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Book Notes - Florida and the South

When powerful people start to dig in their heels and insist on getting their way, it’s not always clear who is wielding the power, or who is writing the checks. In the case of CapeWind, this was particularly true.”

— CapeWind

When powerful people start to dig in their heels and insist on getting their way, it’s not always clear who is wielding the power, or who is writing the checks. In the case of CapeWind, this was particularly true.”

— CapeWind

Wind power vs. the NIMBY syndrome

Jim Gordon’s proposition to build a wind farm off of Massachusetts’ Cape Cod consisted of erecting 130 towering wind turbines, each with an output of 3.6 megawatts, within a 26-square-mile area.

His aim was to cut down on fossil fuel emissions and at the same time save the region from high electricity prices. “From Gordon’s point of view, the region would be trading a small area of the ocean, used mostly for recreational sailing and saltwater fishing, for cleaner air and a leadership role in clean-energy innovation,” states a new book that chronicles the proposed project that emerged in 2001 and remains in limbo in mid-2007.

However, the plan was met with opposition from the region’s wealthy and powerful residents, according to “CapeWind” ($26.95, PublicAffairs, May 2007). Authors Wendy Williams and Robert Whitcomb say it became a matter of democracy versus plutocracy, and they come across clearly on the side of going ahead with the project.

The book recounts how celebrities such as newsman Walter Cronkite, historian author David McCullough and U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy vocally took issue with the wind farm. Cronkite suggested California deserts or New England mountains as better locations that were “far less valuable for their other attributions” than Cape Cod waters.

The authors — Williams, a journalist who lives on Cape Cod; and Whitcomb, an editorial page editor of The Providence Journal — aspire to illustrate how clean energy efforts are welcome, so long as they don’t take place within the property lines of the privileged.

Contact: PublicAffairs, .

Your guides to New England and Florida

Maptech Embassy Cruising Guides have released their latest guides, both fully revised: “New EnglandCoast, seventh edition” and “Florida, second edition” ($44.95 each, Maptech, 2007).

The 586-page New England Coast Cruising Guide covers Block Island, R.I., to the Canadian border, highlighting more than 850 marine facilities and more than 150 ground and aerial photos. Also included is navigation advice for new anchorages and popular ports such as SpectacleIsland in BostonHarbor.

The 622-page Florida guide provides up-to-date coverage — following the area’s hurricane damage and subsequent redevelopment — of the more than 1,200 marine facilities for the East and West coasts, the Keys, Okeechobee Waterway, St. Johns River, the Panhandle and Mobile Bay. It also includes a Bahamas planning guide including facility details and double-page charts for easier use.

Both guides feature color photos and hundreds of recommendations for shoreside dining, provisions and sight-seeing. Also included in each is a list of NOAA charts and anchorages.

Contact: Maptech Press,

Learning from Great Lakes mistakes

In his Mission Brief to “Boat Smart Chronicles: Michigan Devours its Wounded” ($19.95, SeaWorthy Publications, 2006), Tom Rau explains that it’s much more sensible to prevent boating calamities in the first place than to deal with the “sour aftermath of boater miscues.”

Spanning nearly 20 years, the book documents more than 200 true stories and anecdotes of mishaps — predominantly on Lake Michigan — enhanced by photos, illustrations and side bars. Sample chapters include Life Jacket Denial, in which Rau describes fatal accounts of boaters not wearing life jackets, and Naïve Assumptions, in which he warns against assuming engine throttles are disengaged. On Aug. 27, 2004, in LakeEerie, a teenager drowned before the StationClevelandHarbor crew could free him from the propeller, which had locked up on his thigh bone.

According to his biography, Tom Rau retired from the Coast Guard in May 2002 after serving over 27 years on active duty and in the active reserves, and has been writing safety articles since 1986.

Contact: Seaworthy Publications, .

Sailing club’s history set down

“Reflections — Off Soundings since 1933” ($35, Thames Printing, 2007) tells the story of the Off Soundings Club since the yachting organization’s official founding at the University Club in Springfield, Mass., in 1933.

The book covers the Club’s 75-year span, recounting anecdotes of several of its members — including G. W. Blunt White, who joined in 1935 — as well as the decades-long process of admitting female membership; the first woman was accepted into the club in 1993. Black-and-white sailing photographs are scattered throughout the chapters, and two appendices at the end of the book contain chronological lists of club commodores as well as a complete record of races held from 1934 to 2006.

The club was administered from Springfield until its location burned down in 1948; it then moved to Mystic Seaport, Conn., where the archives are now kept.

The 475 members in the club now come from many states and a few foreign countries.

Contact: Bruce Lockwood, (860) 536-6504.