Sea tri­als

Yachting Monthly - - BOOK REVIEWS -

By Wendy Hin­man, pub­lished by Salsa Press at $20 This tells the story of the San Fran­cis­cobased Wil­cox fam­ily’s 1973-78 shoe­string cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tion aboard Vela, a 40ft wooden East­port Pinky cut­ter.

The book opens with a vivid de­scrip­tion of Vela be­ing pounded onto a Fi­jian reef a lit­tle over a year af­ter leav­ing. She was sal­vaged and, as the cover shows, eight months of restora­tive, wal­let-bust­ing work be­gan, much of it car­ried out by the fam­ily them­selves.

This is an en­gag­ingly-told tale of storms, pi­rates, thieves, gun­boats, scurvy and ship­wreck, that ends in pub­lic ac­claim for the Wil­cox fam­ily, fol­lowed by dis­il­lu­sion­ment with a life afloat. It’s a rat­tling yarn of ad­ver­sity over­come, and it would be ideal for any­one who has yet to ac­knowl­edge that liv­ing aboard is not all plain sail­ing and sun­sets.

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