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Book Reviews of Nautical, Boating and Marine Based Books | Soundings Online

Watching for Mermaids

107_MERMAIDSSea stories with a sense of wonder

David H. Roper is a lifelong boatman who has penned a collection of nautical-themed short stories in “Watching for Mermaids” (2011, Points East Publishing, $13.49 through www.Amazon.com, 200 pages, paperback). Based on his own experiences, the 30 tales reveal the thoughts of a creative writer who has spent his life on the water.

There are stories about a teenage solo sailor who meets his biggest challenge: a 22-year-old woman; the frenzied mind of a young man who falls overboard 300 miles offshore at night; a Mississippi River sternwheeler that’s headed straight into a tornado with 300 wedding guests; a young delivery skipper who takes two aspiring voyagers on the world’s shortest circumnavigation attempt — aboard a floating Winnebago; and an octogenarian whose grandson retrieves him from a nursing home for one last sail.

“To me, cruising has been about escaping our often predictable lives,” Roper writes in one story. “It is a controlled adventure, an experience of hope, expectation, surprise and reward.”

October 2012 issue


Gone to the sea

Stories from a sailing journalist

Herb McCormick has been a sailing journalist for more than 30 years, and “Gone to the Sea” is an anthology of some of his favorite stories (Paradise Cay, 2011, $16.95 paperback, 315 pages).



The Islands time forgot

55 islands, one amazing adventure

The oft-told story of a couple who pursues their dream of cruising exotic locales has another entry.



Marblehead's First Harbor - The Rich History of a Small Fishing Port

A New England port in its early days

“Marblehead’s First Harbor” is a love letter to a community by lobsterman Hugh Peabody Bishop and his sister, Brenda Bishop Booma — locals with a reverence for the past and the skill to entertainingly document the town that shaped their lives (The History Press, 2011, $23.99 paperback, 304 pages).



The proving ground

Tragedy in the Bass Strait

On Dec. 26, 1998, 115 sailboats set out on the annual race from Sydney to Hobart. It’s Australia’s most popular yacht race and a difficult 630 miles in good conditions.



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