- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Thomas Allen Publishers; 1 edition (April 28 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0887622240
- ISBN-13: 978-0887622243
- Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.3 x 23.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 499 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #399,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Witch in the Wind: The True Story of the Legendary Bluenose Hardcover – Apr 28 2007
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"Behold the Dreamers" is an unforgettable debut novel about a family's struggle to make a new life in America from author Imbolo Mbue. Learn more
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. It proved an immensely successful change. A significant trait of a fishing schooner is its ability to "sail close-hauled" - as near to heading into the wind as you can. The effect is to tilt the schooner until one rail [and no little deck area!] remains under water during a given tack. Bluenose excelled at close-hauled sailing, as many of her competitors learned to their chagrin. With a master like Angus Walters, who sailed with every stitch of canvas possible, Bluenose romped past its competitors with deceptive ease. The author might have skimmed over the details of the races for brevity's sake. Instead, he presents the action with animation, turning fine points into gripping accounts. Each race, and the later career of The Queen of the Atlantic are depicted with precision laced with sensitivity and pathos.
For de Villiers, the true tragedy isn't the loss of the Bluenose in the post-War Caribbean. It's the fact that this grand sailer was built in the era of industrialisation and early globalisation. Gasoline and diesel-powered boats were already at sea when the Bluenose's keel was laid. They were erratic and unsafe, and could land too many fish. Schoonermen protested their introduction with exactly the same complaints heard years later. Engine-driven boats weren't fast, but they were constant, and did the same job with smaller crews. Bluenose thus was not merely the most attractive and fastest schooner in the Western Atlantic, she was also the symbol of a fading excellence of design. Schooners have gone extinct like the great lizards - due to conditions beyond their control. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Look for similar items by category