Monday, December 7, 2009

Across Islands and Oceans

One of my favorite sailing writers of all time is James Baldwin, of the Pearson Triton Atom. Over the years I have eagerly looked forward to his magazine articles in Cruising World and Good Old Boat, and have learned much from the great resources he has published on his website: Atom Voyages.
Certainly what has attracted me to Baldwin's writings on the subjects of ocean voyaging, choosing and preparing a boat for cruising, and finding ways to finance the lifestyle is his overwhelmingly can-do, positive attitude. Unlike so many of the the advertising-driven articles that make up the bulk of most sailing magazines, James Baldwin goes against the tide in writing about simple and modestly-sized boats, a simple cruising lifestyle, and an attitude reminiscent of Moitessier about work and money. Baldwin didn't wait for comfortable retirement and the means to buy a 40-foot plus yacht before going to sea in search of adventure. Instead, at the age of 21 he spent everything he had to purchase a 28-foot Pearson Triton, took some shakedown cruises to see what he needed and what he did not need, then sailed the boat around the world - not once, but twice.
James Baldwin has since been based in Brunswick, Georgia with his wife Mei, who he met on his second voyage. I've corresponded with him a number of times on various subjects ranging from publishing books and choosing a suitable cruising boat to discussions of Wharram catamarans.
He told me he intended to write a book about some of his experiences, and now he has gotten around to doing so, posting it online chapter-by-chapter where you can read it free of charge. At a later date he intends to offer it as a Print-On-Demand book on Amazon. I really hope he does this soon, as I will be one of the first to order it and it will reside on the shelf with my favorite cruising and adventure narratives.
To read Baldwin's online version of the book, go to Across Islands and Oceans. Sixteen of twenty-two chapters are now posted for reading at your leisure. I can guarantee that reading this book will make you want to cast off the docklines and go.

1 comment:

  1. I live in Brunswick, too, and have had the pleasure to work alongside James on a few occasions. He's mentored a close friend and is always available to answer any questions I've had about local boats. James actually saved me from taking possession of a boat that would have been a huge headache. Great guy.


"A boat is freedom, not just a way to reach a goal."
Bernard Moitessier - A Sea Vagabond's World


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