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Old 31-05-2019, 05:02   #1
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Salty Sailor Stories for Old Timey Read-Alouds

This summer will be our 10th big sailing trip around New England with the same group of friends. For entertainment we end up playing a lot of board games and listening to podcasts and stuff like that. But once in a while we find an old book of sailor stories worthy of reading out loud. They need to have antiquated contemporary accounts, preferably with some local lore and old-timey dialogue, and of course some harrowing tales of survival don’t hurt.
Last year we read “Lighthouses of the Maine Coast and the Men Who Keep Them” one chapter at a time with lots of laughs. This year I’ve got a book about the shipwrecks at Boon Island that looks promising.

I know it’s corny, and if you roll your eyes at the very thought of this you wouldn’t be the first, but does anyone have any salty literary gems to recommend? Thanks!
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Old 31-05-2019, 05:31   #2
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Re: Salty Sailor Stories for Old Timey Read-Alouds

I don't have any contributions to make but that sure is a cool tradition.
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Old 31-05-2019, 13:29   #3
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Re: Salty Sailor Stories for Old Timey Read-Alouds

Joseph Conrad?
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Old 05-06-2019, 20:39   #4
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Re: Salty Sailor Stories for Old Timey Read-Alouds

For a real old-timey story, it would be hard to top "The Nagle Journal"; Jacob Nagle's diary, from 1775 to 1841. This is nonfiction. He starts out in an artillery crew at the battle of Brandywine, decides privateering might be better, and gets captured by the British on his second voyage. Imprisoned in the Caribbean, he gets freed by the French. When the British re-take the island he's pressed into the British navy, where he serves for decades. Being the Bosun in the jolly-boat that's going around Sydney harbor deciding where the city is going to be is just one of his adventures. He ends up back in the U.S. and obtains a pension from Congress for his role as a soldier and sailor in the Revolution. The original diary is in the Clements Library collections at the University of Michigan. This edited version standardizes the spelling and includes period charts, prints, and plates that make it fascinating reading. Unlike O'Brien's or other series, this story is a first hand account of things that actually happened by a sailor (not an officer) who was there.
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Old 05-06-2019, 20:47   #5
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Re: Salty Sailor Stories for Old Timey Read-Alouds

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Originally Posted by psk125 View Post
For a real old-timey story, it would be hard to top "The Nagle Journal"; Jacob Nagle's diary, from 1775 to 1841. This is nonfiction. He starts out in an artillery crew at the battle of Brandywine, decides privateering might be better, and gets captured by the British on his second voyage. Imprisoned in the Caribbean, he gets freed by the French. When the British re-take the island he's pressed into the British navy, where he serves for decades. Being the Bosun in the jolly-boat that's going around Sydney harbor deciding where the city is going to be is just one of his adventures. He ends up back in the U.S. and obtains a pension from Congress for his role as a soldier and sailor in the Revolution. The original diary is in the Clements Library collections at the University of Michigan. This edited version standardizes the spelling and includes period charts, prints, and plates that make it fascinating reading. Unlike O'Brien's or other series, this story is a first hand account of things that actually happened by a sailor (not an officer) who was there.
This sounds fascinating. I'm going to look into this.

I always liked Richard Henry Dana's "Two Years before the Mast". Does anybody know if Dana's Point south of LA (north of San Diego) is named after him?
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Old 05-06-2019, 20:54   #6
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Re: Salty Sailor Stories for Old Timey Read-Alouds

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This sounds fascinating. I'm going to look into this.

I always liked Richard Henry Dana's "Two Years before the Mast". Does anybody know if Dana's Point south of LA (north of San Diego) is named after him?
Yep, Dana Point named for Richard Henry Dana... that's the salty lore anyway!

I always liked the "Secret Sharer" by Joseph Conrad
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Old 05-06-2019, 20:55   #7
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Re: Salty Sailor Stories for Old Timey Read-Alouds

Not too old-timey, but well written: The Coast of Summer, by Anthony Bailey. He wrote for the New Yorker when he wasn't sailing around the Cape Cod area, so it flows beautifully, with great descriptions of the various harbors and scene in general.
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Old 06-06-2019, 02:32   #8
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Re: Salty Sailor Stories for Old Timey Read-Alouds

I just ordered this book:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/South-Sea-V...s=books&sr=1-1

After reading this article about it:
https://www.greenaway.co.nz/wp-conte..._Greenaway.pdf

I found it hilarious, but also inspirational. An unemployed guy with no money who builds a boat from scrap, driftwood, and fencing wire, and sails the south pacific?! It reminds you that anything is possible if you don't give up.

There's always this:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...efore_the_Mast
Which is out of copyright and available here:
Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana
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Old 21-06-2019, 09:15   #9
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Re: Salty Sailor Stories for Old Timey Read-Alouds

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Originally Posted by psk125 View Post
For a real old-timey story, it would be hard to top "The Nagle Journal"; Jacob Nagle's diary, from 1775 to 1841. This is nonfiction. He starts out in an artillery crew at the battle of Brandywine, decides privateering might be better, and gets captured by the British on his second voyage. Imprisoned in the Caribbean, he gets freed by the French. When the British re-take the island he's pressed into the British navy, where he serves for decades. Being the Bosun in the jolly-boat that's going around Sydney harbor deciding where the city is going to be is just one of his adventures. He ends up back in the U.S. and obtains a pension from Congress for his role as a soldier and sailor in the Revolution. The original diary is in the Clements Library collections at the University of Michigan. This edited version standardizes the spelling and includes period charts, prints, and plates that make it fascinating reading. Unlike O'Brien's or other series, this story is a first hand account of things that actually happened by a sailor (not an officer) who was there.
I purchased the Nagle Journal based on your suggestion and it's a real gem! Just what I was looking for, thanks.

It's sorta hard to explain, but some of the suggestions are a little "too good" for our half-ironic-half-in-awe read aloud purposes. I'm writing them all down to read on my own, but to read aloud it has to be just the right old time flavor. Thanks, all!
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