Mercier Press, £9.99
Cruising folk have all felt that urge. It comes most strongly in mid-life: sell the house and sail the world. Here is a couple who grasped that helm and went on a two year circumnavigation.
From the start you want to keep going with this husband and wife team. They come over as the kind of people you would be happy to spend time with in the confines of a yacht. There is a strong sense of the emotions associated with such a major life decision - selling the old family home, leaving the family behind and learning to share the unaccustomed tiny living quarters.
Preparation for this two-year voyage was thorough and the sense of frustration that goes with trying to find the perfect yacht is palpable. In time Barbara and Frank did find their perfect yacht, but personally I would have had reservations about such a large area of glass on an ocean bound vessel.
Barbara gives a fine description of the various places visited. There isn't a word from Frank however, and I was wondering were he was for a while when suddenly up he pops to give a refreshing change of mood with his description of crossing to the Caribbean.
More detail on the actual sailing experience and on how they handled their various technical problems would have been welcome, and from this point of view it's a shame the pair didn't share the writing - sailors always want to learn from others.
Barbara's humanity is wonderful, she discusses the couple's relationship openly. The piece on Frank's water passing difficulties will earn your sympathy and I readily empathised with Barbara's sense of horror on entering a church on St Lucia and finding it filled with plastic flowers, while outside the roadways were awash with hibiscus and other floral wonders.
Fans of cruising books will understand when I say - the trouble is I always come to them hoping for another Slocum. I tend to be disappointed as his standard has never been matched. Nevertheless, this is a well written chronicle of a very interesting voyage; one for armchair and real sailors alike.