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Old 01-04-2006, 21:53   #1
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Brief Review: My Old Man and The Sea

I just finished reading My Old Man and the Sea by David and Daniel Hays, and I found the book impressive. At the start, I wondered if the book was worth while, since the writing style was pretty self-deprecating, and it was a mix of both the father's and the son's narratives. I feared it would be one of those "look, we were fools and made it" types of stories, but it turns out to be much more powerful.

Bascially, a father and son decided the round Cape Horn in a 25 foot, English-made Vertue (fiberglass hull) that they finished themselves. If they succeeded, they'd be the first American's to round the horn in a boat of less than 30 feet.

As the story plays out, we learn that the father had been sailing since he was nine years-old, enduring difficult times in the process (more social and racial), and that he is very serious about achieving both this passage and experiencing the trip with his son. His son has positive feelings for his dad, but at the same time it's a challenge for him to "be in the shadow" of his father, even though they decided at the start that the son would be captain. The father is growing older, and the son is moving into his own.

The relationship is well developed, as well as the history of the horn and the overal details of their boat, voyage, planning and experiences. I liked the book a lot for this-- it wasn't so much about experiencing other cultures, but about the far scarier experience of learning more about themselves.

It's also clear that they loved their boat, and the "passage was the thing" in this trip. Impressive.

Book link:

http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/bibli...-0060976969-10
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Old 01-04-2006, 22:09   #2
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That was a good book. I read it a few years ago. If you liked that, read "The Boat Who Wouldn't Float" It is a similar style of writing. There was another one if you are looking at southern ocean stories, "Cruising The Straights Of Magellan" I think (I may have the title wrong). What a turkey. Terrible writing style. I tried three different times to get through that book, and finally agonized through it the third time. Worst part was it kept putting me to sleep. good book for a doctors office. That is about the only place a person could be bored enough to make that book interesting.
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Old 01-04-2006, 22:18   #3
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Yes, I just finished reading "The Boat Who Wouldn't Float" a few weeks ago-- very funny book. The only bad part was the there were several times in the first half of the book where the situations were so excruciating that I wished they'd just die and get it over with...

The only thing about Mowat's writing that throws me is that it's hard to discern when he's being serious or not. I mean, does he really have such a wretched weakness for auctions that he'd buy out the stock of ancient ship stores. Also, would anyone go off shore of Newfoundland (into near constant fogs and rather certain death) with a compass that was off by sixty degrees?

As mentioned, it's excruciating to think about...
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Old 01-04-2006, 22:35   #4
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Oh, that's not how it's done?
I agree, it was one of those books that just left you shaking you head.
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Old 02-04-2006, 16:31   #5
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Agreed.

Agreed. "My Old Man and The Sea" was fantastic. It was a genuinely touching story that happened to be about sailing. My Aunt gave this book to me just before she died, so it has some other significance as well.
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Old 03-04-2006, 10:10   #6
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It was a good read, I remember it from a few years ago. I was impressed with their navigation, which was pure celestial, and very limited electronics as I recall. They did the Horn west to east but even so, the Vertue's a tough little boat.
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Old 27-04-2006, 13:52   #7
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I enjoyed My Old Man and the Sea immensely. You're right: delivers more than it promises.
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Old 27-04-2006, 14:28   #8
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Imagine having to stop you engine and then start it in reverse to go in reverse. Mowat's story was wonderful. As for the boat in My Old Man and the Sea it was the same model Tanye Aebi sailed around the world isn't it? Any small boat voyage is worth reading about.

anybody got any screech?
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Old 27-04-2006, 14:47   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pura Vida
As for the boat in My Old Man and the Sea it was the same model Tanye Aebi sailed around the world isn't it?
Tanya's book was also excellent. She had a Contessa 26:

http://sailquest.com/market/models/cont26.htm

In "My Old Man and the Sea," they had a 25 foot English-made Vertue (but fiberglass hull, not wood):

http://www.woodenboat.org/festival/Guide/kea.htm
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Old 27-04-2006, 16:20   #10
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I had read the book several years ago and couldn't remember exactly. I'm familiar with the Giles Vertue designs... mostly from Hiscock.
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Old 27-04-2006, 19:04   #11
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Eric Hiscock: now there's story-telling.
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Old 27-04-2006, 22:14   #12
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I have read most of Mowat's books and find him one of the more entertaining storytellers out there. Keeping to the nautical theme try Serpents Coil by Mowat. It is about salvage tugs in the North Atlantic. For the dog lovers out there a must read is The Dog Who Would'nt Be. A Whale for the Killing is somewhat of a sequel to The Boat Who Would'nt Float. If you are interested in the Inuit People and the Canadian Artic try People of the Deer, The Desperate People, and The Snowwalker.

A round of Screech for all
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