A sea story as seen from a youth’s eye - Soundings Online

A sea story as seen from a youth’s eye

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At age 13, Annapolis writer publishes “Racing Winds,” a novella about the Volvo Ocean Race

Action, adventure and intrigue on the high seas — all captured in a succinct 100 pages.

Michie got to be 'reporter for a day' when Puma and the rest of the fleet put in at Boston.

At age 13, author Taylor Michie, of Annapolis, Md., has written the novella “Racing Winds.”

The self-published book revolves around Capt. Dave Rhodes, an experienced sailor participating in the Volvo Ocean Race. Taylor was inspired to write it originally as a short story for a class assignment at St. Mary’s School when the race came to Baltimore in 2006. Three years later, “Racing Winds” took form.

“It’s really historical fiction. I tried to get the facts of the race as accurate as possible,” says Taylor. “Then I added some fun elements — someone tries to sabotage the race and my characters have to go behind the scenes and figure out who’s doing this.”

Taylor started sailing after his parents moved to Annapolis from Charlotte, N.C., when he was 5 years old. He almost immediately began taking sailing lessons at the Annapolis Sailing School, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

“I was very excited about living by the water and when I started sailing camp I really got into it,” says Taylor. “The last time I went to camp was when I was 11, but I still go out on the water with my friends frequently.”

Taylor learned to sail aboard a 24-foot Rainbow sloop, the vessel commissioned by Annapolis Sailing School founder Jerry Wood and built by Sparkman & Stephens in the 1960s. He has also sailed Optis with his friends.

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“My parents were never into sailing. I really got introduced to this by my friends,” says Taylor. “I like being out on the water with other boats. There’s a freedom about getting away from everything else. It’s addicting.”

Taylor says as he developed his first character, he realized the plot would not be content to remain a short story.

While the family helped proofread and publish “Racing Winds,” the creation of the novella was solely Taylor’s project, says his mother, Gina.

“It was all him,” she says.

Racing Winds is available for purchase in hardcover ($26.99) or soft cover ($13.99). For information, visit www.racingwinds.com.

This article originally appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Home Waters Section of the July 2009 issue.