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Into my father's wake

A sailor's heartfelt autobiography

A New England sailor whose passion for sailing came from the father he both loved and hated has penned and self-published a reflective autobiography that chronicles his battles with his dad, his own addiction and the ultimate resolution he found on the water.

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"Into My Father's Wake," ($15.95 through Amazon, 2010) by journalist Eric Best details the author's early sailing days on Maine's Penobscot Bay and racing and cruising with his father along the New England coast.

Through the trials of his youth, he went on to complete two solo sails from San Francisco to Hawaii and back and spent a decade living aboard his 47-foot ketch named Feo in San Francisco.

The core of the book is Best's never-quite-resolved lifelong conflicts with his father, but the bulk of the story is his recollections of the escape sailing solo provided his thoughts while under way and alone. It's the boat and sailing and the lure of the sea - and his daughter Emily - that clearly comes across as Best's greatest loves.

Best opens the books with a description of his search along the docks of San Fran for the sailboat that would take him away from the troubles of his crumbling marriage: "Wood-spar sloops from Oregon and New England, fiberglass yachts scarred on Pacific coral, expansive dockside derelicts that did not know they'd been abandoned to die, all waited there. Still, I did not see her."

In his acknowledgements that introduce the book, Best concludes with his thanks, "most of all to my parents, Vincent and Katrina, both avid sailors, who gave me a start."

This article originally appeared in the Home Waters Sections of the February issue.