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Boating books review: Young and free

It’s hard to not be envious of a 20-something couple parking their careers to cruise and live aboard for a year.

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In The Box Wine Sailors (Academy Chicago, $16.95) Amy McCullough tells the story of how she and her partner escaped “real life” and set off from Portland, Oregon, aboard a 27-foot sailboat without heat or refrigeration and stowing little more than prepackaged food and, of course, boxed wine. They head south to the Sea of Cortez, cataloging stories of seasickness, a Coast Guard boarding, a lost tiller and days without a hot shower. McCullough acknowledges that the adventure came with risks, but the experience and goodwill of those they met made it a journey well worth taking.

Artistry each month

One of the benefits of being passionate about boats is the professional photographers who share that passion and have the artistic eye to capture special moments. Benjamin Mendlowitz has been documenting the magnificence of some of the prettiest settings and boats in New England for decades. His photos again grace the 2016 Calendar of Wooden Boats (Noah Publications, $16.99), which offers a stunning image for each month. Mendlowitz captures all kinds of vessels, from sailing dinghies to schooners and even a power cruiser, in settings that make the observer long to be there. This is a good calendar to help boat lovers navigate the coming year.

A life’s journey

James Benedict graduated from the Maine Maritime Academy with an officer’s commission and worked in the Merchant Marine as an engineer before trading a life at sea for life as a monk in a Benedictine monastery. Choices Through the Sea of Life (, $18.47, paperback, $29.99, hardcover) chronicles Benedict’s life voyage, from childhood in New England through adolescence and young adulthood to the grandfather he is today. He ponders how the years he spent with his fellow seamen led him to the quiet of the monastery and how his faith has been integral to the choices he has made. “The transition years of Merchant Marine and Naval Reserve duty helped focus my ideologies and lead me to these very steps,” Benedict writes.

This article originally appeared in the December 2015 issue.