Don Casey carefully, cheerfully explains what life afloat is all about, from the mundane to the magical.The first book to address the fears and hesitations of reluctant mates whose husbands have caught the cruising bug. The adventure of sailing over the horizon is a widely held dream. Yet for every couple that goes cruising, thousands stay behind because only one partner is infected with this dream. Dragged Aboard addresses only the interests of the reluctant partner: Is cruising safe? Healthy? Can I be comfortable? What will we eat? Can I be reached in an emergency? What can I take? With such essential questions honestly answered, it's possible to realize that you don't have to like sailing to get hooked on the cruising lifestyle.
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Here's the fantasy: lots of people dream of sailing the world without a care. And here's the reality: hesitant partners scuttle the vast majority of these reveries. Casey's genial primer, born out of the clash between his own sea legs and his wife's preference for land, is, essentially, a guide for sailing couples, but it addresses issues faced by anyone a little antsy about hoisting anchor. And with gentle, encouraging, and useful advice, it casts doubt off the end of the gangplank.
Casey writes quite nicely of cruising's joys--"To those with sufficient imagination, a boat with overnight accommodations is much more than just a floating second home. It is a magic carpet, a gold pass to the world beyond the horizon"--but this is less an ode than a presentation of pragmatics. Dragged Aboard addresses the fears that attend setting sail, and it explores the emotional ties--and potential eddies--between skipper and mate: "Don't expect sailing to bring out latent good qualities; it won't happen." It carefully ticks off the range of cruising practicalities, from preparation, communication, safety, and first aid to basic seamanship, keeping clean, and traveling with children. "There is no thrill on the planet quite like seeing your destination appear on the horizon after days at sea," he writes, and there is "only one way to truly know what that is like." Better, of course, to know it without being chained to the mast. --Jeff SilvermanFrom Booklist:
Teeming with practical, easy-to-apply advice, for example, "Maneuvering a sailboat is a bit like driving a car on ice," Casey keeps good his word not to get too technical and instead focuses on such issues as confronting your fears and personal safety or how to make a boat as comfortable as your home. He assumes the reader knows nothing, going so far as to list types of fruit to buy and what items to put in the safety kit. Sage advice includes: never discuss drugs, even legal ones, over the radio and use pan-pan instead of Mayday when the emergency isn't life threatening. Despite the title, all newcomers to cruising will learn plenty, including general navigational basics and skills like docking and anchoring. One important caveat: although Casey admits to gender assumptions in the introduction, some patronizing references are hard to ignore, for example, "A man steps aboard as captain" and "Domestic issues fall to the mate." Nevertheless, this book will reassure and enlighten any reluctant mate--male or female. Brenda Barrera
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