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5.0 out of 5 stars The human side of sailing ........, 15 April 2012
This review is from: Phoenix from the Ashes: The boat that rebuilt our lives (Paperback)
I am not a sailor but like many people have had dreams of sailing away on a wooden boat or preferably finding a hidden enclave and using the boat as a cocoon from modern life....This is not an escapists manifesto however but a well written mix of narrative and character portrayal.
I especially enjoyed getting an insight into the subculture of those that spend their lives on or near boats ; dreamers, pedantic obsessives, loaners , the selfless acts of generosity and the cultural differences between parts of the UK and France.
There are terrifying tales of Justin's previous trips and one that haunted me was his description of riding down huge waves in the lee of a gale . In the midst of this terror his father 'appeared' by his side and when he recounted the story his father had dreamt the event.
For the most part however I learned a great deal about commitment to a dream or a vision...the tenacity of learning sufficient craft skills to build a boat to exacting standards and the enormous amount of things that can and do go wrong on and off the water.
I enjoyed the characters I got to know in the book -those living at the edge , legally and socially were the most memorable and perhaps this is because they contrast greatly with Justin and Linda (who you would never imagine throwing in a bail of 'grass' into a furniture container or escaping from some custodial sentence).....
The sailing is not the main thing in the book so it kept me interested throughout . I liked the fact that Justin is an acute observer of life near to home and relished the prospect of finding warmth humour and interest in a Cornish or Argyle winter rather than an easier warmer retreat .
A good first book and I hope he writes a few more.
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4.7 out of 5 stars (53 customer reviews)
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Location: Dunblane ,Scotland

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