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The story of

The Pride of Baltimore

In May 1986, The Pride of Baltimore, a clipper ship replica, encountered 70-knot winds in the Bermuda Triangle. The ship sank, killing four crewmembers. The remaining eight were left to drift in a 5-foot-by-5-foot life raft. Floating 250 miles from land, the six men and two women subsisted on meager rations of biscuit and a few of sips of water.

James Chesney, the ship’s cook, escaped from the cabin of the sinking vessel. Despite cracked ribs, he managed to manually inflate a life raft.

After almost drowning in the disaster, Sugar Flanagan and Leslie McNishpromised to marry each other. Eighteen years later they are still together, and still sailing.

After floating for four days, a Norwegian tanker finally rescued the survivors of The Pride of Baltimore.

Tom Waldron revisits this story — well-publicized at the time — in “Pride of the Sea,” (Kensington Publishing, April 2004, $23.95). He conducted more than 65 interviews in the writing of this book, including conversations with the survivors and the ship’s architect.

Waldron worked as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun for 17 years and teaches journalism at the University of Maryland.

Contact: Kensington Publishing, (877) 422-3665. www.kensington

Brightwork for

busy do-it-yourselfers

In 1990, Rebecca J. Wittman came out with “Brightwork: The Art of Finishing Wood.” Now International Marine has released a “stripped-down” version of that book, with “The Brightwork Companion” (December 2003, $18.95).

Aimed at weekend do-it-yourselfers, the book offers step-by-step instructions on how to strip, sand, oil and varnish your way to stunning brightwork. Each chapter includes a list of materials, tools and safety gear needed for that project. There are also chapters on tools, products, resources and maintenance.

“The Brightwork Companion” offers succinct, down-and-dirty advice on how to get great brightwork, plus tips for getting there more quickly and easily.

Contact: International Marine, (212) 904-5951.

A ‘boot camp’

for beginner boaters

New boaters looking to pick up some basics now can pop “BoatCamp Basic Training for Boaters” (Media Artists, 2003,$29.95) into the DVD player.

The 90-minute video (also available in VHS) looks at boating safety, operation, terminology and legal issues, personal watercraft, basic sailing concepts, trailering, anchoring, docking and rules of the road. Viewers also see a Coast Guard vessel safety check in action.

The team behind “BoatCamp” includes crewmembers from PBS’s “Cruising America’s Waterways,” as well as members of the Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary, boating instructors and marine educators.

There are plans for intermediate and advanced “BoatCamp” programs.

Phone: (800) 810-5458. www.cruising

Get the most

out of your sails

Nomad Press calls its “Maximum Sail Power,” by Brian Hancock (November 2003, $44.95) the first comprehensive guide to sails and sail making in 25 years. The book looks at advances that have come in that time, including developments in sailcloth, engineering, hardware and sail trim.

The book includes chapters on fibers, how sailcloth is made, the parts of a sail and sailing theories. Hancock draws on case studies to teach readers which fibers, fabrics and sails are best for different situations. He also looks at sail handling, trim and repairs.

Hancock is a sailmaker by trade, and author of “Spindrift.” He has more than 200,000 miles of offshore sailing experience, and competed in the Whitbread Round the World Race.

Contact: Nomad Press, www.nomad


on the Sahara

“Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival” by Dean King (Little, Brown, February 2004, $24.95) has all the elements of a good boating tale: the Sahara desert, plagues of locusts and hostile tribesmen on camel-back.

The crewmen of the Commerce, a merchant brig, were undoubtedly not expecting to encounter any of these as they set off on a seemingly ordinary trading voyage in 1815. The ship, under Capt. James Riley, left its home port of Middletown, Conn., en route to the Cape Verde Islands off the west coast of Africa. But a shipwreck off the African coast washed the crew ashore, and into a confrontation with hostile natives.

Sawhrawi tribesmen enslaved Riley and his crew of 12, and dragged them 800 miles through the Sahara. Only seven men survived by the time Riley managed to negotiate their freedom.

Riley wrote of the ordeal in his book “Riley’s Narrative,” which influenced Abraham Lincoln’s views on slavery, according to the publisher. King revisits the story — and even retraced the sailors’ route across the Sahara in his research for this book.

King is the author of the biography “Patrick O’Brian: A Life Revealed.” He has written for the New York Times, and Men’s Journal and Outside magazines.

Contact: AOL Time Warner Book Group,

Cruising guide:

the Florida Keys

“The Florida Keys Ports of Call & Anchorages” (Cruising Guide Publications, November 2003, $29.95) gives boaters a bird’s-eye view of some of the most popular places in the Keys. For each port of call there is a full-page aerial photo. On the opposite page is a smaller version of the same photo, with arrows pointing out places of note.

The book also describes the region’s marinas and resorts, services, restaurants, shopping areas, attractions, fishing and diving. It is meant to be accompanied by charts and cruising guides for the area.

Contact: Cruising Guide Publications, (727) 733-5322. www.cruising