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Yarns Paperback – 1 Oct 1984
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"In the realm of seagoing adventure tales no modern writer can match Tristan Jones."
"The characters and capers, including a Sherlock Holmes-style mystery, pour deliciously from the pen of this legendary adventurer." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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After reading them, I made a vow never to read any more Tristan Jones. My reason? There were enough of what I considered to be serious exaggerations in his "fact-tellings" for me to be able to trust anything else he wrote. What was really true (and, therefore, useful knowledge for a novice cruising skipper) and what was not, I could not decipher. I was looking for a practical cruising mentor, not a story-teller.
Since then, I've cruised 50,000 nautical miles over eleven years. I'm now confident enough in my "cruising skills" to appreciate the storyteller in Tristan Jones. And what a superb story-teller he was. This book is a delightful collection of (exactly as the title indicates) YARNS. Seafaring yarns: real life adventures (or quasi-reasonable recollections of the same) worth their weight in gold.
Tristan Jones is long gone now. Only his stories survive. More to the point, the "style" of sailboat cruising about which he writes is a rapidly disappearing phenomenon. Try finding a sextant or reduction tables on any modern yacht, or a lead line, let alone someone who knows how to use them. They've gone the way of sliderules; replaced by the GPS, small-boat radars, electronic depth sounders, laptop computers with charting software, refrigeration, solar panels, over-sized auxillary engines, . . . the list goes on and on. "Cruising" has rapidly metamorphized into a hi-tech adventure, with the bulk of the fleet more interested in staying close to shore and a marina than venturing out upon the world's vast open seas.
The adventures of the "old time cruisers," the ilk of Tristan Jones, Hal Roth, the Smeetons and Pardeys, are rapidly becoming cultural treasures. Their experiences are unlikely to be repeated in the future. But, like good folk music, they will be remembered from generation to generation. Among seafarers, they are already legends.
In the case of Tristan Jones, there may be no better place to start than this book of YARNS.