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Witch in the Wind: The True Story of the Legendary Bluenose Hardcover – Apr 28 2007
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Witch in the Wind sometimes reads like a celebrity tell-all: myths are debunked; the true characters of the famous boat’s owners, skipper, and crew are revealed; and her fierce competition with American ships is exposed in all its ugly glory. De Villiers has done an excellent job of outlining the context behind the building of the Bluenose and her racing success, and has produced a story that is far more interesting than the conventional tale about a magical boat that never lost a race. Boat enthusiasts and landlubbers alike will appreciate de Villiers’ thorough, yet accessible, research.
(Quill & Quire)
Witch in the Wind demonstrates that the Bluenose was a late flowering in schooner design, a high point of sorts, yet, even when brand spanking new, already an exercise in nostalgia and romance, a last remnant of a lost world of wood and wind and canvas an speed...Witch in the Wind boasts fishing scenes worthy of Melville." (Canadian Geographic)
Poignant and often profound, Witch in the Wind shows the tone and texture of a seasoned journalist, peppered with distinct Maritime flavour... (Globe & Mail)
This is not just a book about a pretty legend, a ship-on-a-dime. Instead, it is the story of tough men in a tough trade who put to sea in search of fish, sailing ships that often carried far too much canvas, endangering and often extinguishing the lives of those who crewed them...If you read only one book about the Bluenose, make it this one. (Owen Sound Sun Times)
De Villiers... is a gifted writer with the research skills and authority of a professional historian and the storytelling strengths of an inspired journalist. (Atlantic Books Today)
The story of the Bluenose, on waves and land, is... a wonderful story of ingenuity and intrigue and inspiration. (Halifax Herald)
About the Author
Born in South Africa, Marq de Villiers is a veteran Canadian journalist and the author of thirteen books on exploration, history, politics, and travel. He has worked as a foreign correspondent in Moscow and through Eastern Europe and spent many years as Editor and then Publisher of Toronto Life magazine. Most recently he was Editorial Director of WHERE Magazines International.
Top Customer Reviews
Framing his narrative in a roughly chronological order, de Villiers opens with the final race. Bluenose had been specially conceived from a challenge to hold races between fishing schooners crewed by fishermen. In fact, the contenders, even in new boats, had to engage in at least one fishing season to qualify for entry. Prompted by the cancellation of a yacht race due to "excessive winds", William Dennis of the Halifax Herald scorned the Yanks of New England for scrubbing a race due to weather that was ideal operating conditions for Atlantic fishers. The challenge was taken up and the North Atlantic Fishermen's International Competition was formed. Dennis' challenge wasn't the first suggestion for such an event, but the timing was fortuitous. The search for contenders caught up fisher Angus Walters, already in the process of building a new schooner.
Angus' long career as skipper of the Bluenose rightly dominates this tale. Among other things, he posed a late design suggestion to William Roue revising the form of the bow.Read more ›