The Whiskey Sea

Passage Maker - - Captain’s Bookshelf - BY BRIAN K. LIND

I’ll ad­mit this book might not have come across my radar had it not been for a free advance Kin­dle copy I re­ceived from Ama­zon Prime. But I’m glad the al­go­rithm sent this novel my way. In The Whiskey Sea, Ann Howard Creel tells the story of Frieda Hope, who is de­ter­mined to make a bet­ter life for her­self and her sis­ter Bea. Mother­less and des­ti­tute dur­ing Pro­hi­bi­tion times, Frieda and her sis­ter are taken in by a fish­er­man named Sil­ver. It is through Sil­ver—a fa­ther fig­ure to the two girls—that her con­nec­tion to the sea be­gins. When Sil­ver sells his boat, Frieda con­vinces the new owner, Sam Hicks, to teach her en­gine re­pair as a means to make a modest wage. How­ever, boat re­pair isn’t quite lu­cra­tive enough to make ends meet, and Frieda is drawn into an en­gag­ing and sus­pense­ful back story of rum-run­ning.

I found my­self drawn to the set­ting and de­scrip­tions de­tail­ing Frieda’s ex­pe­ri­ence in the nau­ti­cal world of boat re­pair and run­ning rum on her cus­tomer’s boat. It is a unique take on Pro­hi­bi­tion told not by the aris­to­crats or gang­sters but by the fishermen and water­front work­ers who are look­ing to sim­ply get by in the chang­ing world. The his­tor­i­cal nar­ra­tive along with the vivid de­scrip­tions of life on the wa­ter make this story a plea­sure to read. n

WATCH OVER ME

Weems & Plath has long set it­self apart by con­struct­ing high-qual­ity ana­log ma­rine gear like brass clocks, barom­e­ters, and bells. And now the com­pany seems to have hit a home run with con­nected de­vices, in­clud­ing the award-win­ning crew over­board bea­con, CrewWatcher. The new device has al­ready racked up in­ter­na­tional awards, in­clud­ing an in­no­va­tion award at this year’s Mi­ami Boat Show, where the awards com­mit­tee praised its sim­plic­ity of use.

It is pretty sim­ple: Pair the wa­ter­proof bea­con (it looks like an or­ange key float) with the CrewWatcher app and then se­curely af­fix it to your PFD. One smart device—a phone or tablet—can watch up to five crewmem­bers at a time, as long as each has a bea­con at­tached to a PFD (or, for those furry crewmem­bers, a col­lar). If the bea­con goes over­board, its hy­dro­static trig­ger will au­to­mat­i­cally sound an alarm. The alarm also sounds when the bea­con is too far from its paired device. Dur­ing an over­board event, the res­cue screen on the app dis­plays the tar­get’s bear­ing, dis­tance, and lat/ long co­or­di­nates for lo­cat­ing and re­triev­ing the pack­age.

Of course, if you’re not wear­ing a life­jacket, it’s sig­nif­i­cantly less use­ful.

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