Blue Water, Green Skipper
A Memoir of Sailing Alone Across the Atlantic
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stone Barrington series tells the true story of his journey sailing alone across the Atlantic Ocean.
Stuart Woods had never owned more than a dinghy before setting out on one of the world’s most demanding sea voyages, navigating single-handedly across the Atlantic. How, at the age of thirty-seven, did this self-proclaimed novice go from small ponds to the big sea?
Now with a new afterword that looks back at how one transatlantic race changed his life, Woods takes readers on a spectacular journey—not just of traveling across the world, but of being tried in fire, learning by accepting challenges, appreciating the beauty of the open water, and living to tell about it.
Originally published in 1977, novelist Woods's first book tells the true story of the author's journey to and participation in the 1976 Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race (OSTAR). Originally from Georgia, Woods was living in Ireland and working on his first novel when he decided to try his hand at sailing. With a small inheritance from his recently deceased grandfather, Woods commissioned the building of a boat, the Golden Harp, and set about getting ready for the race. The author describes designing the yacht, and discusses other aspects of the preparation for the OSTAR, like seeking sponsors and completing a trial competition from Portsmouth, England to the Azores. Though he was technically disqualified, his performance gave him the confidence needed to attempt the OSTAR. The final chapters detail the drama of the big race, including a loss of electricity just a few days in, a fear of running out of water, thunderstorms in the Gulf Stream, and the unfortunate deaths of two competitors. The passage ultimately took 45 days to complete. This new edition features an afterword in which Woods (Chiefs) reflects on what the race meant to him, and shares other sailing experiences. Casual readers will enjoy the adventurous portions of the tale, but sailing aficionados will get the most out of Woods's journey.
This is just not a good book. It is billed as a memoir of a single handed race and it was at the 80% point in the book when he finally crossed the starting line. Inexcusable.
The rest? Endless trivia about learning to sail on a sailing dinghy and sailing on the 30' boat he wound up using in the race, which he ridiculously refers to as a "yacht".
None of the characters in the book were adequately described, including several women who came and went, pretty much at his beck and call. Maybe they were sisters or cousins since not a hint of physical contact or romance was ever mentioned.
Fortunately his works of fiction are good. We should all hope he sticks to that.