Boating books reviews: If At First You Don’t Succeed

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If At First You Don’t Succeed


One of the world’s most accomplished sailboat racers, Jimmy Spithill has been at the helm of two successful America’s Cup campaigns. In the opening chapter of Chasing the Cup, Spithill’s autobiography, he describes undergoing leg surgery at a young age. In post-op, doctors said Spithill would never be competitive in sports. The Australian then spent much of his life proving the doctors wrong. Spithill won his first sailboat race at age 10 and went on to win regattas around the world. He debuted as a Cup skipper at age 20 and captained two more campaigns before winning his first Cup in 2010 and repeating in 2013. He skippered Oracle Team USA against Emirates Team New Zealand in 2017. The book opens a window into the closed-off world of the America’s Cup and gives insight into Spithill’s competitive drive. (Adlard Coles, $25)

A Vanishing Way Of Life


In Still Water Bending, Wendy Mitman Clarke tells the story of third-generation Chesapeake Bay waterman Jines Arley Evans and his estranged daughter, Lily Rae. With the Bay’s fisheries depleted, Evans struggles to survive, then has a life-threatening stroke. Lily Rae leaves her job as a journalist in Maine to care for him. As he recovers, the pair look for common ground in the family’s boat shed, where they begin building a deadrise skiff. Lily Rae eventually reconnects with an old friend, Jamie Cockrell, who dreams of running his own workboat. Falling in love, Lily Rae must decide whether to stay with Cockrell or return to Maine. (Head to Wind, $17)

The Antarctic Factor


On Christmas Eve 2013, the Australasian Antarctic Expedition ship Shokalskiy got trapped in sea ice more than 1,400 miles from civilization. With no steerage and a breached hull, the ship faced a driving wind that could land her aground on the frozen continent. In Iced In, Chris Turney chronicles his ordeal by comparing it to polar explorer Ernest Shackleton’s loss of the Endurance nearly 100 years earlier. Unlike Shackleton, Turney was connected to the outside world through Twitter, YouTube and Skype. The team became the focus of an international media storm, and a rescue effort was launched. The question then was whether help would arrive in time. (Citadel Press, $28)

This article originally appeared in the December 2017 issue.