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Book Review-'Sailing, Yachts and Yarns' by Tom Cunliffe

by Rob Tickner on 15 May 2011
Sailing, Yachts and Yarns SW
'Sailing, Yachts and Yarns' is a treasure chest of nautical wit and wisdom. Tom Cunliffe has chosen the very best of his writing for Yachting Monthly magazine to ensure a lively mix of anecdote, opinion and instruction.

There are hilarious tales that take the reader on a voyage from the frozen waters of Greenland to the palm trees of the Tropics. Tom also shares the lessons learned navigating an engineless yacht across the Atlantic with only the stars to guide him and lets loose on the red tape and rules that he sees infringing on the freedom of the seas.

Tom has a gift for explaining the magic of sail and his writing is a marvelous antidote to mass market commercialism that threatens to engulf sailing. This is the perfect book for dipping into to discover another gem from one of greatest sailing writers alive today.

Nobody captures the magic of sail or conveys the lessons of seamanship like Tom. He's one of sailing's great raconteurs.

Extract from Sailing Yachts and Yarns:

...but before examining what constitutes a genuine accident, it’s worth sparing a thought for a crew of Japanese fishermen as reported in the Australian Financial Review.

These honest sons of the sea were cruising home mending their nets when a large cow fell from the sky, plunged through the deck before their astonished gaze, continued past the fish hold and out through the bottom. You might be thinking that the beast would have been better employed supplying milk to the thirsty, but the fishermen had other priorities because their boat was sinking rapidly. When they were finally pulled from the water, nobody believed their story. Far from being returned to their loved ones, they were interrogated and slung in jail, presumably under suspicion of insurance fraud.

Weeks later, the truth was leaked by the Russian Air Ministry. Apparently the crew of a cargo plane had stolen a cow, herded her aboard, then taken off for home and a fresh beef dinner. The plan backfired somewhere over the Sea of Japan when the hitherto mild-mannered cudster awoke to the fact that her future looked short and far from pleasant.

So violent were her berserk rampages that the aircraft’s stability was compromised, leaving the airmen little alternative but to shove the beast out of the door.

The chances of her making landfall on the boat below were so remote that not even Mr ‘Jobsworth’ the assessor could blame the fishermen. It just hadn’t been their day.


'Sailing, Yachts and Yarns' is available from Boat Books, or it is available online by http://www.boatbooks-aust.com.au/product_info.php?products_id=29838!clicking_here.


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