The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float

It seems that we have done more reading about sailing that we have done actual sailing for quite some time, which is unfortunate, but has its benefits. While our street-smarts may be lacking for the time being, our book-smarts are getting quite substantial, and every once in a while you get a pleasant surprise like this little book.

Both our parents would have been quite disappointed to learn that a good Canadian boy (well Canadian anyway) had yet to read one single Farley Mowat book before now. The books I knew him for were mainly environmental/save-the- planet-type books. While laudable, not really my thing growing up. I was actually first exposed to him by a Disney movie made of his book called Never Cry Wolf back in ’83.

I can’t recall where I heard about The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float, but I think it was in a bibliography of someone’s blog. It had lots of good reviews from various sites so I ordered it as a used book from Amazon.

A bit different than Christa, I tend to lean towards sailing books that will give me a tangible learning benefit, while I see entertainment as merely a fringe benefit really. As long as the book is an easy read and can hold my interest to the end, I tend to see it as a success.

In this case, there was actually very little to learn about sailing per se, but you did get exposed to those items that are associated with the act such as your connection with the boat, the places travelled, people and relationships that result etc.

Through a quick 243 pages, we learn all about life in small Newfoundland Outports, smuggling booze form the French (as in France) islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, and the hijinks that ensue from a boat that actually does not stop leaking, for one reason or another, for the duration of the book. He starts his journey by paying $1000 for a boat that was $200 when new, and it’s all downhill from there.

He has a writing style that is very entertaining and easy to read. Full of what are no doubt half-truths and exaggerations, like any good Maritime story should have. Hyperbole notwithstanding, it is a very good book that is highly recommended.

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