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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More philosophy than travelogue
SEAMANSHIP is author Adam Nicolson's account of his 1,500-mile voyage along the outer fringes of the British Isles aboard the 42-foot ketch "Auk".
Perhaps I should have realized the thrust of Nicolson's narrative sooner. Indeed, as soon as I opened the front cover, seen the extent of the voyage as depicted on two end page maps, and then noted that this...
Published on 27 Dec. 2005 by Amazon Customer

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Curate's Egg
I enjoyed this book - I can also recommend 'Sea Room' by the same author. But as the previous reviewer mentioned, this is not a travelogue - there are one or two highlights, but the text confirmed my suspicions. Nicolson is a hopeless romantic (albeit one who lives in a castle and owns his own islands) who obviously loves the idea of the sea, but is a bit cack-handed when...
Published on 24 May 2007 by Diana Fitzpatrick


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More philosophy than travelogue, 27 Dec. 2005
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Amazon Customer (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Seamanship: A Voyage Along the Wild Coasts of the British Isles (Hardcover)
SEAMANSHIP is author Adam Nicolson's account of his 1,500-mile voyage along the outer fringes of the British Isles aboard the 42-foot ketch "Auk".
Perhaps I should have realized the thrust of Nicolson's narrative sooner. Indeed, as soon as I opened the front cover, seen the extent of the voyage as depicted on two end page maps, and then noted that this small hardcover is only 177 pages long with relatively large print. I mean, if one is sailing from Falmouth in Cornwall across the Celtic Sea to Ireland's southern tip, then back across to Cornwall, north to southwestern Wales, across the Celtic Sea again, up along Ireland's west coast, across to Scotland, up through the Inner and Outer Hebrides, east to the Orkney Islands, and finally ending far to the northwest in the Faeroes, how much description of so many places can be jammed into such a small space? Disappointingly little, if that's what you're looking for.
Rather than a travelogue in the traditional sense, SEAMANSHIP is more a ruminative consideration of Sailing Man's relationship to the Sea and his Ship, and, in this volume specifically, Adam's success (or not) in manly bonding with the Auk's skipper, George. Nicolson's philosophical bent is well represented by the following passage:
"The nature of the voyage is set before you cast off. A sea passage is shaped by the boat's time attached to the land. Every moment at sea is dependent on, and even twinned to, a moment in harbor. What a boat sails on and in is not only the ocean and the wind but the days, weeks, and months tied up alongside."
And, using a mixed metaphor:
"That is why death at sea is such a casual affair. Death has no need to approach ... It doesn't come rolling on like a swell, proceeding grandly towards you with its bosom before it and its intentions clear. Death is already there, a few feet away, resting beneath the table, its head on its paws and a smile in its eyes, happy to accept the scraps that fall."
I love the landscape of the British Isles more than any other place on Earth, especially its wild, wave and wind-ravished margins. Here, the author's description of the ancient monastic island off the Irish coast, Skellig Michael, almost brought tears of longing to my eyes. I wanted to visit the place myself - now. But, for me, there wasn't enough of such descriptive power between this book's covers to satisfy a raging wanderlust.
SEAMANSHIP is far from being a bad read. Whereas I'm only awarding 3.5 stars (translated to four by an inadequate rating system), one more in tune with Nicolson's lyrical prose will emphatically award five and excoriate me for my shallow obtuseness. This is a book you must read and decide upon for yourself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Curate's Egg, 24 May 2007
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This review is from: Seamanship: A Voyage Along the Wild Coasts of the British Isles (Hardcover)
I enjoyed this book - I can also recommend 'Sea Room' by the same author. But as the previous reviewer mentioned, this is not a travelogue - there are one or two highlights, but the text confirmed my suspicions. Nicolson is a hopeless romantic (albeit one who lives in a castle and owns his own islands) who obviously loves the idea of the sea, but is a bit cack-handed when dealing with the practicalities. I sail with people like this, from time to time and they cannot be faulted for their enthusiasm or willingness to make things happen, but they can also be a liability... Nicolson's skipper, George, concludes that Nicolson is a 'plucker' - someone who samples the highlights of life without doing the groundwork - shallow might be another word for it. It's a good, if flowery, read - far too short, but better than those interminable round the world sailing books...
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Seamanship: A Voyage Along the Wild Coasts of the British Isles
Seamanship: A Voyage Along the Wild Coasts of the British Isles by Adam Nicolson (Hardcover - April 2005)
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