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on 31 July 2017
Quick delivery, an inspiring book
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on 20 March 2012
I read this book even though I do not sail - my husband does and he thought I may like the human side of the encounters along the way. Well I did! The book took me on a journey, not only around the coastlines of the British Isles, but of determination to put the boat he built through her paces and then the laugh-out-loud anecdotes of the situations which occur when he least expects them. I think this book is a gentle observation of nature - and nurture and defy anyone not to enjoy it!
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on 20 March 2012
Here's a book that should come with one of those government health warnings you see on cigarettes - "Warning: This book can cause chronic itchy feet". Against that threat you have to weigh up the positive side - the book's a good read and it might even make you laugh out loud, which I'm happy to say it did to me on several occasions.

What's the book about? Linda and Justin are regular career minded folk with mainstream values whose lives are turned upside down in one traumatic night, during which Justin blurts out "Good will come of this". Initially they come out of it stunned, but are suddenly able to see that the emperor has no clothes on, and (to mix metaphors) are cast out of mainstream society like a piece of jetsam, to float up and down the west coast of Britain and France for the next few years. The book is largely about the people they bump into on these journeys, both the collisions with the culture they've left behind, and the discovery of a sub-culture living along this western edge. But as well as this there's a delightful feeling of escapism running throughout the book which culminated in me jumping out of my chair shouting "Yes!! Me too!".

As well as good content there are some beautifully written passages in there too. I particularly liked the intro paragraphs where just as Linda and Justin are leaving a mysterious person runs down the quay and shouts out "I've heard all about it". I just knew I was in for a good read after reading that.

If I have a criticism it's that we don't hear enough about bits of rigging disappearing up the mast at crucial moments, running aground, or bits of boat breaking; but that might just be sour grapes....

Read this book - "Good will come of this".

(A good review in the Independent [...] ).
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on 15 March 2012
This book is so incredible! It is beautifully written, taking you along the amazing journey of Justin and Linda with their gracious humour and humility. Their courage and strength is palpable. Following a tragic event you travel, in the most beautiful yacht built by them and experience such passion for life. This passion attracts some amazing characters that mostly show kindness. It also allows you to savour the amazing flavours that leap from the pages of the fine local foods sourced and served with care and dedication. The illustrations also by Justin are enchanting.

If you feel you could do with a change this book will inspire you to make a change.
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on 29 January 2013
This book is a wonderfully engaging read, not just for those with a fascination for the sea & ships, but also for all those with a love for the call of life & the song of action. It is a paradigm for the power of positive thinking; how many of us would,whilst watching everything we owned disappear in flames, have the strength or will to say,'Good will come of this'? But that was the reaction of the author of this very inspiring book. With help, he & his wife proceeded to rebuild their house & then, buoyed by this achievement, went on to fulfil their dream of building a floating home in the form of a beautiful traditional sailing boat ( again, with gratefully received assistance). They then embark on enticing journeys around the Cornish coast, the Scilly Isles, Ireland, Brittany & the West of Scotland. Along the way they take the rough with the smooth & meet a marvellous cast of interesting, charming, eccentric & entertaining characters, all affectionately described in a narrative, both eloquent & amusing. As well as photographs there are many superb illustrations by the author to further enliven this delightful & heart-warming book.Phoenix from the Ashes: The boat that rebuilt our lives
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on 24 May 2013
The best stories told are normally the true ones and this is just the perfect example. Having lost their home and all worldly possessions in a fire that could easily have taken their lives, the author and his wife embark on projects first to rebuild their home and then to hand build a boat from scratch. Neither has any previous experience of construction or craft so the achievement of both is remarkable.

With a modesty and wit that is charming, Justin Ruthven-Tyers takes you right along with him as he details his learning experiences building both house and boat. But this is no dry read; the author peoples his book with the many colourful, sometimes eccentric, talented souls he meets along the way. And that's just for starters; we then get to accompany him and his wife as they live on and sail their boat around the coasts of Britain, Ireland and France. Read this book and you will laugh with them, cry with them, be fearful for their safety and develop such a fondness for the writing style that you'll wish you knew the author socially. Written with such honesty, this is an inspirational book that will be enjoyed by boat lovers and land lovers alike.
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on 10 August 2015
I started reading this book out of a sense of duty because it was given to me by a friend who lives in Cornwall and had met the author, his wife and the boat in a nearby creek. However I found myself quickly immersed in it and laughing out loud at times (that's rare for me). The story skims along at a fast rate. Too fast, sometimes; I'd have liked more details about the process of building the boat, sorted out briskly in a few paragraphs. One does suspect the author of a degree of embroidery in his stories of some of the characters met along the way - the hopeless dreamers who sit in a rotting hulk in a mud berth and talk implausibly of voyages to the Indies - but they're funnier that way, and well written. .

The author plays down his sailing ability and plays up some of the mishaps but anyone who knows about sailing doesn't have to read between the lines to appreciate just how accomplished some of his manoevres are - which is probably the way he wanted it! I liked the honest way he admitted to not much enjoying the passages between the interesting destinations; no romantic rubbish here about the call of the ocean! In the same way he doesn't give us much insight into what must have been tough and tedious at times. The boat rolls along cheerfully and without delay between ports of call and the book rolls along to the next enjoyable anecdote.

A most entertaining book .
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on 17 November 2015
So, having admired this beautiful classic yacht over the water from a distance, what a pleasure to learn that the owners have not only built her themselves but have also written two books about the experience and their lives living aboard throughout their seven voyages for seven years. The warmth and delightful good humour of the gentle, positive observations of human nature are very endearing. The book describes so many dreamers, including the relatively few who have done it and made it happen so beautifully. Several anecdotes really made me laugh out loud, with such a deep insight into human nature with all its frailties and yearnings.

This charming read reaches way beyond the often factual journeying accounts of other lifestyle change travel books, and ranks high on the list of really great travel writing and the human condition. It is a really heart-warming read; ideal for the long winter nights.
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on 15 March 2012
Brilliant descriptions of the motley crew of characters, and interesting spots they sail to, in their self built boat. And what a journey too, from house fire to liveaboards. There are many sailing books, but this is definitely one of the top 5 I've read. Enjoy... And Caol Ila is a great dram too :-)
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on 4 January 2013
I was recommended this book and as I enjoy reading biographies decided to give it a go. I have no interest in sailing and expected it to be a real challenge for my taste, but hoped it would be interesting enough to grab my attention.
Well it certainly did that. I loved reading about the struggles, challenges and achievements of Justin and his wife Linda as they rebuilt their lives. I was particularly impressed by the way the book captivated me from start to finish with the subtle humour found in every day life, which is often forgotten when writing a book based on real life experience. How refreshing. The illustrations added depth to Justin's story and the candid description of the characters that he met along his travels made this book one of the best I have read for a very long time. It is truly inspiring and makes you feel that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
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