2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Lost At Sea,
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This review is from: Down To The Sea In Ships: Of Ageless Oceans and Modern Men (Kindle Edition)
I've read and really enjoyed Horatio Clare's "dry land" works, but this time I'm afraid I was rather lost at sea. Like an oil-tanker that can't stop or change direction very quickly, I suspect that shortly after the author had embarked on his container-ship mission, he realised that the realities of life on board were going to severely limit the interest quotient for the book. The trouble is that modern-day ocean-crossing just isn't as hair-raising as it used to be. If sea-faring jeopardy used to come via war, weather and sea-worthiness, then peace-time sailing in massive boats built to withstand hurricanes makes for a less heart-stopping ride - and read. Instead, the author muses on woeful wages and patchy internet connections as today's main high-seas perils, and surrounded by vast horizons of empty space, he is forced to shine his writer's search-light onto his crew mates and random bits of passing maritime history (when the internet allows, you suspect) for intrigue and incident. So this is no Palinesque travelogue with an ever-changing cast of countries, characters and conveyances - instead it is two incident-free journeys, one east via the Med and Suez Canal to the Orient, and one west via The Atlantic to North America. Just as things might liven up when entering pirate waters off East Africa, Clare is forced to abandon ship by the risk-averse boat owners, and he flies on to pick up the journey again in calmer waters, and that rather sums up the book - not so much Yo-Ho-Ho-And-A-Bottle-Of-Rum-etc, more like just Ho-Hum, I'm afraid.