A Passion for the Sea Hardcover – Mar 15 2011
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
As another reviewer mentioned, it is a great book to pick up, open anywhere and read. And each time you open it, you will learn something new. I certainly enjoy it for the stories - of voyages and ports, of cruising as a family, and of Cornell's early pre-sailing years in Romania and England. Cornell's life was excellent reading even before he first set sail, and even my non-boating family members and friends have been very moved by this section of the book. I particularly enjoyed reading about the preparations for and trip to Antarctica on Aventura III (great photos!).
But "A Passion for the Sea" is also filled with practical advice about all aspects of sailing and cruising. Want to know how Cornell anchors? He tells you. What system of watches does he use when sailing with family or crew? He details what he does and why. What does he carry in his abandon ship bag? What does he do when he lays up the boat ashore or afloat? What gear does he consider essential? How did they educate their children aboard? What criteria has he used in choosing his boats? I think it might take you years to fully absorb the full range of practical advice offered in "A Passion for the Sea". Many chapters offer lists of Tips or To Dos for various situations.
Perhaps this might be the best way to describe "A Passion for the Sea": It is as if you were invited to crew with Jimmy Cornell, learning as you traveled the many skills needed to be a successful world cruiser. Cornell is generous in sharing the experiences from 200,000 miles of cruising that inform his decisions. But there is always time aboard for great stories - the ones that inspire us to get out there and visit the many ports that Cornell introduced us to.
He writes with ease and joy. His subjective approach to the topic is endearing. The book is filled with a charming blend of solid advice (that any ocean sailor should heed), petty "I told you so"s (that will have offended those he tattles on), and personal perspectives (wife and kids at sea, no one allowed out of the cockpit if he is not on deck, up-close-and-personal meetings with whales, seals, penguins and natives).
Most provocative to me (as a sailor) is his strong defense of center-boarders. I am almost convinced that the advantages (many) outweigh the disadvantages (also many) of a such a design. Some of his many excellent photos help his case: anchoring in safe havens too shallow for others, crossing reefs that others must skirt, using his centerboard as a depth sounder.
It is a book that can be opened to any page and read. Fun and informative.