off, my relationship with Mike was an enormous part of my life and, particularly, a big part of my “coming of age” years: my mid- teens to my mid-twenties. His sudden death left me feeling bereft, and I wasn’t ready to let him go. Writing a book about him gave me the illusion of having him in my life.
As his sister, it was important to me that people understand who Mike was on an intimate level, as well as, who he was before he found his passion. Although he had dreamed about sailing around the world his whole life, he lived a lot of his life before he even knew about solo, long distance racing. He didn’t actually have a typical ocean sailor’s background. He grew up in Minnesota, a long ways from the sea, and he did not begin sailing on the ocean, let alone, solo, until he was thirty-six, the same year he won Class 2 in the 2nd BOC Challenge Around the World. He did realize his dream and the path that he took was wild, compelling and definitely worth writing a book about.
Hal Holbrook drawing a cool beer from the bilge of his yacht, Yankee Tar
When people first hear the name of our book, Beer in the Bilges, they usually have one of two responses. For sailors, it is one of confirmation, and for non-sailors it is one of confusion. After having read the book, everyone gets it, but since you might be wondering, and are too shy to ask, we thought we’d better tell you. But first some history.For hundreds of years, British sailors depended on alcohol to make the brutish task of sailing bearable. Whether they were volunteers or pressed into service, a sailor’s lot was a hard one, and being slightly sloshed soothed their demeanor and made them easier to manage. The British navy had the bright idea of giving the sailors a daily ration of a gallon of beer each to keep them suitably intoxicated. The problems with beer, though, were that it took up so much space, and that it tended to go off after too long in the keg, especially in the warmer climates. In 1655, however, the navy discovered the benefits of rum, and continued the practice of the daily tot of an eighth of a pint until 1970.
While not so formal a tradition in the recreational sailing world, beer has persisted as a necessary cargo for many sailors. Even though today’s voyages are usually shorter than a naval assignment, the problem with temperature is still present for the many boaters who do not have the luxury of refrigeration. The solution today, as it was centuries before, is to place the beer in the coolest part of the boat. That part of the boat is the area below the waterline called the bilge, and hence the general practice of keeping the “beer in the bilges.”
The authors (left to right) Peter Jinks, Alan Boreham and “Hollywood” Bob Rossiter
A boat load of new books have arrived at the Nautical Mind in the past month. They include:
SOLAS Consolidated Edition, 2011 on CD-ROM by International Maritime Organization – $139.95
In the King’s Name by Alexander Kent – $29.95
The Guidelines on the IMO STCW Convention by SF – $120.95
Commercial Management in Shipping by D. L. Dykstra – $119.95
When the Chestnut Was In Flower: Inside the Chestnut Canoe by Roger MacGregor – $49.95
RYA Introduction to Motorboat Handling by Jon Mendez – $31.95
We’re expecting four new, updated, or consolidated editions from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in May. Pre-order today, and we’ll ship them to you as soon as they arrive.
Ship’s Electrical Systems is the newest release from Dutch publisher Dokmar.
This book is intended for professionals and those with a good knowledge of the basics of electrical installations, but due to the quality of the writing and accompanying illustrations it is also accessible to those who are not in the industry.
The subjects covered includes all aspects of system design and installation: calculating power needs, initial drawings and equipment selection. Special electrical needs for specific types of vessels are also covered, including mega-yachts, dynamically-positioned (DP) ships, drilling rigs and dredges.
For those that are not familiar with this publisher, all Dokmar books are in a class by themselves when it comes to professional texts. The layout is clear and sensible, the writing is concise and to the point, and the accompanying illustrations and photos are useful, informative and full colour!
Be sure to check out the other Dokmar titles we carry:
Ship Stability by Klaas van Dokkum
Ship Knowledge by Klaas van Dokkum
The Colregs Guide (Fully Illustrated) by Klaas van Dokkum
For over thirty years, Lin and Larry Pardey have been sailing around the world, writing about their adventures, and showing others how to follow them. Unlike most modern cruisers they sail without any engine whatsoever!
The third edition of their cruising classic, The Capable Cruiser has just come out. It’s fully revised and updated, and has nine all new chapters including: ways to encourage your partner to share your dream; strategies for turning sudden engine failure into a minor incident; choosing safety equipment; repairing rigging at sea; and and “What do people worry about that never actually happens”.