Thursday, January 07, 2010

Book Review: Three ways to capsize a boat

When its cold nothing quite beats sticking indoors with the heating on and a good book - hibernating in all but name. And preferably the books should remind one of warmer days in the sun, such as sailing in the Med.

And that is just what this book does, or at least the first half. The author Chris Stewart has a couple of claims to fame: firstly he was the original drummer in the band Genesis, but that was a long time ago before Phil Collins came along and they became successful.

He then went off to Andalusia to buy a small holding which he wrote about in a series of autobiographical books which I described over xmas as "you know, those lemon books". Fortunately my host had a better memory than me and had actually read them so was able to work out I was trying to remember "Driving over lemons".

This book is not about lemons or classic rock bands but about how Chris ended up spending one summer in the Greek islands sailing a Cornish Crabber for its well off lady owner. There was just one problem - he didn't know how to sail.

So cue some amusing confusion of learning with inevitable mistakes then trouble learning the ways of the Greek islands. Its all rather pleasant and easy to consume, like a cold beer on a hot day or glass of mulled wine on a chilly one.

In the second half he then joins a crew sailing a Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter in the all together more serious task of following the ancient Vikings in crossing from Norway to Vinland. This is colder, rougher, tougher and more dramatic.

Over all a pleasant read but it left afterwards only the slightest of impressions - but then so does many a good holiday.

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