Boating books review: A perilous journey


Andrew Halcrow was in his 20s when he built Elsi Arrub, a 32-foot ketch, and sailed her around the world with his brother, a voyage that took five years.

Image placeholder title

Yet his ambition was to circumnavigate solo and non-stop. In 2006 he slipped the lines and set off, following the “clipper route” through the Roaring Forties, but his voyage was cut short by a burst appendix. In 2013 he set off again, this time sailing a route that would take him around Cape Horn from east to west, against prevailing winds and currents. This voyage ended with Elsi Arrub dismasted in a gale off Patagonia. A story of courage and endurance, Into the Southern Ocean is Halcrow’s account of his two attempts to circumnavigate alone. (The Shetland Times Ltd., $20)

A Quest For History

Image placeholder title

Sailor and adventurer Kaci Cronkhite had resisted owning a boat, but when she and the 28-foot spidsgatter Pax crossed paths in 2007, she couldn’t resist. Stepping aboard, Cronkhite found signs of the many hands who for decades had sailed and cared for the boat since its launch in Denmark in 1936, but nearly all of its history had been lost. Finding Pax is Cronkhite’s story of a seven-year quest to unearth the boat’s past in three countries, in addition to working with the craftspeople of the Port Townsend, Washington, wooden-boat community to breathe new life into an aging classic. (Wind Spur Books, $19)

Murder In The Galapagos

Image placeholder title

Death of a Siren, the seventh nautical thriller by novelist William S. Schaill, takes readers to the Galapagos Islands in 1938 during the run-up to World War II. Fugitive New York cop Fred Freiman steals a boat to escape the law and the mob after killing a local thug. When he comes ashore in the islands, he finds the body of a murdered German baroness. The next day her two companions are found dead. A corrupt local official traps Freiman into tracking down the killer. Puzzling over the baroness’s shady past, he knows he will be charged with her murder if he doesn’t find the culprit. (Academy Chicago Publishers, $15)

This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue.