For a while now the Ed & I have been mulling over the idea of a regular book review slot on Sailing Anarchy. It came about when I mentioned that I have over 1,000 books on sailing and the sea split roughly half/half hard copy and digital covering pretty much all genres.

Some, in fact many are still in print but some I am afraid are long since out of print but I was amazed how many are searchable either with Google or remarkably through Amazon searches which link not a huge number of second hand sellers.

I thought I’d start off with a double header of two books, telling real stories, both of a Kiwi slant. In some ways quite different treatments and in other ways remarkably similar.

The first is called “Journey” by Pippa Blake and starts with her reaction both initially and over the subsequent months of the news that her husband, Sir Peter Blake had been murdered in the Amazon. It then goes on to give a very personal record of their lives together through multiple Whitbread campaigns, the ENZA Jules Verne record attempts and the America’s Cup. A moving and from my own recollections of seeing them together a completely honest of account. An true example of the saying ‘Behind every great man there is a woman’.

I picked this one up in an excellent bookshop in Auckland and may require a little searching for. If you are a guy, once you have a copy watch out, it is one you’re your wife is likely to pick up and enjoy also but give her a box of tissues for when she reads it.

The other book is also real life. It too starts with a disaster but not as serious a loss of life. It starts with Team New Zealand losing an 8-1 lead to Oracle in AC34. Written by Richard Gladwell (editor for another site but we will forgive him on that) it details – and I mean details the climb back out of the abyss after it all went wrong in San Francisco.

Appropriately called “Lone Wolf” it documents the story that saw Emirates Team New Zealand not only hold it together (and at times they were days from shutting the doors for keeps) through the financial challenges the delays to protocol, timings and venues, what it meant to the team to lose Auckland as a venue for some of the preliminaries both as a showcase and of course financially – the whole deal. If I had a criticism of the book it is that there are too many pictures of foiling catamarans in it but hey – that’s what the story is all wrapped around.

Written in a diary like format I doubt if it could have been written in a more ‘blow by blow’ manner.

I was captivated by it, then again I am an America’s Cup fan. It is still available I understand although it may take a bit of a search. Published by Mower it is a dangerous book, easy to not notice how long you have been turning pages.

As we go forward many of the books reviewed will be easier to find, track down or purchase on line. I have to admit most of mine have come from a UK online specialist bookstore. These first two might take a little more searching but I can assure you they are both well worth it.

Edit: I don’t believe it, the wife has pinched my copy of Lone Wolf already! – Shanghai Sailor