Review of "The CruisingLife" by Jim Trefethen
AreYou Dreaming of Going?
TheCruising Life: A Commonsense Guide for the Would-Be Voyager by Jim Trefethen
InternationalMarine, 1999, 260 pages
The blurbon the cover promises: "How to set sail within five years and live welland adventurously, even if you don't have a boat yet." That's a bigpromise, but Trefethen does indeed lead the reader in that direction. He wrotethe book after more than four years of full-time sailboat cruising with wifeand two children.
He clearlylearned a lot, and what he has to share is rather different from most booksabout cruising. As he admits in the Introduction, the book is more aboutlifestyle than all the technical issues of boat, equipment, maintenance,seamanship, and all that. For that kind of information you'd do better with abook like "TheVoyager's Handbook"
by BethLeonard,"Cruisingfor Seniors"
by PaulKeller, or "TheSailor's Book of Small Cruising Sailboats"
by Steve Henkel.
That is notto say the book doesn't address practical issues. Much is said about financialissues, for example, as he outlines a five-year plan for saving enough to buy aworthy boat and get started.
(Whetheranyone has actually taken him literally and followed that plan, however, is anopen question.)
The chapterlisting shows the book's breadth of content:
So You Want to Go Cruising
Profiles of the Cruising Community
Should You Go Cruising?
The Decision to Go
Cruising without a Boat: Meet the CruisingKitty
Feeding the Kitty
OK, Let's Buy a Boat
Food and the Cruising Galley
The Electronics Revolution
As thechapter titles reveal, this is a book more for those in the early stages of thedream, who don't have a boat yet (or the means to buy one), who likely hasnever cruised at all but in their mind, and who probably don't even know muchabout it. For this target reader, it's a good book to get you thinking thingsthrough. Sit in a comfy armchair beside the hearth on a winter's night, anddream away while you learn - often with humor and anecdote - how you just mightpull it off.
True theauthor is opinionated and writes from his own philosophy of life and personalexperience, but that enriches the book more than detracting from the informationand thoughts it provides.
In the endit's rather subjective - but so is the cruising experience itself.
Thedownside is that some readers may become impatient with the "dream"and be seeking more hard facts or immediate concrete steps to get them going -and that's fine. But many other readers will find the book inspiring as ithelps them maintain a positive attitude as they take step after step inTrefethen's direction. And maybe, even if you don't reach that goal fullyyourself, the experience of dreaming and planning in itself may turn out worththe trip.