Saturday, March 08, 2014

Tristan Jones and the Greenland Yarn

The idea for the Greenland Yarn came from reading Tristan Jones. His are good stories - yarns in an old fashioned way - but I found them too good, to the point that one doubts their truth.

A little research and I discovered I wasn't alone - indeed he has a reputation for being "flexible" with the facts in his writing.

However reading the stories it's clear it isn't all fiction, there is some truth there, but where to draw the line and why did he write like that?

I think that partly it was his character, and so, in my review of his book "Ice", I imagined him in a pub, telling tall tales in return for drinks.

But also one thing that offshore sailing does give you is time for the mind to wander, and you are also spending a lot of your time wondering "what if?".

What if the wind backs? What if we get iced in? What if a polar bear attacks?

And in each case, how would I respond?

I think his stories came from those long spaces between events when he lived with his dog Nelson and his imagination.

So I thought I'd try the same, starting with four true stories from my sail last summer, when I saw an iceberg in the Denmark straight, when we went for soak in a natural hot spring, when we were caught in the mist ashore and when we had engine failure when moored deep in a fjord.

What if there'd be something on that iceberg? What if those hunters had joined us in the hot spring? What if I'd been alone in the mist without a compass? What if the outboard engine had failed during the tow?

The last one for obvious reasons was on my mind a lot during the towing, and I'm really glad that that one was fictional.

It was then split into 9 chunks with the last line of each a suitable hook for the next post.

Which reminds me, there was something I said I'd post about sailing to Greenland with three Disney princesses...


Tillerman said...

There's fiction and there's non-fiction. Or so we have been led to believe. I think every public library I have ever seen divides their books strictly into those two categories.( I wonder where they put Tristan's books?)

And then there are a few books that combine fact and fantasy into the same mix. It's a little disconcerting at first but entertaining if you accept it for what it is.

I know that on my own blog, not everything I present as a factual account of my own sailing adventures is absolutely 100% true. I do exaggerate and embellish. I hope my readers know when I'm doing it but maybe they don't always.

PS. There weren't really any flying koalas on that day I sailed at Sea Cliff YC and my mainsheet has never really tied itself into a triple buntline carrick bend double surgeon's clinch knot inside a double fisherman's alpine butterfly rolling hitch.

O Docker said...

I had just attributed this to rum.

Towpath Tanya said...

I get stories like this all the time from Buff, luv.

JP said...

I usually have a bug-bear about either being fact or fiction. For example really dislike those movies that are based on real events but then change what happen. I also really dislike magical realism: either be real or magical but to mix the two just doesn't work for me.

Most blogging is true unless you see the fiction tag: I might update the Greenland Yarn posts with it to make it clear.

Buff Staysail said...

Tanya: JP's been a right ol' bore to be honest, staying off the amber nectar because of his bug and taking antibiotics. But fear not, your's truly is doing his best to keep the average up where it should be. I keep trying to replace his mug of tea with a Long Island Iced Tea but he said no.

More for Buff!!